Unresolved trauma can dramatically alter a person's life if not addressed as part of his or her physical and emotional well-being. Untreated trauma may show itself in hurtful ways, such as smoking, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What is resilience?
Resilience is the capacity to withstand stress and catastrophe. Psychologists recognize the capabilities of humans to adapt and overcome risk and adversity: individuals and communities are able to rebuild their lives even after devastating tragedies.
Being resilient doesn't mean going through life without experiencing stress and pain. People feel grief, sadness and a range of other emotions after adversity and loss. Resilience happens when an individual works through the emotions and effects of stress and painful events.
Resilience is developed; it is not something you are born with or without. As a person grows up, she gains knowledge and strengthens thinking and self-management skills. Resilience also comes from supportive relationships with parents, peers and others, as well as cultural beliefs and traditions that help people cope with the inevitable bumps in life. Resilience is found in a variety of behaviors, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed across the life span.
Factors that contribute to resilience include:
- Close relationships with family and friends.
- A positive self-image.
- Seeing yourself as resilient rather than as a victim.
- Confidence in your strengths and abilities.
- Good problem-solving and communication skills.
- The ability to manage strong feelings and impulses.
- Feeling in control.
- Seeking help and resources.
- Coping with stress in healthy ways and avoiding harmful strategies, such as substance abuse.
- Helping others.
- Finding positive meaning in your life despite difficult or traumatic events.
By addressing the trauma and asking "what happened to you?" instead of "what's wrong with you?" we can begin to heal as a community.
You can find more resources that encourage resilience on our Facebook Page.
In 2015, Trauma Matters KC was one of 14 sites in the country who were awarded a national grant initiative, called Mobilizing Action for Resilient Communities. The project is co-sponsored by Trauma Matters KC and Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. Funders include Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, HealthCare Foundation and the REACH Foundation.
For more information, Resilient KC facebook; ResilientKC.org.