Friday, May 24, 2024

The Truth about Resilience


Mental and emotional well-being are integral to a healthy life. When people suffer with mental illness or drug and alcohol abuse, it significantly impacts all aspects of their lives and their loved ones.

When we talk about mental health, another term often comes up. Resilience.

Resilience isn’t something you’re born with. It’s the ability to persevere and overcome adversity, and that ability is built throughout a lifetime of experiences. But being resilient does not mean that a person eliminates challenges or distress from their life. It means that they're able to adapt in the face of trauma, tragedy, and threats.

Remember that word, adapt. It’s a verb, an action word. It means we have to do something.

To promote resilience, we have to develop protective factors like exercise, a healthy diet, a healthy sleep schedule, good communication, and most important of them all, a healthy support network.

We may not always be able to sleep eight hours or eat healthy when on call. We may not be able to get in a good run or hit the gym. Those can’t be the only strategies we turn to. Resilience is active, right? So what’s the next item on our list?

When we’re struggling and in need of help, we have to communicate our needs. And that’s where having a healthy support network comes in. First responders have to navigate and process some of the most difficult and traumatic situations imaginable... on a daily basis. There’s not enough sleeping or eating right in the world that is going to fortify a person against the effects of trauma like that. To borrow a phrase, “it takes a village.”

When there are people ready and willing to step in and help (peers, partners, friends, and/or family), you are better able to cope with difficult situations. Social support has been shown to reduce our level of stress during troubling situations. And knowing someone “has your back” creates the opening to do the hardest thing possible. It allows you to be open and ask for help when you need it.

Remember, resilience isn’t just toughing it out through the worst situations. It’s having a strategy and support system in place...and using it when you need it.  


If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

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