Building Resilience in Times of Crisis

Building Resilience in Tough Times

It has been said that resilience is one of the top traits of Filipinos. Being in the circum-pacific ring of fire, it makes our country vulnerable to calamities such as volcano eruptions and tropical storms.

I remember during Typhoon Yolanda, I was holding to a concrete pole as I look at the “eye” of the storm passing by and coconut trees stooping down until they break. I was in Northern Panay then, homes were destroyed and electricity was out for a month. Calamities and tragedies are never new to us, leaving us with no choice but to develop resilience.  

Hopefully, resilience will be among our top traits as Coronavirus wreaks havoc to our country. What is resilience? Why is it important and how can we develop it?

What is Resilience?

Resilience is the capability to rise up when you fall down. It’s the ability to bounce back from difficult situations. When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and the resilient keeps rising. 

...the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

Resilience is although you fall, you shall not be utterly cast down. For you are being held up.

What Resilience is Not

  • Resilience is not grit. Grit is pushing through adversity. Resilience is rising after a tragedy and not to fold-up under pressure. 
  • Resilience is not having a “poker face” and being in a state of denial and indifference, but being able behaviors to thrive.  
  • Resilience is not just “going through it all” but growing through and becoming even better.

Qualities of Resilience

  • Positive Outlook – we can’t change our situation but perspectives can be changed. We can’t change our past, but its meaning can be changed. “whatsoever things are true…pure…lovely…are of good report … think on these things.” Philippians 4:8
  • Emotional regulation – resilience comes with the ability to not being subject or swayed by fleeting emotions. A resilient person holds on that facts are superior and more enduring than feelings. 
  • Feelings may come and go, but truth remains forever. Of course, truth in the long-run produces better emotional state because it “rejoiceth not in iniquity.” That’s why being facts-driven, data-driven or truth-driven is crucial in times of emotional instability.

Why is it Important?

There are things that could have been better if only one more ‘umph’ has been applied. A timeless principles says:

"...do not become tired of doing good for in due season you will reap if you faint not."

Advantages of Resilience

  • Rise up to the challenges in work and personal life
  • Tolerance and better response to rejection
  • Channel your energy to things of more important
  • Prolonged times of crisis can drain our energy levels, but resilience helps you restore

How to Build Resilience?

Just like anything in life, resilience is not inherited, it is learned and honed. Just like an athlete, the right practice makes it permanent. 

Watch out our Change Internal Dialogues

Guard your self-talk. Don’t listen to your self-talk, preach to your self/talk to yourself. “Why are you cast down O My Soul.”

I see that the world is always indoctrinating us to “follow your heart” “love yourself” “you are the captain of your soul” “it’s your life, it’s now or never”

Fact is, if we listen to ourselves and take a video record of what we say, think or do now, many years down the road try to listen to what you said and for sure there will things you won’t agree anywhere. See, the dilemma is that no matter how “real” we feel now, we can’t really rely on the stability of our internal murmurs.

It’s good for the soul to listen to those that go contrary against your pre-loved beliefs:

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9

Examples of Positive Thinking

There is a silver-lining in setbacks. Positive thinking could mean renaming negative labels to life-enhancing ones.

For example, 

  • Call failures as obstacles or learning stages
  • Downfalls to setbacks
  • Horrible to challenging
  • Misery to university

Instead of saying internally, “I’m doomed, I’m a mutt”, say:

  • “This storm shall pass by”
  • “This is tough by I’ll get through it”
  • “This too shall pass”

Positive thinking leads to positive emotions. 

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Face Unfamiliar or uncomfortable situations

Resilience is about facing discomfort. Expose yourself to new spheres and fields. Learn something new. Be comfortable in discomfort.


Manage Your Energy

Breakdowns mostly happen during the times of the day that you are not feeling most energized. 

To be resilient, counter the most challenging times with your best times to deal. Facing a stressful situation at a time you’re very tired and sleepy can make things worse. 

Stay energized. Prepare your body and mind by making sure it is nourished, hyrdrated and well-rested. 

Think Local

The greatest we have as human beings is to be able to look into the mirror and change what we need to change. This is our unique gift as creatures in the image of God.

You can’t fix people but you can fix yourself. Of course, God and His Word has a supernatural way of changing impossible behaviors.

The only way you can change is through internalizing. You are responsible for your actions and reactions – not your environment, not the government, not your neighbor.

Don’t blame your teachers, your girlfriend. Don’t blame the government. Als don’t say “It’s my fault.” Instead, say “It’s my responsibility.” You are accountable. You don’t sing the song “Look what you made me do.”

Focus on what you can change. Focus on the things where you can do something. 

Excessively blaming others outside of you which you have no control can drain you and make things worse

Learn New Things

Give yourself the opportunity to try new things and fail in small ways. Through the process, you learn and it will pay off in the long run.

Science says that when we learn something new, we build new pathways in our brains, expanding our horizon.

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