Resiliency is a big, broad term that can be thrown around with frivolous abandon these days. The word seems like a generous garnish of parmesan sprinkled on the pasta of wellbeing! But, while it can be hard to grasp exactly what it means and how it looks in real life, we’d like to be a little more specific. Sometimes, ‘being resilient’ can be confused with being ‘strong’. It’s actually more about being adaptive, resourceful and finding ways to get ‘back on track’.
The dictionary definition of resiliency is:
- The power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
- The ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
In human terms resiliency is:
- The ability to recover, and to see a way forward when we are faced with adversity, challenges and set-backs.
- It is a learnt set of tools, responses and behavioural traits that support us to go through, and overcome, obstacles we face.
- We are never too young to start building resiliency through healthy role-modelling, and strong emotional connections formed in a safe, secure and loving environment.
- We are never too old to learn more tools, traits and techniques for building, and responding with resiliency.
Here’s some specific things you can actually do right now to help build that all-important resilience in yourself and your children ...
5 ways to start building resilience in your home
Role-model your reactions – When things go wrong, role-model how to react by taking a deep breath and responding calmly and adaptively to the situation with the attitude of, “We can handle this.”
Let them feel – Having emotions is a normal, natural and important way to process the bodily sensations that go along with them. Hold space for your child to take time processing their feelings. There’s no need to ‘fix’ it, just listen, acknowledge and empathise with their experience.
Prioritise your health and well-being – Make it a priority in your home to get good sleep, exercise daily and take time out to recharge. Explain to your kids about how this helps you to recover, feel better and keeps you mentally and physically healthy.
Identify unhelpful thoughts – Teach your kids that not all thoughts are helpful to the way we feel and choose to act. The way we think and talk about ourselves really matters. You can ask, “Is that a helpful thought or a not-helpful thought to have right now?”. Give them some language they could use that helps them continue to look forward.
- Celebrate the effort rather than the outcome – Learning something new takes time and effort. Getting comfortable in the learning process develops greater tolerance to discomfort and frustrations along the way. The sense of reward and achievement comes from developing the discipline to stick with it even when it feels challenging.