This week’s blog is an insightful article written by our partners from KnovaSolutions on the topic of ‘Resiliency’. The Bible is full of stories of resiliency shown through the lives of God’s people. Through Him, they found the strength to overcome enormous obstacles, whether they be physical, emotional, or spiritual. While this article addresses resiliency from a secular perspective, we feel it gives great practical guidance on how to maintain a resilient mindset. We are thankful for our KnovaSolutions partners and their focus on the well-being of both body and mind!
– Curtis Farmer, Director for Alliance Benefits
Believing You Can Cope
In the children’s story, The Little Engine that Could, the little engine agrees to pull a long, broken-down train over a high mountain after larger, more powerful engines refuse. “I think I can, I think I can,” said the little engine. And when it’s successfully coming down the other side, he said, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”
That’s resilience: believing you will be able to cope in the face of barriers, limited resources, trauma, tragedy and other major stressors (family and relationship problems, serious medical concerns, work challenges, etc.). Being resilient means “bouncing back” from life’s difficulties — and becoming stronger in the process.
Psychologist Emmy Werner conducted a 32-year study of 698 children in Hawaii from before birth and into their 30s. She monitored them for stressors (while in the womb, family breakups, poverty, and other hardships). One-third of the children were considered “at-risk” while the rest came from stable families. Of the at-risk children, one-third of them grew into resilient young adults. She found characteristics that set the resilient children apart from those less resourceful. First, they might have had a strong bond with a parent, teacher or other caregiver/mentor who supported them through good, and hard, times. Next were kids who were independent, sought out new experiences and had a positive outlook on life.
Werner also found that some people who weren’t particularly resilient as children were able to learn the skills of resilience and overcome significant setbacks later in life. That means, for those of us who are not naturally resilient, it is possible to develop resilience.
The ability to identify and manage emotions is key to building resilience. Emotional intelligence involves:
Why build resilience? Resilient people are likely to meet personal life expectations and work demands on a regular basis. They take action to deal with setbacks and ask for help when they need it. Resilient people know when they need rest and time to restore. With strong relationships with family, friends and colleagues, they set goals and work towards them with a sense of purpose.
Being resilient doesn’t mean you won’t feel pain, distress or sadness through difficult periods. But you will use skills, behaviors and thoughts to help you to survive, and even thrive.
Here are some recommendations from the American Psychological Association for building resilience.
Good for Health!
The positive outlook associated with becoming and being resilient is good for your health. Research has consistently shown that positive emotions like happiness, contentment and joy are linked to stronger immune systems. Our immune system is what helps us resist infections and fight disease.
That All Sounds Great, But…
If you are right in the middle of one of life’s rough spots, but haven’t started working on building resilience, this is a good time to ask for help. Who in your support network do you feel comfortable reaching out to? Sister, son, spouse, friend or pastor? Does your employer offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Have you called your KnovaSolutions clinician? Use your support system to help you think through possible solutions and actions to take.
How can KnovaSolutions help? If you are struggling with stressful situations, we can offer an empathetic ear, provide information and support, and refer you to resources. Sometimes just talking to an impartial person can clear away the cobwebs and make it easier to take the next steps. Whatever your stressors are, let KnovaSolutions lend a helping hand. We’ll help you on your way to a more resilient way of life. Call us at (800) 355-0885, Monday to Friday, 8 am-8 pm, MT.
The information contained in this newsletter is for general, educational purposes. It should not be considered a replacement for consultation with your healthcare provider. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your healthcare provider.
KnovaSolutions is the clinical prevention service of HCMS Group. This service is available to Alliance Health Plan participants at no additional cost, helping them manage complex health-care situations by gaining a better understanding of their choices for medical care, treatment, and medication.