Bounce Back

Everyone has a story that will make you cry. Many have a story that will overwhelm you with grief. No one gets through this life without being wounded.

But why do some people handle these wounds better than others? Why do some people find it so difficult to get back up once they’ve been knocked down? How about you? How do you handle the junk that life throws at you? How can you become better at bouncing back?

Resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties. Think of a rubber band being stretched but is still able to return back to its original shape. There are a number of factors that contribute to our coping skills but each of us can nurture our capacity to bounce back or be resilient.

The foundation of our resiliency was developed as we were growing up. Evidence from epigenetics suggests our capacity forms in the womb and even comes down to us from our parents’ capacity to bounce back!! What is your resiliency capacity? Check out this survey (found at https://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/). Note that there’s no right or wrong per se - it’s just what has been.

RESILIENCE Questionnaire - Please circle the most accurate answer under each statement:

 

 

1.  I believe that my mother loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

2.  I believe that my father loved me when I was little.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

3.  When I was little, other people helped my mother and father take care of me and they seemed to love me.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

4.   I’ve heard that when I was an infant someone in my family enjoyed playing with me, and I enjoyed it, too.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

5.  When I was a child, there were relatives in my family who made me feel better if I was sad or worried.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

6.   When I was a child, neighbors or my friends’ parents seemed to like me.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

7.  When I was a child, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or ministers were there to help me.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

8.  Someone in my family cared about how I was doing in school.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

9.  My family, neighbors, and friends talked often about making our lives better.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

10.  We had rules in our house and were expected to keep them.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

11. When I felt really bad, I could almost always find someone I trusted to talk to.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

12.  As a youth, people noticed that I was capable and could get things done.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

13.  I was independent and a go-getter.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

 

14.  I believed that life is what you make it.

Definitely true         Probably true Not sure         Probably Not True Definitely Not True

Now ask yourself these questions:

How many of these 14 protective factors did I have as a child and youth? (How many of the 14 were circled “Definitely True” or “Probably True”?)   _______

Of these circled, how many are still true for me? _______

This exercise may have made you realize two things. First, your capacity for resiliency was being built before you were even aware of what was going on. Second, depending on your answers, you may also note that you didn’t experience some important protective factors that would have developed your capacity to bounce back. What if you had an upbringing that had many adverse experiences that diminished your resiliency?

All is not lost! With knowledge and awareness, we can be intentional about building our resilience capacity. Here are some practices we find helps us be more resilient:

  • Have a healthy and active lifestyle. A healthy and active lifestyle includes nourishing your whole self. Enjoy health-giving food, recreation, and sleep. Care for your mental wellness through learning, mindfulness, and reframing distorted thinking. Feed your spirituality through inspirational readings and practices.

  • Develop good supports in your life. We don’t need dozens of friends but a few quality relationships with people who are empathetic, keep your confidence but are also honest with you; holding you accountable to commitments you make.

  • Increase other centered activity. Serving others has the effect of getting us out of our heads, gives us goals and provides healthy routine.

  • Develop healthy boundaries. Boundaries are ways we pursue what’s best for us and others, protects us from unhealthy situations and people, and keeps us responsible and effective. A good resource for boundaries is Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No, to Take Control of Your Life by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.

Each of us will respond differently to these practice. Some will be better at developing their resiliency than others. It’s important to find the ones that help you where you are currently at and then adapt as time goes on. Developing resilience is a life-long pursuit but it’s also a life-giving pursuit - you are worth it!

Noreen Moise & Brad Dahr
Also published on CulturalAtheist.com

 

Bradley Dahr