12 Nov

Resilience: A Powerful Tool for Growth

Resilience is a buzz word these days in health and wellness.  It is what separates one person from another in terms of outcome.  If we look at two people with similar circumstances, each has experienced adversity and challenge but one seems to have not only gotten through it but they seem happier, stronger and full of gratitude. What is the difference, why has one done so much better than the other? One word….Resilience!

Resilience really is a tool kit of coping strategies.  Having strategies and healthy coping skills is what creates resilience, consequently it is what makes us bounce back. In some theories there is a belief that life’s adversities bring a lesson.  The question is what is this situation telling us?  What can we learn from this? Lessons can be  about an infinite number of things, the need for self care, connection, gratitude or perhaps compassion for others.  Resilience brings growth and expansion in our world view.

In the resiliency toolbox we find items such as optimism, ability to problem solve, self-belief and social support.  We may have strengths in some of the areas but can build on the areas that need more development. Here are a few key fundamentals of resilience.


Sense of humor is a consistent factor in the many articles about resilience.  When was the last time we laughed at our own challenges? Using humor doesn’t mean that you are ignoring what happened but you are relieving stress and tension with laughter.

Find Connection

Humans are social by nature, we need social connection as a basic need.  We can create a network where we feel safe and loved.  Find the people that get you, find your tribe. These are the people who laugh at your jokes, don’t care if your house is a mess and generally just appreciate you for you.  They are out there and they will be the ones who come forward when you face adversity.

Be Optimistic

Focus on your own personal strengths.  Look for the positives in the situation.  Someone who is going through weekly cancer treatments told me that they were grateful that they got to meet so many other people with cancer and that their situations made them filled with hope.


Let’s face it , attitude is everything.  The minute we tell ourselves we “can’t” or “won’t” we erase all other options.  Leave the good options on the table and believe that you can.  Know that we can take action and create a “can do” list.  We don’t need to be defeated we can move ahead by learning, gathering information and making a plan.


Do you wonder how resilient you are? In the article 5 Best Ways to Build Resiliency, author Jessie Sholl provides a quiz that you can score yourself to see how resilient you are.  If it looks like you need a bit of work in the resiliency department, you can help yourself or see a counsellor who can help you build resiliency skills such as problem solving, use of humor and focus on learning.


06 Jun

Book Review: Option B: Finding Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy

Option B: Finding Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy,

Authors: Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Alfred Knopf, New York 2017

This recent publication is co-authored by Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook who shares her personal experience of the sudden death of her husband Dave, while vacationing in Mexico.  Co-author, Adam Grant is her friend and psychologist at Wharton.  Together they merge the personal and the professional.  It is filled with heartfelt stories of loss but also some very practical tips.

As an independent woman who is used to getting things done and leading others, the author has to open herself up to the support and help of friends and family. With this tragic loss she is faced with parenting and living her life on her own.

The book is peppered with stories of others who experienced adversity.  Each story speaks to how they built resilience and the coping strategies that worked for them.  Sheryl relates her own story as she learns that Option A is no longer available and that she must now choose Option B.  Simple strategies are shared, new family rules that all feelings are okay, choosing to find good in each day, no matter how difficult and likely the most difficult lesson of all, to ask for help when you need it.  As a parent she uses this to focus on building resilience in her children, to become emotionally healthy adults in the future.

The income of this book is being donated to OptionB.org    This non profit initiative helps others build resilience in the face of adversity.  The website talks about sharing stories, becoming connected and building resilience.

A good anecdotal read on the twisty, turning road through the journey of grief. Practical and reflective, this is a book for others who have experienced loss.  Available to purchase at your local bookstore, online and in audible format.


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