Resiliency for Adults

Written by: Stephen Walters, M.Div., M.A.
Resiliency for Adults

Resiliency can be a buzzword for many. What does it mean? Well, Webster defines resiliency as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to adversity or change.” In counseling, we look at things like resiliency factors for our clients to help them when life presents stressors, challenges, and changes that become dysregulating. Just as adults face different challenges as teens, so are practices of resiliency. So, I thought I’d look at the difference. This blog will focus on resiliency for adults. Next time, we’ll look at teens.

What are the most common stressors for adults? PsychCentral lists the top 10 stressors for adults as the death of a spouse, divorce, marital separation, being incarcerated, the death of a close family member, major personal injury or illness, marriage, being fired or laid off from work, marital reconciliation, and retirement (find source here). Based on this list, I think two common themes are stability and connection. When things threaten my stability (change of a job, injury, etc.) or affect my ability to be connected to others (loss of a loved one, divorce, etc.) I will struggle with anxiety and stress more than many other frustrations.

So, what does resiliency look like when either stability or connection is threatened? My thought is to focus on how to gain a sense of empowerment over those two areas. If connection is threatened, where can I find healthy connection? Healthy resiliency is not dismissing all relationships when one is threatened or failing. Healthy resiliency is seeking to remain connected to strong social support. Unhealthy coping would be to avoid people or seek out dysregulating relationships that alter healthy and desired behaviors. This promotes recovery from adversity and change.

When stability is threatened, work to empower things we can control. If I am losing a job, what are areas where you can remain constant? Maybe maintaining healthy self-care routines (spending time reading every day, regular physical activity, daily meditation to ground ourselves, etc.) By working to empower a consistent routine, we are regaining stability. This allows our mind to feel a reduction of loss of control and will strengthen our ability to adapt as life changes.

You are more resilient than you think. So, practice empowerment where you can, and allow yourself to detach from what you cannot control. This will increase resiliency you face undesired stressors.

Check back next time as we look at resiliency for teens.