Updated: Apr 29
The current Covid-19 pandemic has amplified the uncertain nature of the world that we are currently living in. Some people have fallen ill, while others have lost loved ones. And as a result of the lockdown, students have had to cope with studying remotely, parents have had to juggle both work as well as home schooling, while people in the workforce have had to face retrenchments, pay cuts and―if they were “lucky”―increased workload due to productivity targets.
Through these turbulent times, many Malaysians have had to overcome challenges and obstacles even in completing simple day-to-day tasks. Take Veveonah Mosibin, for example, the teenager from rural Sabah, who spent the night up on a tree to gain stronger Internet access in order to sit for her exams during the lockdown.
In a scenario where some may have given up, Veveonah chose to rise to the occasion, quite literally, in order to complete the simple task of sitting for her exams. She didn’t let poor internet connectivity or her dangerous stand get in her way.
Have you ever considered why some people are able to take stress, hardship and challenges in their stride, while others can’t?
The answer lies in resilience.
According to Cornell Health, resilience is the learned psychological ability to cope with life’s challenges.
Here are 3 things you should know about resilience:
1. Resilient people do not experience less emotional distress
When we see resilient people like Veveonah, who seem to easily take adversity in their stride, we often assume that they feel less stressed, less frustrated or less overwhelmed than we do.
The truth is, resilient people experience just as much emotional distress as others in similar situations do. However, their resilience enables them to accept life’s ups and downs and confront their challenges in ways that foster positive outcomes. Just like Demi Lovato sings in her song: Go on and try to tear me down, I will be rising from the ground, like a skyscraper.
On the other hand, less resilient people may end up feeling overwhelmed and could turn to negative coping mechanisms that lead to self-destructive behaviour… making it even harder for them to face or overcome their difficulties.
2. Resilience is not just about overcoming adversity
Resilience doesn’t just have to do with overcoming a negative event in your life. One can also demonstrate resilience when faced with a positive challenge, such as a promotion at work that comes with an increased workload, or a significant life event like the birth of a child.
In these cases, where stress levels can increase exponentially, resilient people have the ability to manage strong emotions and have a sense of safety that is provided by a strong support system. A strong support system― whether it is a supportive team at work, or close family members and friends―is a critical component of resilience, as it provides you with comfort and support as you navigate tough times.
3. Resilience can be learnt
Lucy Hone, a resilience expert from New Zealand, shared her own experience about losing her own child. In a TED Talk, she admitted that even she felt overwhelmed, but, five years on, she shared that you can rise up from adversity — that it is utterly possible to make yourself think and act in certain ways that help you navigate tough times.
Positive psychologist Martin Seligman founded a model of wellbeing, PERMA. It has five core areas where resilience can be nurtured and added to your psychological “cushion” during adversity. It stands for Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement.
Rather than focusing on what’s wrong, this model of positive thinking focuses on enhancing the positives in your life and leaning on your strengths and skills to get you through life’s road bumps.
To learn more about the PERMA model and how you can build your resilience, check out our lesson plan or chat with one of our ThoughtFull Professionals to get some help in coming up with a realistic plan.
ThoughtFull Professionals are credentialed mental health professionals. Through the chat, our Professionals will partner with you in a thought-provoking and creative process that assists you in maximizing your personal and professional potential areas of your life.