Winter weather makes most of us apprehensive about getting a cold or the flu, and often enough those fears are justified. No matter how religiously we wash our hands, keep our distance from others who already have the sniffles, or try to fortify our immune system with extra doses of vitamins, it seems to be a losing battle year after year. Yet some folks never appear to get affected. They just sail through this treacherous season without a hitch. How do these lucky few do it?
We often think of resilience as a manifestation of the human spirit's ability to survive the unfathomable -- those grand disasters and tragedies that populate news headlines and our social media feeds. It's as though we don't believe resilience could possible be at play in the midst of our own "mundane" life.
Resilience is the ability to absorb high levels of change, while maintaining your personal resourcefulness. It is more than stress management. Stress management is about 'managing' or getting rid of something that is negative (that you don't want). Developing or building resilience is more about creating something positive (that you want). Focusing on what you want to create provides you with opportunities and 'answers' that will not come to you when you focus on what you want to eliminate.
It's been shocking to watch news of the Brexit vote in Britain, Donald Trump's promise to build a wall between Mexico and the U.S. and the ongoing threats and violence against ethnic minorities in many parts of the world. I'm not a political or social scientist, but my training as a biologist gives me some insight. Within ecosystems, species diversity provides greater flexibility to adjust to disturbances. Around the planet, ecosystem diversity has enabled life to flourish under different conditions.
Whether you are entering grade school, high school, college or university, this time of year can indeed bring conflicting emotions. You can start to positively impact your mental health right now, and every action you take to improve your mental health can positively impact your results (that includes your grades, your relationships and your overall sense of joy)!
Have you ever wondered what separates those rare individuals who are able to step forward after trauma and adversity from those of us who are stunted, derailed, or in some way consumed by similar life circumstances or events? As a society, we tend to gravitate to the "bounce back" narrative so often espoused in the media, and one that is particularly true of the stories most commonly shared on social media.
Wouldn't it be great if when people were wrong, they could just 'fess up, apologize and take different actions to move forward? Just imagine the increased opportunities of positive and productive workplaces. Call me a dreamer! Unfortunately, egos get in the way and fear stops us from acting on our healthier options.