Resilience is the ability to adapt well to stress, adversity, trauma or tragedy. People who have a resilient disposition are better able to maintain poise and a healthy level of physical and psychological wellness in the face of life's challenges

Individuals who are less resilient are more likely to dwell on problems, feel overwhelmed, use unhealthy coping tactics to handle stress, and develop anxiety and depression

A resilient approach leads to addressing problems (rather than avoiding them), a positive, optimistic outlook and a flexible, adaptive disposition

Seven C's of Resilience (American Academy of Pediatrics): 

  • Competence - the ability to handle situations effectively 
  • Confidence - the solid belief in one's own abilities
  • Connection - close ties to family, friends, school, and community give a sense of security and values that prevent individuals from seeking destructive alternatives to love and attention
  • Character - a fundamental sense of right and wrong helps indivudals make wise choices, contribute to the world, and become stable adults
  • Contribution - when individuals realize that the world is a better place because they are in it, they will take actions and make choices that improve the world. They will also develop a sense of purpose to carry them through future challenges
  • Coping - individuals who learn to cope effectively with stress are better prepared to overcome life's challenges
  • Control - when individuals realize that they can control their decisions and actions, they're more likely to know that they have what it takes to bounce back

Forming a resilient disposition entails:

  • Fostering acceptance 
  • Finding meaning in life 
  • Developing gratitude 
  • Addressing spirituality 
  • Retraining one's attention

Resilience training empowers individuals to change unconstructive behaviors, actions and ways of thinking. Increased activation of the prefrontal cortex correlates with a resilient disposition and the skills needed to increase resilience. Training helps people develop four types of resilience to lead a more balanced and healthier life:

  • Cognitive — preserving attention, memory, judgment and problem-solving skills
  • Physical — maintaining well-being through regular exercise, a healthy diet and restful sleep
  • Emotional — approaching life with a realistic, balanced and flexible disposition and addressing rather than avoiding problems
  • Spiritual — practicing and keeping in mind the concepts of forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, true meaning and purpose

The Road to Resilience (American Psychological Association)
Comprehensive information. Includes 10 Ways to Build Resilience

Air Force Resilience
Leadership tools for crisis prevention, intervention and postvention. Includes situational exercises, and link to an app

FOCUS Project
A resiliency-building program designed for people facing the multiple challenges of combat operational stress during wartime. Individuals may also sign up to receive newsletter

Parents have the greatest effect on resilience with their children. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics regarding how parents can help build resilience: 

  • Love. To be strong, your children need love, absolute security and a deep connection to at least one adult
  • Expect the best. Your children will live up or down to your expectations of them, so expect them to be kind, caring individuals who will give their best effort
  • Listen. Listening to your children attentively is more important than any words you can say, in routine situations as well as times of crisis
  • Set a good example. Nothing you say is as important as what your children see you doing on a daily basis

Military OneSource 
Offers free parenting resources, including articles about building resilience

When Parents Leave the Military
Video series by Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC)

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