Resilience: The Freedom to Bounce Back
Why is it that people who survive paralyzing accidents are about as happy as people who win the lottery? Why is it that one researcher found she couldn't study severe depression in breast cancer survivors because they just weren't that severely depressed? Why is it that more than half of children living in impoverished, dangerous, high risk environments grow up to live responsible lives and sometimes thrive?
If you said it's because we underestimate our distress tolerance, you'd be right. In other words, paralyzed accident survivors, breast cancer survivors and at risk children tend to bounce back much sooner than we expect.
There is a subgroup among us who seem to have that bounce back ability, or resilience, in abundance. They are experts at recovery and the factors that distinguish them are useful when considering how you'd like to improve your own elasticity.
The resilient are able to achieve an exquisite balance between past, present and future focus. While not dwelling in the past, they don't deny it. While planning for the future, they also enjoy the present. Savoring the positive moments of their lives, they look toward their future goals with optimism. The resilient use their personal contacts as a supportive network to aid them in their steps toward positive change.
So how can you get the bounce back in your life (from a job loss, death, divorce, empty nest)? Consider these few things:
How's your time orientation, i.e., to what extent do you live in the past, present or future? Dwelling on the rotten luck you've had is not going to cut it. Look back and see if there's something to be learned. Savor the positives in the past, present and future. Look toward the future to decide how you're going to deal with this bad break. Can you eagerly anticipate tomorrow? Take a look at your own life and where you spend more or less of your time.
Can you look toward the future with commitment to your bounce back goal? Decide on a goal you can commit to, not one others think is best for you, or one you "should" accomplish.
Is achieving your future goal under your control? Is it realistic? Will it be challenging to work toward? If not, can you tweak it so it will be?
Do you need to call in reinforcements to help? Are there supportive friends, family or colleagues who can lend a hand? Don't wait for them to offer. If you're like a lot of people, you put on a good show and everyone thinks you're doing well. Ask for what you need.
With a commitment to a challenging goal that's attainable, adjustments in time orientation, a focus on savoring the good, and a little help from your friends, it's easier than you think to bounce back from many a setback.
Everything can be taken from a [person] but ... the last of the human freedoms -to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. Viktor Frankl
Coaching uses tools to enhance resilience in order to help you bounce back. Get in touch with me for a complimentary coaching session. We coach by telephone--you can be anywhere.