5 Ways to Develop Resilience and Survive

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Develop Resilience and Survive

When you experience a crisis do you complain, “Nobody came to help me”, or as other see the world, “They came from everywhere?” There are many ways to develop resilience and many reasons in today’s world why it is a vital characteristic. Here are some ideas from the medical research.

1Shame, Recovery, and Resilience

Shame is a characteristic which often serves as a barrier to seeking help and healing. A recent study looked at ways to create resilience and health out of shame and eating issues by influencing your environment to create safety and education.

Finding a culture of safety and belonging, invalidating perfection, and redefining ideals emerged as elements that fostered resilience from the layers of shame. Potential implications for counselor education programs include introducing self-care initiatives, discussions about counselor wellness and ethical practice, and education on eating issues.

Qualitative Health (2015) Research

2They Came From Everywhere

One study applied a novel way of looking at the response of older community dwelling Australians who were evacuated from their homes due to flooding. The participants were asked to write poetry about their experiences. The titles of the poems illustrated different ways of looking at the situation and the experience. Think about a difficult experience you have had and write five different poems with the titles below as ideas. Notice how you feel as you write each one.

The first and second poems highlight the different social resources older people have to draw on in their lives, especially during a crisis. Poem 1 (“Nobody came to help me”) illustrates how one older resident felt all alone during the flood, whereas Poem 2 (“They came from everywhere”), Poem 3 (“The Girls”) and Poem 5 (“Man in Blue Shirt”) shows how supported—from both family and the wider community—other older residents felt. Poem 4 (“I can’t swim”) highlights one participant’s fear as the water rises. To date, few studies have explicitly explored older adult’s disaster experience, with this paper the first to utilize a poetic lens.

Journal of Aging Studies (2015)

3Telling Stories of Resilience

Community resilience can be developed or strengthen through storytelling. How do you tell the stories of your community? Do your stories build resilience? Researchers in Hawaii noted,

Many indigenous cultures use storytelling as the foundation for the transmission of important cultural information. Stories passed down from generation to generation sometimes teach, record history, provide examples, or inform. One important function of storytelling is the transmission of stories about cultural resilience illustrating how a cultural group has kept strong in the face of adversity.

Substance Use & Misuse ·(2013)

4Resilience in the Emotion

Stories can convey the values and emotions of the story teller. They can reveal the differences and similarities between experiences and perspectives. Consider the stories you tell, what values or emotions to they convey? Researchers noted,

With reflection, these [stories] can help to develop resilience. This paper argues that storytelling aids the development of personal resilience and provides opportunities to celebrate the hardiness of research participants who contribute to knowledge by recounting their stories of difficulty and adversity.

Nurse Researcher (2010)

5Global Resilience Through Peace Psychology

Sometimes cultural or community strength can be spread until it is a global phenomenon. In an article that analyzed the relationship between positive psychology, peace psychology and the development of a global community, researchers noted,

Such work [peace psychology and positive psychology] would do well to transcend positive psychology’s current bias toward individualism and nationalism and to conceptualize well-being and resilience at the level of the “global community.” This extended “positive peace psychology” perspective would have important implications for our understanding of how to overcome oppression and work toward global peace.

American Psychologist (2013)

Here are some questions to consider in your quest for resilience: Do you feel at peace? Are the people around you at peace? Do you tell your stories and frame yourself as a global citizen or are you more focused on the part of you that is an individual or part of a nation or specific community. Have you ever tried to write poetry or develop resilience through poetry, words, or the sharing of emotions? How will you and your world thrive in the face of adversity?

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Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine) focuses her writing and Spokane, WA practice on brain health and alternative medicine. Her expertise covers such conditions as Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders. She also writes on neurotheology or the intersection of brain health and faith traditions.