You may wonder why some of your friends and family cope differently with circumstances that come up in life. Some seem “to sail through,” remaining cheerful and positive, without really batting an eye, while others find themselves lingering in a state of confusion, sadness, stress or anxiety for a period of time.
Most of our coping mechanisms are learned while we are very young. Parents, siblings, teachers and important people in our lives influence how we deal with difficult situations, for better or worse. We tend to unknowingly copy what we see in how others around us deal with challenging times. Admittedly, there are a few people who seem to defy their upbringing and show totally resilient character traits from a young age.
The amazing thing is that resilience, and the ability to cope with stress, anxiety, challenges in life, tragedy and trauma, can be re-learned at any age, no matter what stage in life you are in.
Project Resilience is bringing educational instruction and simulated experiences to teenagers in the 12-18 age group. This is just the beginning. Our philosophy is relevant to any group that feels they need to develop their skills to adapt well in the face of adversity, challenges, trauma, threats and stress. It is never too late!
Try your skills on the following questions to see how resilient you are. Note your answers down, and this will provide you with some areas you may like to focus on to develop your own skills.
- Do you confront your fears, or attempt to run away from them?
- Do you think you have a positive, yet realistic, outlook to your own life, and the life of those around you?
- Do you seek support from friends, family and those you are close to when life presents you with a challenge? Alternately, do you retreat into yourself and try to pretend everything is fine?
- Do you have a resilient, courageous role model that you can consult or imitate when “the going gets tough” in your own life?
- Do you listen to your own moral compass and try and act according to your values and beliefs?
- Are you someone who has spiritual or religious beliefs that can help guide you?
- How physically and emotionally fit are you? (It has been recognized that those who are physically and emotionally fit and healthy have a greater ability to cope in many situations. Many people tend to try and escape from life’s challenges by leaning on drugs, alcohol, sex, and other forms of escapism. Try and limit your escapism because the challenge will still be there when you come back to reality. It is better to deal with it now.)
- Are you a problem solver who looks for meaning and opportunity in stress and adversity? Alternately, do you cave in and hope the problem will either solve itself, or someone else will solve it? (Sometimes, in peoples’ darkest hours come the greatest clarity about what they want from life)
- Are you able to accept the reality of your situation, and try and figure out what you can do to help yourself “get back on track”? Do you have any goals about the life you want to live?
- Finally, no matter who is at fault, are you able to take responsibility for your own emotional well being and focus on what action you need to take to help yourself?
Let me know if you have any questions about these questions. Also let me know how you did with them.
Until next time………..be kind to yourself. Resilience is a set of skills you can learn.