A roadmap to building resilience


Resilience is the belief and capacity of an individual to cope with setbacks and bounce back from adversity.

It isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a new concept, but perhaps is getting spoken about more in the context of a global setback (i.e. Coronavirus).

Resilience is something that you can build, in the same way that you can build and strengthen a muscle.

I’ve spent more time thinking and talking about resilience, since becoming a facilitator for the Be Well Plan, which we’ve been trialling with students. That program encourages people to develop a specific resilience plan.

What does such a plan involve?

Central to building resilience is embedding activities into one’s everyday life that increase one’s fitness. And we aren’t just talking about physical fitness here either.

‘Fitness’ is this context refers to the ability to survive and thrive in the face of many different human experiences.

For example:

  • Physical fitness is the ability to survive and thrive in the face of the physical challenges we face everyday
  • Interpersonal fitness is the ability to survive and thrive in the face of the social challenges we face everyday
  • Emotional fitness is the capacity to manage and harness one’s emotions
  • Thinking fitness is the capacity to think clearly and rationally and make good decisions and choices
  • Behavioural fitness is the ability to regulate and control one’s behaviour
  • Spiritual fitness is the capacity to connect with a higher sense of purpose and meaning

In the same way that we build physical fitness by ‘training’ our bodies, we can train these other areas of fitness as well. In fact, one of my pet topics is how we build ‘Mental Fitness‘.

The other day I was watching an interview with a famous psychologist by the name of Donald Meichenbaum.

He now spends the bulk of his time writing and talking about resilience, particularly for those who have experience significant violence.

In the interview he casually mentioned a simple website he had set up to help people understand better how to build resilience. It is called Roadmap to Resilience.

It isn’t the flashiest of sites. It looks very basic.

But it hides an extraordinary amount of information about how one goes about building fitness in the different areas described above.

In fact, there are #101 recommendations on how to do so.

Now I don’t recommend trying to implement all 101 recommendations in one go.

But what you can do is develop your own Resilience Action Plan by committing to a couple at a time.

What you will learn in the process is that there are many ways one can work on building one’s resilience.

It is like meeting the ultimate personal trainer for the mind 🙂

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