Resilience is often defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficult situations. Many loving parents want nothing more than to build resiliency in their children. But how do you build this ability to recover from difficulties?
When you experience and recover from a difficulty, you do not always return to your old self. Sometimes, you change. The changes that you experience through recovery allow you to develop the ability and courage to face and recover from further challenges.
Recovering from a difficult situation often involves stretching your brain in ways that allow you to think differently. By thinking differently, you can better adapt to your environment and the obstacles you face. For example, you can find new ways to think about painful experiences and solutions to problems so that you are not held back in life by those experiences and problems.
Recovering from a difficult situation often involves feeling difficult emotions. Through feeling difficult emotions, you can learn to handle difficult emotions. For example, by feeling and working through feelings of grief, you can then appreciate and cherish the time you have with the people you love. Have you ever tried to avoid the feeling of fear? We all have; but by feeling and working through fear, you can then build courage to approach, rather than avoid, situations that make you feel afraid.
Oftentimes, recovery involves building a life worth living, despite the obstacles you face. You learn to bring passion, joy, and meaning to your life even when there is stress and pain. Building a life worth living may involve building new social connections in times of loss, strengthening social connections in times of stress, or increasing your engagement in activities that make you feel good.
Thus, recovery is not always about bouncing back to your old self. Oftentimes, it’s about bouncing forward through a process of change. The neat thing about recovery? The process of recovering from a difficult situation allows you to become more resilient. You increase your ability to recover more quickly the next time you are faced with a difficult situation because you have developed new ways to navigate your way through difficulties.
Therapy is a wonderful way to help your child or teen recover from difficulties and build resiliency for any challenges in the future. Therapy can help your child or teen to think differently, feel and handle difficult emotions, and find meaning and passion in life despite obstacles, which in turn gives them the skills and courage to face future challenges.
Written by: Dr Wafa Saoud
Clinical Psychologist, Children & Adolescent Specialist