When something goes wrong, are you more likely to fall apart or rebound? Particularly as we grow older, life is full of obstacles and setbacks. Resilience is our ability to adapt when things go badly. The fact is that we're going to fail or face losses from time to time. Resilience and the way that we view adversity gives us the power to overcome setbacks.
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What is Resilience?
According to the American Psychological Association (APA), resilience is "the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress." So being resilient does not mean you will never experience adversity or trauma.
At some point, everyone experiences a loss or a challenge, such as an illness, the death of a loved one, or some shattering, life-altering event. Those with a low level of resilience tend to get stuck, without the ability to move forward. Some are preoccupied with their problems, feel persecuted, overwhelmed, or try to cope in unhealthy ways.
Those with a higher level of resilience tend to remain comparatively stable or return to stability within a reasonable time after the incident.
Why is Resilience Important?
Research suggests that older adults are capable of high resilience, regardless of their personal experiences, socioeconomic backgrounds, or health. Being resilient helps you get through the tough times.
It also allows you to change and grow. Studies on the ways high resilience affects health conditions suggest that high resilience can help older persons achieve better mental health and overall well-being. It can help protect you from conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Tips to Help you Develop Resilience
Everybody has resilience, but the question is, how much do they have? Everyone can learn to increase their resilience abilities, but resilience does not magically appear when you need it most. It is a product of an engaged lifestyle, social support, and a sense of positive control over your life.
Like any human skill, developing greater resilience is something that you can do at any age, under any circumstances.
If you'd like to become more resilient, consider these tips:
- Get connected. Strong social networks appear to be a key factor for increasing resilience.
- Make every day meaningful. Get up every morning and do something to give you a sense of accomplishment and purpose.
- Learn from experience. How have you coped with difficulties in the past? Think about what helped and what didn't.
- Remain hopeful. This may be the most difficult challenge, but you can't change the past, no matter how much you want. You must look toward a more hopeful future.
- Take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Engage in activities or hobbies you enjoy. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.
- Be proactive. You probably want to hide in bed, but don't ignore your problems. Instead, face them. Try to make a plan and act on it. However, it is important to know that recovering from a major setback takes time.
At Jacaranda Trace, our residents and staff have found strength and resilience through our community. To learn more or to schedule a private tour, contact us today.