Resilience is the ability to adapt well, or “bounce back” in the presence of difficult life events.
Whether your ACE score is 1 or 17, there are personal strategies and community resources that exist to support you. Having strong, stable relationships and using your support are ways to build your resilience. These can assist in breaking the cycle of ACEs in your family. Reaching out to a trusted member of your community, such as a trusted neighbor or friend, a teacher, a leader in your community, or a church or spiritual leader is another way to get support. Supporting and strengthening communities can build everyone’s resilience and can lessen the impact of ACEs on you and your family.
Some Supportive Factors
Social Connections: Having friends or family who can be there for you during a tough time or to support you can be a huge factor for resilience. Communities can support each other whenever there is something going on. The single most important factor in developing resilience in children is to have a stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. People who have strong connections with family and friends and close social supports are better able to get help during difficult times.
Resilience: Learn to handle stress and take care of yourself, so you can take care of others. Resilience can be built by having relationships with others to support you or through learning skills on how to keep the nervous system regulated and within a resilient zone. Resources for Resilience offers trainings on many of these skills and this website has videos and information on skills, too.
Knowledge of Parenting & Child Development:
Providing a safe and nurturing environment for a child physically, mentally, and emotionally can allow them to grow up stronger and more resilient to trauma.
Concrete Support in Times of Need: Having basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter met through whatever resources or support you can access provides a strong environment for resilience to grow. (2-1-1 is a local resource that can help your with access to the basics).
Social and Emotional Competence: Identify and understand your feelings, sensations, and emotions in order to express and process them in a healthy way without turning to harmful coping mechanisms.
Using these suggestions, both early in a child’s life and as an adult, can lessen the impact of ACEs on you and your family.
Skills and Information You Can Learn Right Now
The Hand Brain Model:
This video shows a simplified model of what goes on inside the brain when our emotions take over. Knowing how our brains respond to stress can help us better manage stressful situations. Stopping the stress response from the bottom up by focusing the nervous system away from negative sensations helps keep our brains online.
The Resilient Zone is a state of being where we feel like we are capable of dealing with whatever life throws our way. When we are in our resilient zone, we can think clearly and, if challenged, we can think through our options and make a decision based on rational thought process. We are not reactive nor impulsive. When we are stressed or have unresolved trauma from ACEs or other events in our lives, we can end up bumped out of our zone and struggle to maintain control over our lives. We can learn skills to get back into our resilient zone and to help others do the same.
Resources For Resilience
Resources for resilience is an organization that focuses on resilience skills that everyone can learn. They offer trainings in a variety of things which can be found on their website or on the calendar on our home page. Find their website by clicking HERE.
Stress is a helpful part of life. However when we get stressed and stay stressed over time, it both feels bad physically and emotionally and we do not show up in the world as our best selves. Our brain is not functioning to it’s fullest potential and we can feel out of control of our behaviors and emotions. We need to learn to turn off the stress response when it turns on and gets stuck so that we can interact with others without being reactive and impulsive. Sensing in to other sensations is a skill they teach that can help to do this.
Resources To Help Build Resilience or Offer Support
Resilience doesn’t have to be built all on your own. In fact, it is built better and stronger with the support of a community of some of its members. HERE you can find some reliable community resources to support resilient skills.