Resiliency, the best antidote for uncertainty
Our inherent desire to predict and control our world brings us in direct conflict with the impermanent nature of all things, and the fact that uncertainty is unavoidable. The answer seems to lie in resiliency, namely the ability to adapt to, and even welcome, adversity.
Here are a few ways to approach the challenge:
Model the way. Those who master resilience tend to be skilled in preparing for emotional emergencies and adept at accepting what comes by being flexible, rather than rigid. They think, “Times are tough, but I know they will get better.” The old metaphor applies: resilient people are like bamboo in a hurricane– they bend rather than break. Or, even if they feel like they’re broken for a time, there’s still a part of them deep inside that knows they won’t be broken forever. Career-life coach and consultant Brad Waters shares 10 Traits of Emotionally Resilient People (Psychology Today.)
Building on your strengths. In Learning to Bounce Back (NY Times) Andrew Zolli, author and PopTech’s Executive Director, presents that psychologists, sociologists and neuroscientists are uncovering a wide array of factors that make you more or less resilient than the person next to you. These include the reach of your social networks, the quality of your close relationships, your access to resources, your genes and health, and your beliefs and habits of mind.
Resilience 101. The good news is that positive perception and interpretation can be taught, Maria Konnikova writes in How People Learn to Become Resilient (The New Yorker.) Quoting George Bonanno, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, “We can make ourselves more or less vulnerable by how we think about things.” Konnikova also cites neuroscientist Kevin Ochsner who, in research at Columbia, “has shown that teaching people to think of stimuli in different ways – to reframe them in positive terms when the initial response is negative, or in a less emotional way when the initial response is emotionally ’hot‘ – changes how they experience and react to the stimulus. You can train people to better regulate their emotions, and the training seems to have lasting effects.”