Resiliency Psychology: Concept, Characteristics & Pillars
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”
– Steve Maraboli
Conceptualization of Psychological Resilience
Resilience is defined as the capacity to cover from a difficult situation and spring back into shape. The term Resilience stems from the Latin verb “Resilire”, meaning to rebound or recoil. In general, resilience is viewed as a “positive adaptation” following a demanding or challenging circumstance. The psychology of resilience encompasses coping with a crisis situation and leading to a pre-crisis state.
A coherent sense of self that is able to retain normal developmental activities that occur at various periods of life is referred to as resilience. Resilience in psychology refers to the integrated adaptability of physical, mental, and spiritual elements in a set of “good or poor” conditions. In psychological terms, building Resilience is not just an end goal but it is a process.
Resilience is the capacity to recover from setbacks and carry on living a fulfilling life. Having said that, it is much simpler said than done. It can be challenging to maintain resiliency in the face of life’s challenges. In real life, resilience of a person is put to test in the face of adversities like loss of a job or loved one, long standing financial crisis, medical emergencies, natural disasters, separation or divorce. In such situations, people who are resilient are able to face these challenges head-on.
Resilience in Positive Psychology
According to the conceptualizations of Resilience in Positive Psychology, it entails the ability to:
- Maintain composure in the midst of adversity and hardships
- To cope and resist by utilizing one’s abilities and resources
- Recuperate and prosper as a result of the experience and incident
The Five Pillars of Resilience
Resilience is said to be built on five pillars. For building psychological resilience, development of the following aspects is necessary:
1. Self-awarenss: Having the knowledge of our own strengths, weaknesses, motivations, aspirations, personality and emotions helps us not only to understand ourselves but also to understand how others perceive us.
2. Mindfulness: This is the ability of having conscious awareness about our thoughts, feelings, emotions and environmental situations.
3. Self-Care: Although this is a subjective concept in that it differs from person to person, it essentially involves an intentional effort to take care of our own body and mind.
4. Positive Relationships: Building healthy relationships with people around us is important to feel the support and care. This creates a non-judgmental space for an individual.
5. Purpose: Having a purpose in life shapes our attitude and mindset in a certain way. We then start acting on it through behaviors that would promote the fulfilment of this purpose. This gives us something to look forward to in life.
All of these pillars in combination with one another, help to build the overall resilience in a person. This is also referred to as the development of Psychosocial Resilience. In brief, Psychosocial resilience is a term used to describe how well people can handle stress. Another term that is used interchangeably for the same is Emotional Resilience.
The capacity for psychological flexibility may be a factor in resilience. It is the capacity to accept one’s emotional experience without avoiding it and, depending on the circumstances, carry on with one’s goals in the face of adversity. An example of area where having Psychological Resilience is important is in Sports. This is due to the fact that athletes must make use of and maximize a variety of mental attributes to endure the challenges they encounter on field.
Characteristics of Resilient People
A resilient person emits certain signs from the way they carry themselves in the society.
- They have an internal locus of control.
- They have a moderate to high emotional intelligence.
- They find solutions to deal with problems instead of playing the victim, which means they have good problem-solving skills.
- They possess self-regulating skills in the face of adversity.
- They have good communication skills.
- They are Goal oriented and set realistic goals, taking in consideration their strengths and weaknesses.
- They seek help from the social connections they have formed.
- They are self-compassionate. They love and take care of themselves, address and accept their feelings and are not too hard on themselves.
- They focus on things that are under their control.
- They view change as a challenge or opportunity for growth.
- They look at setbacks as passing obstacles.
- They are optimistic and have faith in the circumstances.
- They reframe negative events to Neutral or Positive ones.
All of us are born with some or the other level of resilience but only with practice and experiences, we actually develop it to greater degrees.
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s not as good as the one you had before, and working towards it.”
– Elizabeth Edwards