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  • Writer's pictureAshleigh Raine-Botha

Bouncing Back with Resilience


Before we explore how to ‘bounce back with resilience’, we first need to understand what the term ‘resilience’ actually means. Never has a mental health concept been more relevant and important to society. ‘Resilience’ is the capacity to persist in the face of change and adversity. Having the ability to adapt or even transform one’s way of thinking or current situation/environment in the face of dynamic change is no small feat, however possessing this flexibility and ability to navigate different paths leads to growth in many areas. An obvious example of where we as individuals, families, communities, and cultures have been forced to navigate complexity, uncertainty and change is during the current COVID-19 global pandemic. COVID-19 has forced change upon society… change that has mostly been unwanted and uncomfortable in areas of life such as social, financial, and overall mental health well-being. So how does one build resilience? Firstly, it’s important to understand that building resilience is a process and a personal journey. We are all unique individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and have differing levels of coping skills and tolerance levels. Having an adequate amount of self-awareness in terms of what your ‘limits’ are, is the important first step towards building resilience. Why, you may ask? Self-awareness fosters a sense of self-compassion and patience which is critical for the resilience building journey. Another important point to ponder about, is that resilient people are problem solvers and NOT victims. This brings me to the three important things we can focus on in our lives, in order to build resilience: problem-solving, establishing healthy relationships, and learning from difficult experiences.

Problem Solving

Taking specific action to resolve an issue in your life, whether it’s related to your behaviour, relationships, or problems at work for example. Coming up with a perfect solution is not necessary. What is important, is to plan realistic steps and to do something on a consistent basis that enables you to move forward productively.

Healthy Relationships

Striving for and maintaining healthy relationships in various contexts of life is key to building resilience. Assisting others in times of need, as well as learning to accept help and support from others is a balance that contributes to overall physical and mental health well-being.

Learning from Difficult Experiences

Reflecting on and learning from difficult situations and experiences adds to our coping skills repertoire. Being able to draw on these skills when faced with future challenges not only helps us to overcome obstacles, however it also contributes to additional resilience building.

For me personally, life is about finding a balance. In the context of building resilience, this involves remembering to step forward to take action, and also knowing when to step back to take care of yourself.

As the famous quote goes: “Great things never came from comfort zones.” – Neil Strauss

References

Folke, C. (2016). Resilience (republished). Ecology and Society, 21(4).

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