Resilience: What most want but unsure of how to attain

Pam Dudding
Contributing writer

Everyone deals with challenges in life. Maya Angelou once said, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”

With challenges, some are small and come and go like a traffic jam, while others carry long-term impacts such as those based in trauma like a car accident or the loss of a loved one.

J.D. Carlin, a Prevention Specialist at Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare, along with the Craig County Prevention Planning Team (CPPT) and Coalition Team, are helping to explain how to cope with this stress called resilience.

“It is how we bounce back from tough times, both small and big that matters the most, no matter what someone else may think about them and no matter how long ago they may have occurred,” he stressed.

According to the Bounce Back Project (, Carlin states that there are five pillars that contribute to resilience which can be used by individuals and also shared with others, especially one’s children or others one may work with. He expands on each.

  1. “Self-Awareness.” This is being in tune with your own strengths and weaknesses. It is the ability to know what you do well and what you struggle with and to recognize that you do both. Resilient people understand that they are capable of wonderful things even if it feels hard at the moment. This ability helps keep things in perspective and reminds the person that they have overcome tough times before and they can do so again.
  2. “Mindfulness.” This pillar is about having the ability to be in the moment. Instead of worrying about what may happen in the future or what has already happened in the past, stay focused on what is going on right now. Not only are you paying attention to what is currently happening, but you can step-away emotionally so you can think things through calmly and make decisions that are most in line with what you really think is best instead of getting caught up with your emotions.
  3. “Self-Care.” This may seem like a very simple idea, but self-care, or making sure to take care of yourself, can be challenging for some people. Self-care means that in order to be the best parent, co-worker, brother/sister, etc., “you have to” take care of yourself first.” This does not mean putting yourself above others. It means making sure some of your basic needs are met. For example, some people like to brag about how much they do on very little sleep. But who really is getting anything done well on only four hours of sleep a night? So, take care of yourself and fulfill your basic needs first. It will help you be the best version of you that you can be when helping others.
  4. “Positive Relationships.” Connection to others in our lives is very important. These relationships help us not only in what we receive from them, but also in what we give to them. Good relationships offer us support during tough times and allow us to do the same for others. This makes us healthier and helps us to gain a feeling of importance. So, when we need to be resilient, we can look back upon both our own experiences where we got the support we needed from friends, and also look at the times we gave that same help.
  5. “Purpose.” At the core, we all want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves. We want the feeling of serving something that will make a difference. For many, this is their faith. Their belief in God and serving him is their daily purpose. But purpose doesn’t have to be faith-based. It can be a commitment to serving your community, being a youth leader in an organization such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, being a teacher, or any number of other examples. So, find your purpose and be committed to it. It will help you be more resilient.

For more information, check out the CPPT website at

And remember, if your life or heart gets mangled or broken, choose to create art with its pieces. The beauty may astound you. You may be more resilient than you ever thought possible, so give yourself a chance and push forward.

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