All of us will have tough times that seem to knock us down. We can bounce back by turning to those we trust.
Dr Sydney Ey, Professor of Psychiatry at Oregon Health and Science University, offers 5 skills that increase our resiliency. She teaches that we should:
Identify and use our Strengths.
Increase positive emotions on a daily basis.
Engage in meaningful activities.
Counter unhelpful thinking.
Create a caring community.
I think it is important to focus on the last item, a caring community. The reality is that Americans have become less connected and more isolated over the past decades. Last year over 60% of US residents reported feeling lonely. With the pandemic and isolation, that number has increased. Jamie Ducharme authored a story in a recent issue of TIME entitled, “A Plague of Loneliness.” She documented that most of us are out-of-touch with neighbors, inactive in social organizations, pulled away from contact with co-workers, and lacking the supportive interactions that provide strength when we feel weak. In fact, loneliness is as detrimental to our physical health as smoking.
What about you? Is your support network weaker now? Who can you turn to for real caring support? In my counseling practice, I check on this factor regularly. It is startling how many of my clients have no one they could turn to for a supportive, caring, and honest conversation. They are alone in facing their issues.
To increase your resiliency, it is vital to build a network of support and friendship. We are wired to be social creatures. Our brains respond to the signals we receive from others instantly. Being in contact with folks you trust will increase your well-being on a daily basis. We can make the choice to attend a church, join a ceramic group, invite a neighbor to chat at the community room of the apartment, or make a phone call. We might have to work at it. Some people we reach out to just won’t click with us. But the benefits far outweigh the effort!