The Fundamental Importance of Resilience

Resilience is commonly known as the act of “bouncing back” or recovering swiftly from stressful or traumatic situations. Everyone reacts differently to trauma, but resilience is a way to describe recovering quickly from difficulties. Some people are better at it than others, and some people may look like they’ve bounced back when they haven’t yet. Resilience is a skill that can be worked on and improved in adults and teens. Read on for the importance of resilience.

Resilience is Common

Everyone experiences natural resilience to some degree throughout their day. Sometimes resilience feels mundane or arbitrary, meaning you don’t always recognize resiliency in yourself when you’re exhibiting it. Resilience might look like, for example, experiencing a minor setback in the morning and not letting that setback ruin your whole day. Some people will even forget about the setback throughout the day and still reflect on a good or happy day in the evening. Another example of common resilience is handling the unexpected with a positive attitude, like an extra responsibility at work or school being added to your plate, or disappointment due to a change of plans. Everyone experiences resilience and acts resiliently at some point through each day.

Resilience Does Not Mean Burying Negative Feelings

It may seem attractive or easier to have an unbothered mindset, but no one needs to bury their feelings to have resilience. This attribute can also mean growing, adapting, and changing to establish boundaries and autonomy. Resilience supports healthy changes, and a person looking to increase their general resilience must not completely disregard any negative feelings in the name of getting over something. Doing so ignores negative feelings which border on toxic positivity or emotional suppression. Toxic positivity can be highly detrimental to one’s overall health, as well as the health and boundaries of those around them.

To avoid toxic positivity and any dangers of holding in negative feelings, it’s important for people to be able to share openly with a safe person what they’re feeling in situations where they feel they need space or support. Though being resilient in tough situations is a great attribute, no one should allow continued mistreatment or negative experiences. Resilience should be utilized when a situation is out of one’s control, not in a chronic situation they’re continually surviving. Ask for help from a doctor or therapist if you think your resilience is bordering on toxic positivity or allowing unsafe conditions to continue.

Resilience Promotes Positive Changes in Mental Health and Vice-Versa

Thinking positively has tremendous benefits for mental health and overall wellbeing. With continued resilience and bouncing back from difficulties, one can feel continued confidence and happiness in themselves. It’s a great thing to feel happy, and the pride that comes from continued resilience can add to overall well-being and raised self-esteem.

Positivity-promoting resilience is called the broaden-and-build theory, according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The broaden-and-build theory is described as “positive emotions that broaden an individual’s thought-action repertoire, which in turn helps build that person’s resources.” This means that positivity is a driving force in helping a person bounce back from difficulties.

Resilience is Measurable and Worth Celebrating

Resilience can be measured. As people grow and heal from past stressors or triggers, they may be able to handle more complex situations. Others experience resilience as they learn new things or are exposed to more particularly tough situations. It makes less complicated situations seem easy, showing how far you can go with continued resilience.

If you think of past experiences where you were resilient, was the situation something you’d handled before or something new? How did this experience impact you? How did you react? Did you handle the same or similar situations better the next time? This shows growth and an increased ability to remain resilient in newer, potentially more stressful situations.

Looking back at the broaden-and-build theory, people can build on previous experiences they’ve overcome. For example, many people who work in the medical field are highly experienced in gore or scary medical emergencies because of constant exposure during their shifts. They have handled many situations in the past that were new, scary, and stressful, but they were able to bounce back and remain an active team member as they handled the situation, and were more prepared to handle a similar situation next time. What it shows is that people are adaptable, and even if something feels impossible, you can get through it.

Continue to practice resilience in your daily life. Set boundaries where you need to, but celebrate making it through hard times and determine an act of self-care to reward yourself for continued resilience and growth.

Resilience is a fundamental skill that can be utilized and improved, especially in teens. Teenagedom often brings with it increasing exposure to new strange and stressful situations. Some seem to thrive and take new things in stride, while others can struggle with new stressors and have a hard time bouncing back. Resilience is learned over time, individually, and it can’t be orchestrated by parents, teachers, or doctors. Anyone can help mentor a teen through a tough time, but each person must learn to depend and build upon their own resilience within themselves. Some teens have been through significant trauma and rely more on a fear response than resilience. They bury their feelings and do their best to survive in any given situation, leading them to make questionable choices. If your teen daughter needs some help with resiliency or working through trauma, call Havenwood Academy at (435) 586-2500. At Havenwood Academy, we have the tools to help your daughter succeed. 


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