I speak a lot about resiliency, a key component in a happy, successful and thriving life. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity with more passion and knowledge than you had before the bad times. Bad times are inevitable. They are the price of admission to the game called life. ...I speak a lot about resiliency, a key component in a happy, successful and thriving life. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from adversity with more passion and knowledge than you had before the bad times. Bad times are inevitable. They are the price of admission to the game called life. Greater resiliency means that your mood, your outlook and your health rebound more quickly from tragedy.

Here are some additional ways that a person can boost their resiliency by asking for help from appropriate others: namely, seeking out support from your loved ones. There is honor in asking for help. This is one lesson that took me years to figure out. When I was growing up, it was just understood that you didn’t ask other people for help. It’s difficult to ask for help. I think it’s burned into the American psyche that we must pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, that we do it alone, otherwise we are weak.

Well, I’m here to tell you that the real weakness is the belief that you can or should do it alone. More and more, we are learning that not only is life easier when we ask for appropriate help, it creates more happiness for us and those around us and this leads to a better quality of life for all of us.

Also, there are cognitive strategies that we can use to make the best of a lousy situation. In highly emotional situations, however, using these strategies can be both transformative as well as helpful in making the best of a terrible situation.

Suppression where you sit on an intense negative emotion until you can calm down. Example, A man on probation for the first time “counting to ten” while intentionally looking at his anger, as opposed to instinctively punching a highway patrolman.

Anticipation where you know something bad is coming and you mentally prepare for it. As with a father rehearsing and preparing himself emotionally, instead of denying, the fact that his son is dying.

Altruism is where you do to others as you would like others to do to you. As with a survivor of child abuse, instead of abusing his own kids, he donates his time to a shelter for other abuse survivors.

These behaviors come to fruition as we mature as life-altering shifts in how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. It is possible. You can do it. Awareness is the first step. Desire to change is the second.

Many of these factors that bolster resiliency such as altruism, humor, suppression and anticipation, are common among the mentally healthy and become more prevalent as individuals get older and progress through their life.

Suppression lacks the compassion of altruism, and it is frequently regarded by therapists as a negative, not a positive. However, suppression can be used effectively, like buying yourself precious seconds to calm down and plan your next step.

Suppression involves the decision to postpone paying attention to a intense emotion or conflict. A critical difference between suppression and repression, is the extent to which suppression enables all the elements of conflict to exist at least partially in consciousness. So even while holding back the strong emotion, you are still aware of it and its cause. The delicate conscious awareness involved in successful suppression is partly voluntary and partly involuntary. It involves the ability to keep your current emotional impulse in mind and to control it. It requires practice yet it can be done.

The use of anticipation is typically voluntary. It is in cases where trauma is expected and foreseen that anticipation becomes a useful coping skill.

Anticipation is the ability to keep the emotional response to an unbearable future in mind and in so doing, prepare yourself for the emotional storm that is coming.
Anticipation is the capacity to view future adversity emotionally as well as cognitively and thus to break down a larger problem into smaller chunks to enable you to deal with it better. Anticipation involves both thinking and feeling about the future.

For example, consider legendary pilot Chuck Yeager who calmly excelled at dangerous flying by dealing with stress in tiny increments. It would have been equally problematic to underestimate the danger as to exaggerate it. So he worried in advance, made lists, and practiced. Then, appreciating that he had prepared as well as he could, he relaxed. Anticipation is so easy to suggest but difficult to do.

Having a strong spirituality also helps our resiliency. Spirituality, or a personal faith in something greater than ourselves, enriches and sustains our resiliency reserves. In many ways it is the foundation of resiliency, the belief that good will ultimately outweigh the bad.

Faith cannot be arrived at by means of the intellect. It must be approached at an emotional level. In my experience, emotional awareness is necessary for true faith. Originally, I approached spirituality from a purely intellectual view. The intellectual approach merely allowed me to become familiar with the concepts of world religions. It provided me with a distant connection to something greater than myself. However, it did not lead to a satisfying personal relationship with a higher power. There is a huge difference between connecting to a higher power with your heart rather than your head.

Mindful prayer allows us to give up our fears, anger, sadness, doubt and limitations to our higher power. Faith allows us to relinquish our need for control. When things are going well, a personal relationship with a power greater than ourselves enables us to see the beauty in the smallest of happenings – an eagle flying overhead, a sunrise, a child’s smile. Progress results from persistence with purpose. And purpose comes from belief in a higher power. To be successful in this world, it is necessary to accept it as it is and to rise above it.
To sum up, resiliency is a trait to work towards, to strive for. It is at the pinnacle of effective traits if you want to create a rich, meaningful life.

Resiliency is comprised of a number of traits – a sense of humor, spirituality, altruism, suppression, anticipation, and the ability to make meaning out of adversity. Resiliency also entails an attitude of lifelong learning, realistic optimism and looking at trying events as challenging rather than threatening. Begin to be more resilient today!

"If you will call your troubles experiences, and remember that every experience develops some latent force within you, you will grow vigorous and happy, however adverse your circumstances may seem to be."
— John R. Miller

Author's Bio: 

John Schinnerer, Ph.D. is in private practice helping clients learn anger management, stress management and the latest ways to deal with destructive negative emotions. He also helps guys discover happier, more meaningful lives via positive psychology. His offices are in Danville, California 94526. He graduated from U.C. Berkeley with a Ph.D. in educational psychology. He has been an executive, speaker and anger management coach for over 18 years. John is Founder of Guide To Self, a company that coaches men to happiness and success using the latest in positive psychology. He hosted over 200 episodes of Guide To Self Radio, a daily prime time radio show, in the SF Bay Area. His areas of expertise range from positive psychology, to emotional awareness, to anger management, to coaching men. He wrote the award-winning, Guide To Self: The Beginner’s Guide To Managing Emotion and Thought, which is available on Amazon. His blog, Shrunken Mind, was recognized as one of the top 3 in positive psychology on the web. His new anger management site, WebAngerManagement.com offers the latest in online video-based anger management courses.