There is not a better time than now to become more resilient. These uncertain and challenging times are testing our resiliency which is defined as “our ability to bounce back from adversity.” Interestingly, most of the scientific research on resilience has been focused on children. But what about adults and particularly resiliency in mid-life.
Questions I often ask in workshops and classes:
When is mid-life?
At what age are we in the second half of life?
People often guess 50+ or 62 or when we retire. If life expectancy is around 80, then 40 is more correct and that is much earlier than people think. This is important because mid-life can bring on all kinds of stressors and it is a tricky life stage to navigate. In the age group of 50+:
- Divorce rate is higher than normal
- Depression is on the rise
- Fastest growing segment entering substance abuse programs
- Suicide for white males is on the rise
- Often dealing with aging parents
- Personal health issues or health issues with friends and family
- Career setbacks, disappointments, and retirements (I am out to retire the word retirement. I conduct non-financial retirement workshops for corporations to prepare people to move on)
Yet many of us don’t develop the coping skills needed to meet these challenges. But there is also good news for mid-life: most of us can better regulate our emotions and gain perspective from life experience. Wisdom comes from processing and learning from life experience. But this is not a given–it takes work on our part.
After researching the topic of resilience, I am sharing what I learned through several blog posts. In a previous post, I shared how our perception of the situation greatly influences our outlook. Our perspective makes a difference and if we can reframe the situation as an opportunity we are more resilient.
After studying for decades how people deal with setbacks, Martin Seligman found that three P’s can inhibit or slow down building resilience. He says we have to not let these three P’s get in our way:
- Personalization—the belief that we are at fault
- Pervasiveness—the belief that an event will affect all areas of our life and
- Permanence—the belief that the aftershocks of the event will last forever.
Being resilient and dealing with stress are similar. We need to remember we have choices in how we respond to people and situations. It is worth the time invested to think about how we respond instead of just reacting. And it is always valuable to remember to practice deep breathing. Taking deep breaths when we feel overwhelmed works wonders.
Resilience is a set of skills that can be taught and need to be practiced. I will share more about these skills in a few more blog posts.
How resilient are you?
How well are you dealing with stress?
How healthy are your coping mechanisms?
NOTE: My next monthly podcast is this Friday, December 8th. I interview Jo Kline Cebuhar who is the author of So The Tree Grows: Creating An Ethical Will–a book I use in my positive aging workshops and I reference it when I integrate legacy work into classes and workshops. My hope is you will listen and let me know what you think. The goal is to have the rest of life be the best of life.