Resilience is the process through which one can understand, navigate, and recover equanimity when facing the inevitable, often daily, challenges and changes found throughout life. We may consider resilience a skill that can be nurtured as a continual part of our existence, capitalizing on the available coping mechanisms and practices from a whole person perspective; the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of a human.
Our bodies are equipped with mood-enhancing neuromodulators that can be activated through movement and fitness, making our physical body an implement of stress management and resilience activation. Emotional awareness informs our quest for psychological well-being as we learn more about our feelings and responses, guiding us towards healthy coping strategies like self-regulation, asking for help, and seeking support. We are social creatures by design; overwhelmingly, the epidemiological data suggest well-being is enhanced through connection and emotional intimacy. Part of harnessing resilience is recognizing the pillars of resilience activation, and employing them as a continuous method of living. The data suggest that people who have a faith practice are more resilient in the face of life’s slings and arrows, with the Blue Zones researchers studying centenarians estimating 4-14 years of life gained as a result.
A recent study conducted by Cigna assessed resilience among 5,000 people including children, adolescents, their parents, and those in the American workforce. The researchers found that 45% of children ages 5-10 are considered resilient but that number decreases to 34% for children ages 11-13, and further declines to 22% in those 18-22 years old. Among working adults, data demonstrated 37% resilience, finding the highest level of resilience associated with fulltime workers.
We have a responsibility to not only care for ourselves but to prepare children to integrate the practices and modalities of life-long resilience. Even as fulltime adult workers, our current resilience levels are wanting. There are endless pressures and requirements in a life well-lived; however, it is of primary importance that we continually address our ability to function well, to survive it in tact, and to lead those in our charge down the path of resilience.