Dial a Counselor with Sybil Shaibu: Are you resilient?


Life can be hard at the best times, and it can be downright unbearable at the worst of times. Such situations can bring about changes that may not sit well with you most of the time. That’s because with each challenge that you’re faced with, the effects affect you differently, bringing with it a myriad of thoughts, strong emotions and uncertainty.

I’m sure many of you can relate with this because many a time things happen, and you wish that someone had given you a heads up. It can be very devastating when you experience setbacks back-to-back. And it can be tiring to say the least, when you go through a period when you keep asking yourself if you can survive another fall.

If you’re like me, you might have lost count of how many times you’ve fallen flat on your face. The reality that hits me every now and then is the fact that, we’re going to fail from time to time; it’s an inevitable part of life and living it. We are bound to make mistakes and occasionally fall flat on our faces, but the question is how do we keep ourselves going?

We need to keep going one way or the other, and this is because unfortunately life does not come with a road map. And everyone will experience their own share of life’s twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events.

However, there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and the true pathway to achieving anything is to stay persistent no matter what. Believe me when I say that like you, I know it’s tougher than it sounds. But life isn’t going to get any easier, so I guess we’re better off arming ourselves, right? So, the question I ask is, do you think you can be resilient?

Let’s start by first taking a look at a number of definitions for resilience. After which we can assess ourselves to ascertain if we have what it takes to be resilient.

  • Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial problems.
  • Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.
  • Resilience is the ability to cope with and rise to the inevitable challenges, problems and setbacks you meet in the course of your life and comeback stronger from them.
  • Resilience is our ability to bounce back from the stresses of life.

Some people are of the opinion that being resilient is about avoiding challenges but no. It’s not about avoiding the challenges but learning to cope and thrive within the challenge. It’s important to understand that resilience is not a trait that people are born with; it involves behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be earned and developed in anyone. Resilience relies on different skills and draws on various sources of help, including rational thinking skills, physical and mental health, and relationships with those around you.

It’s worth noting that, resilience is not necessarily about overcoming huge challenges. Each of us encounters many challenges on day-to-day basis, for which we must draw on our reserves of resilience. But how do you draw from a reserve if you haven’t got anything in store.

Martin Seligman a psychologist says the way that we explain setbacks to ourselves is also important. How we view adversity and stress strongly affects how we succeed, and this is one of the most significant reasons why having a resilient mindset is so important.

Benefits of learning to live a more resilient life are enormous, but here are a few to consider:

  • Decreased depressive symptoms and increased emotional wellbeing.
  • Improved working memory.
  • Improved sleep.
  • Improved immune system function.
  • Improved relationships.
  • Improved coping when we experience emotional disruptions.

Sincerely I hope these benefits inspire you to strive to develop the skill of resilience. Subsequent articles will focus on developing resiliency, so do make it a point to stay tuned. And together we shall all learn to be resilient to make our lives much better.

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