Resilience is the ability to ‘bounce back’, or return to normal functioning, after an abrupt, or sustained, period of adversity.
As such this idea of a ‘struggle’ muscle is something that you gravitate to in youth to help cushion the blows that life inevitably delivers. Or it is the subject matter of how elite people push on to achieve extraordinary feats, goals and accomplishment. So what makes resilience a matter of attention in the context of ageing?
Quite a bit it would seem particularly when ‘blended’ with a spiritual orientation. People in this case are more resilient in the face of trauma which, as the years go by, may tend to mount including dealing with a myriad of ‘stressors’ including divorce, death of a loved one, financial pressures and even a loss of meaning and purpose.
Armed with the ‘wisdom’ that comes from life experiences may give older people a particular advantage. Author of a book called Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy Professor Adam Grant, maintains there is a naturally learnable set of behaviours that contribute to resilience. These are ones we gravitate to as we age.
Events that require resilience, he says, often happen without notice making it difficult to prepare for the event or onslaught. There are, however, practical initiatives that can be followed to help with your emotional rescue and recovery.
- Atheism (there are no atheists but rather those holding a belief in something transcendent such as a benign spirit. Centenarians tend to be spiritual more than religious).
- Lamenting and complaining.
- Your belief in cultural attitudes will kill you before your genes do.