The link between disease, violence and trauma has been well established. This past week, there has been quite a bit of discussion from NPR’s article What do Asthma, Heart Disease and Cancer Have in Common? Maybe Childhood Trauma.
The good news is that in spite of what you might have experienced in your life, you can learn to be resilient-the ability to maintain a stable equilibrium regardless of the twist and turns life presents.
Developing resilience-things to consider
• Change what you can change recognizing that you are not your circumstances. You control your own fate by how you respond.
• Accept that the only constant in life is change.
• Recognize that events are not traumatic until we label them as such. The death of a close friend can be devastating. However, viewing it as having significant meaning-such as it helping to bring about a more effective treatment for a disease; you developed friendships that wouldn’t have happened otherwise-will be far more helpful than considering it a traumatizing experience that “I’ll never get over.” Unfortunately, social media, particularly Facebook is a wash in catch phrases to support the trauma aspects and not the “final gifts” perspective.
• Make connections and build social support networks. Identify who you can reach out to when you’re dealing with stressful experiences.
• Recognize how you respond to stress: What situations have you found to be most difficult? How did you deal with them? What worked? What didn’t? What has made you more hopeful about the future?
• Develop a source of spiritual and religious support.
• Develop a positive image of the future. Understand your purpose
• Have solid goals and a desire to achieve them
• Be empathetic and compassionate but don’t bow to peer pressure
• Stay flexible: Recognize that strong emotions are okay but also recognize you will need to let them go in order function. Take breaks when dealing with stressful situations in order to rest and recharge yourself. Ask for help if you need it.
• Do not identify as a victim but rather as thriver.
• Take care of yourself, practice self-compassion, relaxation.
Try an on line free programs to help with building resilience- 27 Resilience Activities and Worksheets for Students and Adults