What does resilience mean?
Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity. It means the ability to look at things from several different angles right when you are in the midst of a crisis or any other difficult situation in your life- both personal and professional. It takes courage and a lot of inner strength. Whatever crisis you are going through, bear in mind that you cannot always control the circumstances but you can control the way you think and look at things.
Research on resilience theory has shown that resilience isn’t something people tap into only during overwhelming moments of adversity. It builds as people encounter all kinds of stressors on a daily basis, and protective factors can be nurtured.
There are four types of resilience: Psychological, Emotional, Physical, and Community.
According to Dr. Sood, a member of the Everyday Health Wellness Advisory Board, resilience can be defined in terms of five principles: gratitude, compassion, acceptance, meaning, and forgiveness.
Resilience brings you to the understanding that this is dealing with a new situation, threatening, frightening, and unusual in its intensity.
The basic idea of building resilience is the ability to survive and thrive in the face of change or distress as an integral part of life.
Resilience — a learned or innate ability?
This is a great question! I think it’s both. I found out that resilience is a reflex, a way of facing and understanding the world, that is deeply etched into a person’s mind and soul.
Resilience is an innate human capacity that can be learned and developed by anyone. It is dormant but once something very major happens in your life, it stirs within us and comes to the fore.
In a study on the subject- Resiliency: Nature or Nurture? Dr. Al Siebert, founder and the director of The Resiliency Center, claims that resilience can be learned at any age.
While he truly believed any individual can learn and develop resilience, he also believed that some individuals have the capacity for high levels of resilience already within them. Bernard states, “ We are all born with innate resiliency, with the capacity to develop the traits,” and as stated simply by A. Matson, “When adversity is relieved and basic human needs are restored, then resilience has a chance to emerge.”
Given that this ability is lying dormant, all you need to do is to learn how to awaken it. That’s what is beautiful about this concept -resilience- it allows you to change your situation and rewrite the script of your life at any given moment.
The knowledge of its existence with this sense of control is an invaluable part of what makes us human.
There is a wealth of information about resilience to help you build and develop this ability. Interesting research has discovered a variety of effective tools that people can use to maximize their own resiliency during hardship.
It also describes the seven skills of resilience that you can practice and enhance your well-being:
1. Cultivate a Belief in Your Ability to Cope.
2. Stay Connected with Sources of Support.
3. Talk About What You’re Going Through.
4. Be Helpful to Others.
5. Activate Positive Emotion.
6. Cultivate an Attitude of Survivorship.
7. Seek Meaning.
What kinds of people are more resilient?
Brave people by nature or those who have gone through a lot of adversity in their lives. I also think of leaders and people who have high awareness and endurance ability to deal with crises.
Resilient leaders and companies can face tough situations to find meaning and out-of-the-box solutions.
The following table illustrates a breakdown of resilience by gender and seniority in the workplace.
* This study, Psychological Resilience Before and After Work Resumption during COVID-19, found that female leaders and executives show slightly higher levels of psychological resilience than men at the same level, which is critical to improving the resilience of the entire organization.
Leaders and executives can usually find resilience and inner peace within when it’s most required. It requires a lot of learning and mental strength.
Anyone who would like to reach a high level of seniority and climb to the top can learn these skills and add them to their set of skills.
This personality trait is work that needs to be learned, practiced daily, and persevered. I would say it is an essential part of living a healthy life!
Do you think there is a difference between the capacity for resilience when comparing men and women?
This is a fascinating question and something worth checking out in-depth.
I think there is a difference. It was found that “Females have scored higher resilience levels than males with the gender differences stronger among older women than younger women. Studies have also shown that resilience is evident in individuals: male and female, children, adolescence, adults, and the aged (Bonanno, 2004)”.
Another study about girls growing up with heroin-addicted parents indicates that girls are four times more resilient than boys in overcoming such adverse events. This is because they sought out help and support more often than boys did.
It seems that although men generally seem to be stronger than women on the physical level. I wouldn’t be surprised to find that women, in particular, have higher mental resilience than men. For example, women are less susceptible to becoming stressed as they give birth and juggle work and family life altogether, and above all, in many cases, they have a demanding career while completing many other tasks in parallel successfully.
Luckily and in light of the above, resilience is an innate ability that also can be developed in anyone and at any given moment. It gives hope that you can always get through any crisis and turn it into an opportunity with meaning.
- The blog includes some key points from an interview with Ally Gilboa on the subject of resilience, based on her personal experience and research.