People with psychological resilience are able to use their skills and strengths to respond to life's challenges, which can include those related to the death of a loved one, divorce, financial challenges, illness, job loss, medical emergencies or natural disasters which are all too common in today’s world.
Note the positivity that is inherent in this definition. Similarly, understanding how to practice resilience is important to thriving in a post-pandemic world. Resilience is the ability to cope with and recover from setbacks. People who remain calm in the face of disaster have resilience. (1) People with psychological resilience are able to use their skills and strengths to respond to life's challenges, which can include those related to the death of a loved one, divorce, financial challenges, illness, job loss, medical emergencies or natural disasters which are all too common in today’s world.
Instead of falling into despair or hiding from issues by using unhealthy coping strategies, resilient people face life's difficulties head-on. Resilient people often have characteristics that help them weather life's challenges. Some of the signs of resilience include:
A survivor mentality: When people are resilient, they view themselves as survivors. They know that even when things are difficult, they can keep going until they make it through.
Effective emotional regulation: Resilience is marked by an ability to manage emotions in the face of stress. This doesn't mean that resilient people don't experience strong emotions such as anger, sadness, or fear. It means that they recognize those feelings are temporary and can be managed until they pass.
Feeling in control: Resilient people tend to have a strong internal locus of control and feel that their actions can play a part in determining the outcome of events.
Problem-solving skills: When problems arise, resilient people look at the situation rationally and try to come up with solutions that will make a difference.
Self-compassion: Another sign of resilience is showing self-acceptance and self-compassion. Resilient people treat themselves with kindness, especially when things are hard.
Social support: Having a solid network of supportive people is another sign of resilience. Resilient people recognize the importance of support and knowing when they need to ask for help.
If the negative impact of the pandemic is going to be with us, we must take steps to care of ourselves. Getting help through professional counseling is important for our mental health issues. As has been discussed above, mental illness as one of the effects of sin permeates the Scriptures. Therefore, there is no shame to getting help. In fact, more people are getting counseling since the pandemic than ever before. Perhaps this is one of the blessings of the pandemic. Having our eyes upon the present and not worrying about the future (Matthew 6:25-34) is also protective against mental illness. At the same time, looking with hope and great anticipation for the soon coming of our dearest Friend and Savior will carry us through whatever dark day may lie ahead.
Horn SR, Feder A. Understanding resilience and preventing and treating PTSD. Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2018;26(3):158-174. doi:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000194
David Sedlacek is professor of Family Ministry and Discipleship at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.