Posts Tagged ‘Resiliency’

Resiliency – Part 4

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Here are the specific rationale for the resilient coping strategies and negative coping strategies I promised from my last blog.

Resilient Coping Strategies

  • Breathing deeply. Slow, deep breaths give your body more oxygen and can produce a calming and focused effect.
  • Church/religious activities. Attending church or other religious activities can provide support.
  • Cooking. Some find great joy in preparing food. The rhythmic motion of chopping vegetables or the aroma of freshly baked bread can be very soothing.
  • Exercising. In addition to keeping you fit, exercise can be a great stress reliever and a great coping strategy. When you body is fit and healthy, coping with stressful situations will be easier.
  • Spending time in nature. Take time to notice the natural beauty around you by taking a walk in a park. Merely getting away from your stresses and finding peace and relaxation, even if only for a few minutes each day, can be beneficial.
  • Support groups. You may feel as if you are the only one dealing with stress and depression; however, you are not alone. Look for support in your area. These groups can be formal groups established in the community, informal groups in your neighborhood.
  • Talking to others. Don’t underestimate the power of talk. Talking about your thoughts and feelings can be very useful. Even if the person with whom you are talking cannot fix the problem, the act of putting your emotions into words can be helpful.
  • Volunteering. When you give back to others, whether you volunteer to work with children the homeless, elderly populations, or at a local animal shelter, you find out just how strong you are. Visit www.volunteermatch.org for opportunities in your area.
  • Writing/journaling. Put your thoughts and emotions on paper. Writing can help you to sort out how you are feeling. You don’t have to show what you have written to anyone. Keeping a journal can help you track your moods.

Negative Coping Strategies

  • Eating in excess or not enough. Eating or bingeing when stressed is a common but ineffective coping strategy. Not eating enough can be a sign of depression. Both eating patterns are maladaptive and should be replaced with resilient strategies.
  • Not talking. Keeping feelings bottled up inside is not a beneficial way to cope with problems. When people do not talk about their feelings, they become consumed with the negative, which makes a problem seem larger and less manageable.
  • Self-injurious behaviors (e.g., self-cutting, drinking alcohol, taking pain killers, reckless driving, etc.). These behaviors are very serious. They are sometimes a cry for help, but engaging in these behaviors even one time can be fatal.
  • Withdrawing. Individuals might feel that they need to keep to themselves and not burden others with their problems when they are feeling stressed; however, the opposite is true. Withdrawing form others and/or the problem will only make the problem worse.

Resiliency – Part 3

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

As mentioned in my previous blog, resiliency is on the radar of several organizations. Late last summer, the CDC’s Office of Health and Safety (OHS) released an announcement (Aug 21, 2009) discussing the importance of resiliency, and provided some additional information;

Most of us are pretty good at demonstrating resiliency at home, at work, with our colleagues, and with our lived ones. But when our workloads increase, when we experience major changes at home or work, or when family pressures build up, our sleep or nutrition can be affected and exercise can drop off our regular schedule.

Another major organization that is now heavily invested in resiliency awareness and training is the U.S. Army. Gen. George W. Casey Jr., Chief of Staff of the Army, has formed a specific program called, the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program, to deal with resiliency. “It is one of the most important programs the Army has introduced in many years, and focuses on Building Resilient Soldiers, Families and Civilians”. The Army plans to require that all 1.1 million of its soldiers take intensive training in emotional resiliency. The training, the first of its kind in the military, is meant to improve performance in combat and head off the mental health problems, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide, that plague about one-fifth of troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq. Active-duty soldiers, reservists and members of the National Guard will receive the training, which will also be available to their family members and to civilian employees. The programs Director is Brigadier General Rhonda Cornum, who is herself an excellent example of someone who has overcome adversity.

As a commissioned officer with a Ph.D. in nutrition and biochemistry, and M.D., she was assigned as the flight for an Attack Helicopter Battalion in the first Gulf War. During the last week of February 1991, while performing a search and rescue mission for a downed Air Force F-16 pilot, her Blackhawk helicopter was shot down. Five of the eight-person crew were killed. The three survivors, including Cornum, were captured by Iragi forces. She was repatriated on March 6, 1991. “Resiliency is the ability to bounce back after adversity,” Cornum said, “or it’s the ability, for example, to see something as adverse, but not traumatic, or just perform better in all cases. The whole program is (intending) to train people better incrementally.”

Some of the accepted coping strategies for resiliency are; breathing deeply, church/religious activities, cooking, exercising, spending time in nature, attending support groups, talking to others. Volunteering, writing/journaling. Some of the negative coping strategies include; eating in excess or not enough, not talking about it, self-injurious behaviors, and withdrawing from others.

I’ll provide rationale for each of these coping strategies in my next blog.

Resiliency – Part 2

Friday, March 19th, 2010

The American Heritage College Dictionary defines resiliency as – the ability to recover quickly from illness, change or misfortune. Their definition also provides an additional one-word helper to that definition “buoyancy”. Now that’s a visual many of us can understand! Like a buoy that gets battered around by the ocean waves, but stays afloat. It might even get hit or run over by boats, but doesn’t’ sink.

Many of us are very good at demonstrating our resiliency at work, at home, or with our family and friends. But when our workloads weigh us down, or we have changes in our professional or personal lives, we may experience physical and emotional stress. This stress takes the form of headaches, increased irritability or the feeling of being overwhelmed.

Many organizations have recognized the need to provide EAP (Employee Assistance Programs) to help their employees deal with the physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual impact of stress. Clearly, a stressed employee is not a productive employee. A worker who is overwhelmed with family pressures, or the lack of sleep, will negatively impact the organization. More about resilience in my next blog.

Resiliency – Part 1

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Have you ever been in a situation, in a place, or had a sense that something wasn’t quite right?  If so, you’ve probably felt anxiety, stress, or some form of discomfort. In that case, the next logical question is, how did you react?

In other words … did you “make lemonade out of lemons”, or did the lemons pound you down until you were exhausted, depressed, or stressed out?

The common name for our reaction to the uncomfortable situations we sometimes find ourselves in, is “resilience”. I’ll begin a series that discusses this critical topics. Let’s start with a definition. What is resilience? There are several definitions, but one seems the clearest to me; Resilience is the capacity to deal with change and continue to develop. Essentially, we handle the uncomfortable situation, but don’t let it get the best of us — we endure, work our way through it, and even survive as a stronger person because of the experience. More about resilience in my next blogs.