Building Resilience after Trauma
Unfortunately, adversity is part of life and dealing with loss or change is inevitable. It can come in different forms, such as a serious illness, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or a natural disaster, such as a bushfire. Often, people react to such distressing situations with a sense of uncertainty and a flood of intense emotions. But, it’s how we deal with these challenges and emotions that play a huge role in both the outcome and also the long-term psychological consequences.
Generally speaking, after a life-changing event, people often adapt well over time. What allows them to do so? It involves resilience – a continuous process that requires effort and time. Let’s take a look at how we can focus on developing resilience and personal strategies to enhance it in our life.
What is Resilience?
Resilience is a person’s ability to overcome trials by adapting well in the face of trauma, tragedy and adversity. Resilient people can use their strengths and skills to recover or cope with problems and challenges that crop up unexpectedly in life. Think of it as a personal mental reservoir of strength that you can call on during times of need, to help you handle a situation without falling apart.
That said, being resilient doesn’t mean that a person will never feel distressed or experience difficulty. Emotional pain and sadness is a normal response to a traumatic experience (as we discussed in last week’s blog here). But, resilient individuals are better able to handle problems and rebuild their lives after a catastrophe.
Coping with Trauma
Coping strategies help you deal with setbacks and stresses while maintaining a feeling of control in your life. If you know that you can cope with trials, it gives you the confidence to get through hard situations.
There are a number of ways to cope with stress and everyone is different, so it’s important to find what works for you. Anything good for your wellbeing is worth a try, such as:
- Exercising regularly
- Spending time with loved ones
- Taking the time to relax
- Keeping a journal
- Celebrating achieving your goals, large or small
Building Resilience after Trauma
Resiliency is not a trait that we either have or do not have. Instead, it involves thoughts, actions and behaviours that can be taught, learned and developed in anyone.
You can build your resilience by:
- Building your self-esteem – having confidence in your abilities
- Building healthy relationships
- Managing stress and anxiety levels
- Knowing when to ask for help
- Working on coping strategies and problem-solving skills
- Knowing your strengths and keeping them in mind
Where to get help
If you need help building resilience, talking to someone is a good place to start. If you’d like to work through any traumatic experiences or to enhance your resilience, Positive Mind Works can help with our team of experienced Psychologists.
We offer a no-obligation initial appointment lasting 20 minutes ($19), that allows you to test our services and Psychologists out to see if it’s right for you.
Please note: We are offering bulk-billed Psychology sessions for anyone impacted by the devastating bushfires in Australia and eligible for Medicare-funded telehealthClick here to book an initial 20-minute appointment