What is Resilience?

Estimated watch time: 2 mins 14 secs


Nearly everyone will experience trauma in their lives at some point. For a lot of people, there are multiple traumatic events, but how we respond to them varies between individuals. The more resilience you can develop and build, the more easily you can move past stress and trauma.

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What is Resilience?

Most people will experience a traumatic event at some point in their lives. Norris & Sloane (2007) estimate this is true for 90% of all people. Some of us will have several traumatic events in our lives. Some people will respond to this trauma in an effective manner and move on in their lives, others of us will struggle to move forward and carry on.

The American Psychological Association defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and even significant sources of stress such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stresses”.

We each have our own built-in resilience. Some of us have more than others. Some of us are more resilient to certain kinds of stressors and less resilient with other kinds of stressors. We can all work to build our resilience and improve our ability to recoup from the stressors we face.

In their book “Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges,” Southwick and Charney (2012) identify ten resilience factors which are helpful. The more resilience we have or can build, the more quickly and easily we can recover from our traumas and stressors.

These factors are:

  1. Optimism
  2. Facing Fear
  3. Moral Compass, Ethics and Altruism
  4. Religion and Spirituality
  5. Social Support
  6. Role Models
  7. Physical Fitness
  8. Brain Fitness
  9. Cognitive and Emotional Flexibility
  10. Meaning, Purpose and Growth

Questions: Which of these factors do you feel do well with? Which of these factors do you feel you need to develop?

We will discuss each of these in the subsequent lessons.

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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.