Building Resilience: Learning to Thrive not Just Survive

Building resilience, especially in teens, should be considered an essential part of their education. According to Cornell University, "Resilience is your ability to cope with and bounce back from stress and adversity, and hopefully even grow through the experience." A person with a growth mindset tends to embrace challenges and persevere, which certainly would include bouncing back from stress. It may not mean they cope with that stress well. Let me explain...

Building resilience should be considered an essential part of any teens education and training.

Building Resilience as a Mindset

Someone may show determination and even stubbornness at an early age and as they grow they tend to push through various stressful situations that arise. They bounce back from falling down, but they may also hold onto or act out their stress in unhealthy ways.

They may eat too much, drink too much, exercise too much, become too easily angered and likely to lash out. In that case they may bounce back and persevere in relationship to attaining the goal of getting back up off the ground, but they are not coping with that stress well. 

Building resilience must include as part of that mindset training how to cope with the stress in a healthy and even empowering ways. A resilient mindset, like a growth mindset, is founded on the idea that our current state is not fixed, it is not who we are. Resiliency can be, actually should be, learned, trained, and developed over your life time. 

Resilient people tend to:

  • achieve higher levels of success
  • take on the trials and tribulations of life
  • get help to take on these challenges life brings on them
  • be more in-tune with their own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs
  • have a strong sense of independence, belief in their ability to get a job done successfully, and self-worth
  • have valuable personal relationships
  • clear sense of purpose, goals, and plan for achieving them.

You can see some of the similarities between these traits and those of a growth mindset. Of course, your mindset is how you demonstrate resilience.

 Building Resilience Entails....

Paul Wong, PhD, in a blog post about building resilience, mentions three positive intervention strategies:

  • The pure principles of meaningful living
  • The ABCDE strategies of resilience
  • Tragic optimism.

Wong argues that these three models "constitute the positive triad of the resilient good life." Wong includes in this post a graphic that illustrates this triad.

As you look at this triad of interventions involved in building resilience notice these key words: faith, altruism, courage, purpose, understanding, responsibility, enjoyment, acceptance, belief, commitment, discovery, and enjoyment. These words represent values and there are belief systems and strategies that will go along with attaining them. 

Building resilience would involve learning about these values, adopting them, training yourself to manage your emotions and respond to conflicts that arise with these values, and the building into your life rituals that enable you to master this mindset over your lifetime.

Building Resilience: The Essential How To

According to Cornell University's article there are five parts to building resilience. They include social engagement, self-awareness and self-care, attention and focus, meaning, and cultivating a growth mindset. Because we go beyond the typical view of a growth mindset our program covers all of these aspects. Again, we do this by applying HEAT or habit, emotion, attitude, training. 

The importance of the breakthrough session for self-awareness and self-care as well as attention and focus cannot be overstated. During this process and training two essential habits are emphasized  - the morning and evening rituals, which will incorporate breath and mindfulness or meditation or prayer practices. These become the essential ingredients that will allow for further training in developing the characteristics of agape (sacrificial or service oriented love), faith, faithfulness, relationships (friendships and family), and the spirit of a champion. 

By becoming involved in social engagement three key character traits of a mindset of a champion are developed.

  • kindness and both thought and action
  • integrity or congruence in action between your stated values and beliefs and your deepest held values and beliefs
  • humility and not being self-seeking; a heart of service.

When you develop the habits and skills associated with self-awareness and self-care, you develop five essential characteristics for building resilience or the mindset of a champion. They are:

  • self-regulation or the ability to manage your emotional state, be wise enough to know when and how to alter your behavior to achieve your outcomes while maintaining your integrity;
  • perseverance;
  • tolerance for adversity or the ability to endure emotional pain or hardships by accepting or even embracing "the suck" while demonstrating the ability to adapt to changes in circumstances or the unknown, reframe challenges into opportunities, and demonstrating the ability to find or use humor in trying circumstances; 
  • knowing how to and being able to cognitively reframe the negative into the positive;
  • developing healthy habits that allow you to care for your mind, body, and spirit.

Developing the skill of attention and focus develops three more crucial characteristics.

  • Concentration which is the ability to attend to or focus on the tasks needed to achieve a desired outcome for extended periods of time;
  • curiosity or the innate desire to discover knowledge, truth, and wisdom;
  • flexibility - mastery of the law of requisite variety which states: the person, principle, or idea that demonstrates the greatest flexibility will achieve the greatest results.

Finding meaning involves:

  • discover your life's purpose;
  • accepting or taking responsibility for "the hand you were dealt" and believing you possess all you need to fulfill your life's mission;
  • having a heart of gratitude;
  • believe deeply in the power of hope;
  • developing an optimistic mindset.

Four areas a person needs to engage in to effectively train a  growth mindset are a heart of love - agape or service/sacrificial love, the ability to connect to others and build positive and supportive relationships, the self-awareness and concern for developing your mind and body, and lastly focusing on cultivating the spirit of a champion.

When you gain the knowledge, develop the skills, and apply the knowledge and skills you are demonstrating a growth mindset. Building resilience by building these traits is to build a growth mindset or more accurately that mindset of a champion we have repeatedly mentioned.

You can create your own training program. Use the information on these pages and take action. I can't tell you this training is easy, but I can tell you it is essential if you building resilience is your goal.

We strongly encourage to use all the resources here and design and implement your own training program. We do know however for most of you that is unrealistic. It simply won't happen. If you believe that is you or you have a teenager you want help in building resilience in them I encourage you to watch our free webinar. Just click the link below. 

You may also want to skip that is simply schedule a private conversation with me or a colleague to discuss your options, specific situation, and if what we offer is right for you. Just fill in the form below to schedule a time for us to talk on the phone. 

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