What is the meaning of the trait resilience? Why do some have it and others not as much? The truth is resilience both increases and declines with life experience. Depending on positive or negative life experiences this trait can change as well as grow within you. There are ways to develop and strengthen resilience in a more conscious way.

One way to develop more resiliency is to become playful and curious, almost in a child-like way. Do you like to know how things work, ask a lot of questions, play with new developments and enjoy the whole process much like children do? This adds to resiliency because you explore many things when you aren’t fearful and overly careful. Do you have a good time almost anywhere, experiment with things, wonder about things, make experiments and mistakes, get hurt at times and laugh at everything and nothing. You might ask: What is funny? What if I did this? What is different? Who can answer my questions? Why is this happening? When will it change? This makes you more resilient.

Learning from experience in a constant manner is another resiliency builder. This one seems related to the childlike behavior as children tend to be curious and learn with their curiosity. Learning rapidly from some new event or experience and allowing yourself to change because of it, adds to resiliency. Being curious at the same time as you learn and wondering what the clues are and also wondering what clues you may have missed and whats the additional learning that might be here if I really pay attention. Even thinking what will I pay attention to next time this happens is a way to learn.

Adapting quickly and being flexible both mentally and emotionally can be resiliency building. Being comfortable with opposite personality qualities is all resiliency building. Opposites such as strong and weak, sensitive and tough, logical and intuitive, emotional and calm, playful and serious, how can I avoid what could go wrong and what negative thoughts can have positive outcomes. The more flexible ways you can be versatile, the better.

How solid is your self esteem and self confidence? Your self esteem is how you feel about yourself and how much love you have for yourself. Are you your own best friend? Your self esteem determines how much you learn from your mistakes or when something goes wrong. It allows you to celebrate your accomplishments, accept praise, constructive criticism and complements. Self esteem protects you from hurtful statements. Self confidence in yourself and your reputation with yourself also enhances resiliency. Can you take risks without approval from others? Do your past successes help you handle new situations well?

Do you have good friendships and loving relationships? Even people in toxic environments are more resistant to stress when they have loving friends and family that they can talk to diminish difficulties and improve feelings of self confidence and self esteem. Loners are more vulnerable to stressful conditions.

Expressing feelings and thoughts more honestly and appropriately builds resiliency strengths. Experiencing a whole range of human emotions such as anger, sadness, love, dislike, appreciation, grief and more, makes a person strong. The ability to suppress those emotions when you need to is easier when you also express them. Thoughts about others and yourself is a resiliency builder if you tend to be positive. Turn those negative thoughts that sometimes come into to your mind into “but what two or three positives exist in this situation”. This method always balances out your negative thoughts so mostly you are positive.

These are some factors that increase your resiliency. We need resiliency when things change and when experiences become negative. Resiliency keeps us going and gives us a positive outlook on life for hope for the future. Its our thoughts that make the future more grim. Pay attention to your thoughts and don’t always believe them as thoughts can get clouded and distorted from experience.

Irene Haire, MC, RCAT Registered Provisional Psychologist with an Art Therapy Specialty is in private practice in Edmonton at The Belmead  Professional Centre 218-8944-182 St Edmonton, Ab T5T 2E3 780-232-1055 web: www.cloverdalecounselling.com e-mail: info@cloverdalecounselling.com