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Finding resilience

First slide

For some people, a shift into Phase 2 means taking one step closer to how things use to be, another step back to something normal: a return to work, to stores, or restaurants, or haircuts. For some people, relaxed restrictions are a welcome relief.

But this is not true for everyone.

As the world around us starts to get back up to speed, we will need to do things we haven’t done in many months, such as return to work in an office. This can be a major source of stress and anxiety for many people, especially for people who may feel pressure to return to work but find themselves not yet ready to do so.  So, when faced with difficulties, even challenging things that used to be common and familiar, how can we find resiliency?

Ground Yourself in the Truth

Having resiliency doesn’t mean that we don’t experience hardships or difficulties. Resilient people are just as likely to face challenges as people who struggle to cope with stress. Instead, resiliency is the ability to overcome trials.

One of the tricks our brain plays on us when we’re under stress is that we always believe our worries, concerns and worst-case scenarios are likely to happen. But this isn’t always true. In fact, this can be what in psychology is known as a cognitive distortion — a mental filter that changes the way we see the world. For example, when I look out the window and it looks dark and threatening outside, is that because it’s going to storm? Or have I forgotten that I’m wearing sunglasses inside? We need to hold on to what is true and avoid assuming that a catastrophe will occur. Just because we’re afraid something will happen doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to.

Seek Support

A key feature of resiliency is being able to rely on people around you. We are more likely to feel overwhelmed when we feel alone. But we don’t need to face the trials and tribulations of our daily life alone. To strengthen our ability to cope, we can reach out to our support network to talk through our difficulties and find healthy ways to overcome challenges. And if we need to go outside of our support network, we can seek the help of professionals to guide us in learning how to cope better with the stressors we face, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Have Faith

Attitude can make a major difference in our ability to cope with stress and find resiliency. If we have a negative attitude, we’re more likely to focus on difficulties and believe that we will be unable to succeed in our efforts to rise above obstacles in our life. But if we have a positive attitude, we are less distracted and discouraged by our fears. We want to focus on what is going well in our lives. This can be challenging in times of great stress. But even in the most difficult moments, there are still things happening in our lives for which we can be grateful.             

The more stressed we feel, the more we want to control our surroundings and the people around us. We must recognize that we can’t control everything, and in our times of great stress we must rely more on God. God knows our struggles, our fears, and will lead us where he desires us to go. But we must be willing to follow him, especially in times of uncertainty. This is where we will truly find strength for perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity.

Horne is director of clinical services for diocesan Catholic Charities.

Find out more

To make a teletherapy appointment with a Catholic Charities counselor, call 703/859-3147 or 703/447-9402.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020