Resilience: Grow, Learn, and Overcome

When you are under pressure – do you bend or break? Do you adapt to change well? Do you have a strong internal locus of control? Do you have sufficient self-efficacy? The answers you have to these questions indicate how resilient you are.

Resilience is the Psychology term for tolerance—the ability to tolerate stress, assaults to the ego, psyche, one’s emotions. It’s essentially one’s emotional armor. It can be learned and developed through experiences that lead you to adapt and grow. To be resilient means that when tough situations present themselves, you are capable of bouncing back quickly and recapturing control.

Many people possess inadequate resilience; which is understandable when people have had little experience with difficult situations requiring change or perseverance. Resilience is like grit in a sense—having grit prepares you for being able to take responsibility and solve any issues at hand. A human without resilience is like a warrior with paper plated armor.

One of parents’ fundamental tasks is training their children to be competent and caring. It is important for parents to start nurturing resilience in their children at an early age; otherwise, in young adulthood, their children will not be able to manage the emotional roller coaster of daily life.

Dr. Peter Gray, a research professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn and Psychology, shares his insight into recent resilience trends in young adults in a college setting. Dr. Gray reports that over the last five years, campus counseling centers are experiencing almost double the number of emergency calls and scheduled therapy appointments.

Recent studies show that in young adults, there has been an increase in mental health problems, corresponding to a decrease in resilience. Dr. Gray states that in addition to an increase in reported suicidal thoughts, “Rates of anxiety and depression among American college students have soared in the last decade, and many more students than in the past come to campus already on medication for such illnesses.”

Unfortunately, these findings surprise few. Millennials, in many cases, have had to bear helicopter parents and preplanned daily schedules from sun-up to sun-down. Children need to have to opportunity to explore play and be given myriad chances to solve their own problems and disputes. Getting in trouble and failing is a natural part of life; because no one is perfect, trying to achieve perfection is not worth the emotional turmoil that ensues.

Resilience comes from consistent perseverance—getting up even when things get difficult. Resilience means staying positive even during times of hardship. Continuously working on resilience will ultimately lead to a happier life. In the words of Elizabeth Edwards, “Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”

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