Article by: Dr. Suzanne LaCombe, June 8, 2006. Updated 3 April 2010. http://myshrink.com
Few people entering counseling would say "I want to be more resilient." However many people entering counseling might say, "I don't easily adapt to change." Resilience gives us that capacity to respond easily to the changes in our circumstances. It helps us to let things go and move on. Without resilience we tend to become entrenched in old patterns.
Most people think of resilience as a mental thing. They are strong thinkers and believe that their ability to bounce back from hardship is because they "will" themselves into it. However, being driven or pushing oneself through life is very different than "resilience". A truly resilient individual can flexibly respond to one's changing circumstances--not in a collapsed defeated way nor with a "I'll do it if it kills me" attitude. Resilience, on the other hand, is a body based state that largely depends on the health of your nervous system. A healthy, resilient nervous system moves easily and rhythmically between stimulation and discharge. In other words, the nervous system manages energy well.
We all experience stress and it is the health of our nervous system that determines whether we get freaked out or literally let it go. An individual with a resilient nervous system can contain the stress and not be adversely affected by it. Someone who has a "maxed out" nervous system experiences the stress more intensely and it takes him or her longer to come down from it. Continue reading