Resilience – what does it mean to be strong?

What does it mean to be strong in the face of adversity?

We can think of resilience in several different ways and we can use sources of resilience to help us overcome challenges life throws our way. Here are a few:

Connectedness: We can take a lot of strength from our families and communities, especially at times when we don’t feel strong enough to stand up on our own.

Physical strength and self-care: Feeling strong in our bodies and being able to prioritise what we need and when we need it can give us huge amounts of strength.

Personal values and meanings: If you’re clear about what you value and what is important to you and you take actions towards achieving these values, then this will help guide you through the pain. Having the courage to follow your values can allow you the space to think about other things as you’re anchored by your fundamental principles.

Emotional expression: We’re often quite fearful of our emotions. We struggle to face our fears or feel our sadness. But an aspect of psychological resilience is allowing these painful feelings in and not being frightened by them. Often as Psychologists, we have to work with our clients’ fear of fear or fear of sadness. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do, but by allowing and accepting these difficult feelings can enable us to move forward.

Flexibility: Prioritising different things at different times depending on what you need and the context can be important for your resilience. Using your values as an anchor, allow yourself to move up and down and adjust to the situational demands. This may be sitting with your pain in one moment and then making sure your kids have dinner on the table the next.

As you can see, there are so many different types of resilience and this is simply a whistle-stop tour.

Life can be tough sometimes but equally, hardships can be the very things that makes us grow. It can make a person more insightful and give them more meaning. The Chinese ideogram for crisis means opportunity. In Hebrew, the word for crisis is mashber. This originally meant a birthing stool. Every crisis is an opportunity. From every crisis, something new is born. When difficulties arise, they can be incredible opportunities to grow and to change.

If you’re interested in learning more about resilience in children, we have our new online programme, Taming Your Lion, which teaches children how to connect to their emotions, values, families and communities. You can check it out here.

As ever, we’re always here to support you.

Take care,

Pocket Family Psychologist

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"Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative"

“Dr Andrea Shortland’s session for MediaCom on a children’s mental health was incredibly informative. During the second period of lockdown and home-schooling; parents and children found themselves again in a period of upheaval and transition. Many parents and carers were extremely worried about their children’s mental health and their own ability to be present and engaged whilst also playing the role of teacher and care giver. Dr Shortland gave attendees an insight into how many parents were feeling; tips on supporting children and helping them cope whilst studying from home and also managing their mental health. She also helped us realise the importance of taking care of ourselves in order to effectively support our children. It was such a useful session that we realise it was also pertinent for not only children’s mental health but also adults! We will be holding another session with Dr Andrea and MediaCom soon.”

Avelon Thompson, MediaCom (following a parenting workshop)