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Resilience is having the skills or attributes to recover quickly from a mental, physical or emotional crisis. Some individuals seem to have a natural ability to bounce back from adverse circumstances. Others have to learn how to become resilient.

Traits that Promote Resilience

Sense of Humor: finds humor in life – able to laugh at self

Humble: realistic about both talents and faults ‑ recognizes strengths and weaknesses ‑ modest ‑ unpretentious ‑ receptive ‑ listens and considers

Balanced:  dynamic ‑ wise ‑ lives judiciously ‑ is flexible and adaptable

Autonomous: has and enforces safe boundaries between self and others – emotionally distances self from destructive people, environments and life situations ‑ self-reliant ‑ unique

Relationally Healthy:  values people – empathic ‑ seeks to know and understand others ‑ chooses healthy people to be with ‑ relationships characterized by a balance of give and take ‑ cooperative ‑ comfortable with people/comfortable alone

Creative:  self-expresses through art forms (music, writing, painting, dance, etc.) ‑ values own inner world ‑ has an aesthetic sense ‑ comes at things from varying perspectives ‑ tries new things

Self-Motivated: masters problems ‑ takes the initiative and takes responsibility for actions ‑ courageous ‑ persistent ‑ optimistic and confident ‑ willing to endure reasonable pain for the sake of growth

Content:  alive in the moment ‑ able to learn from or make the most of the difficult and enjoy the good ‑ grateful ‑ generous – non-anxious ‑ holds reasonable expectations

Traits that Lessen Resilience

Humorless:  melancholy – hopeless – self-pitying

Self-absorbed:  egotistical ‑ narcissistic ‑ unwilling to admit faults ‑ possesses a sense of entitlement ("people owe me special consideration") ‑ seeks attention ‑ stubborn ‑ controlling

Extremist:  radical ‑ reactive ‑ emotionally impulsive or over-controlled ‑ either minimizes or maximizes

Isolator:  plays the hermit – tends to run away from both helpful and hurtful people and situations – self-sabotages

Dependent:  ties to needy or caregiving individuals ‑ enmeshed – no balance in relationships – rigid roles – continues to choose unhealthy types of individuals and groups in attachments, affiliations and community relationships ‑ desperate in relationships

Patterned Behavior: predictable – worries – obsesses ‑ resorts to the same solutions even when those have been proven to be inadequate ‑ shuns new things

Passive:  feels and acts as having no power – fatalistic – life dictates what can or cannot be done – life characterized by procrastination – pessimistic – lacks energy

Discontent/Resigned:  dissatisfied ‑ covetous ‑ mired in the past – believes what has happened determines what will happen ‑ fatalistic ‑ whiny 


Originally published by Stress Solutions in 2003 and reprinted with permission.

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This content was last modified on: 06/02/2017

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