What is Resilience and Why Does Having More of it Matter?

Woman looking up in hope

In short, resilience is our capacity to face and bounce back from life’s challenges and adversities. And it matters because experience and research tell us that increasing your resilience is a primary path to improved physical and emotional wellbeing.

Essentially, being more resilient means that you cope with stress more effectively. And in so doing you reduce the likelihood of an assortment of health and psychological issues, have better relationships, experience more joy and satisfaction, find more meaning and purpose in life and some research suggests we live longer and with a better quality of life.

What are the principles and practices of resiliency that strengthen our ability thrive amidst challenges and increase our wellbeing.

Training your brain

The first has been summarized by many as “training your brain”. This involves increasing our mind’s ability to focus and be mindful in order to compete with our brain’s natural tendency and wiring towards mind wandering and “stewing” in negative ways.

The day-to-day practice of mindfulness is an excellent example of this skill. Training your brain also includes developing a more flexible and constructive mindset. This mindset looks for the good, is optimistic and hopeful and compassionate to ourselves and others and connects and engages our heart.

Connecting with other humans

The second resilient principle and practice focuses on connections with others. Research has shown that connection with others at all stages of life may be the most robust contributor to increased resilience and wellbeing.

Engaging with others is not just about socializing, but about the power of feeling connected to others and what affect that has in changing our brain.

Missing the meaning?

The third principle and practice of resiliency focuses on attitudes and activities that reinforce a sense of meaning and purpose in our life. It supports the notion that each day provides an opportunity for us to live in a way consistent with our deepest principles and values.

The Resilient Living programs offered through Cheshire Medical Center provide participants an opportunity to learn more about the principles highlighted above and to actively bring these principles into daily practice. Our goal is to offer programs that are accessible, interesting, reflecting current knowledge regarding resilience and wellbeing and in support of increasing the overall resiliency of our community as we grow healthier together. See a listing of upcoming programs here.