What is Resilience?
It certainly seems that some people can roll with the punches whilst others are completely knocked off balance.
The good news is that whilst there are biological and environmental differences that determine how resilient we naturally are, we can always build more resilience.
So, what is resilience really?
Psychological resilience is the ability to effectively and calmly handle the stress that comes with daily life and manage crises well. It is also about the ability to adapt to adversity without experiencing lasting difficulties such as anxiety or other physical symptoms of stress.
This immediately suggests that Highly Sensitive People who struggle to adapt to change AND who also feel life’s stresses more than their non-highly Sensitive counterparts are perhaps not so resilient.
However Highly Sensitive People also have a strength they can bring in to help – they have a high level of emotional awareness i.e., they know what they are feeling (sometimes this takes a bit of training to tune in and understand the feelings, but once this is developed a natural trait of High Sensitivity can really help) as Highly Sensitive people are more aware of what they need in that moment and they can also respond better to the needs of others.
Key traits of resilient people
- Perseverance – Regardless of High Sensitivity, we can all work to improve our perseverance in order that we are action-oriented and trust in the process, so we keep working towards a goal rather than feeling hopeless in the face of a challenge.
- Personal responsibility – Resilient people recognise that it is they, rather than outside forces, that are in control of their life. When you take responsibility for where you are and how you feel, you take back control.
- Optimism – Resilient people look for the positives rather than the negatives. They are also aware that they can reach out for support when they need it rather than exacerbating the issue through withdrawing from others and shutting down.
- Perspective – Having a positive mindset means that resilient people are able to have a good sense of perspective, for example, seeing mistakes as learning opportunities rather than a failure and also being mindful of the bigger picture.
All these traits are of course achieved when you are operating from your Intellectual Mind – the thinking, solution-finding, problem-solving part of the brain. Therefore, we need to make sure we are doing our 3 ‘P’s of Positivity – Positive Thought, Positive Action and Positive Interaction to ensure we are in our Intellectual Mind and so able to build on our resilience.
The added bonus for Highly Sensitive People is that whilst we respond more negatively to negative situations, we also respond more positively to positive interventions. Being more intentional about our 3 ‘P’s really does build our resilience and in doing so our High Sensitivity can be used as a strength rather than a setback.
About the Author: Emma Treby works with people online and face to face in our Mid-Devon clinic: “I specialise in helping clients who feel stuck and want to regain connection in their lives – with themselves, their family and their passions. I have a particular interest in supporting Highly Sensitive People who often come to my clinic with anxiety, a lack of confidence or concern about their own Highly Sensitive child and how to parent them in a way that enables them to thrive.”
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