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Stress, Part Four: Bouncing Back

posted by KWCS Staff

Bouncing Back


You're the "I" in Resiliency!

Resiliency is not the same as coping. Coping is what we do when we don't have any choices in a bad situation. Resiliency is about making good decisions that help us withstand tough times, recover, and learn from the experience.


Resiliency Starts on the Inside

To become more resilient we must develop or strengthen certain personal characteristics including positive thinking, open mindedness, health self-esteem, flexibility, the ability to accept things as they are, and a willingness to take one day at a time. Resiliency also intensifies when we:

  • learn to move worries and fears to the back of the mind;
  • accept our shortcomings and limitations;
  • reduce the pace of life; and
  • let go of things we can't control.

Everyone will go through hard times but not everybody will do it successfully. One of the keys to resiliency is being able to make a conscious decision to learn from adversity. Having the right attitude is crucial, but there are also outside factors that determine our resiliency.


Finding the Courage in Encouragement

Aside from our own attitude, the most important factor in becoming more resilient is support from family, friends, and community. The word encouragement means to come alongside. Open communication with someone we trust is crucial. If we can't talk about our problems, we become isolated and more critical of ourselves. Frustration gets bottled up and eventually leads to physical and emotional difficulties that come with chronic stress. On the other hand, people and communities thrive when problems are dealt with openly and compassionately.

This kind of communication involves not only honest sharing, but non-judgmental listening. This is something our counsellors are excellent at providing. Nobody can solve another person's problems. In fact, giving advice when it isn't wanted is not helpful. Just listening is the greatest gift of all.

Other strategies that enhance resiliency include:

  • working to overcome negative emotions such as worry, fear, guilt, and anger;
  • taking a break from your problems for a short time and coming back with a clear mind, allowing for a new perspective and greater creativity;
  • setting goals, which gives you something constructive and concrete to aim for;
  • establishing personal boundaries by sometimes saying no, so others don't use up all your time and energy; and
  • getting involved in the community.


A wise teacher once said, "It's inevitable that adversity will colour your life. But you get to choose the colour."