Resilience in a challenging world

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Paris recently experienced the support of the worldwide community during an historically heartbreaking and difficult week. France was shaken to its roots by the horrific multiple massacres this January, attacking its sense of liberty. Yet just a few days later the people of France, from all walks of life, stood tall and united showing an outstanding degree of resilience in the face of such disturbing and terrifying events.

It is often thought that those who seemingly get on with life in times of turmoil do not feel the depths of darkness as others do, or that they are not in touch with reality, or that they deny the existence of evil or negative deeds in the world.

Yet, there is no escaping difficult times, they are a part of life, just as the good times are. What is it about people who seemingly manage to continue and, in time, experience the good life after such horrific events? It has a name; ‘Resilience’!

‘Resilience’, also known as ‘Grit’, is comprised of a combination of psychological factors (thoughts, behaviours and actions) working in unison to provide courage, strength, motivation and the ability to stand tall and continue during difficult times.How to grow resilience?

  • Make and maintain close, trusting relationships with family, friends and community groups. Such relationships provide support, safety and stability.
  • Maintain a positive attitude about yourself, the world and your future.
  • Continue to make plans and action them regularly.
  • Manage strong feelings and impulses so as to not act on them hastily.
  • Take care of yourself. Engage in pleasurable activities.
  • Reflect on how you managed in previous difficult situations and recognise what you did well and what were your strengths.
  • Write, meditate, exercise…do what it is that helps you process and continue to move forward.
  • Talk to someone trusted and/or seek the help of a psychologist.

‘Resilience’ can be developed. It is a process, whereby you identify the need to be aware of and understand the strong emotions that come with experiencing a terrifying and traumatic event. Resilience is also developed by identifying what has helped you in the past and using those skills and tools now and in the future, so that you can continue to participate in daily life.

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About Wendy Smith 3 Articles
Residing in France since 2011, Wendy Smith is Australian with a passion for photography. Having exhibited in Australia, Paris and New York, she has received numerous awards, including the International Photography Awards and Better Photography Magazine Awards. During her time in France, she has also developed a passion for writing, which she expresses through her multifaceted blog and is a regular contributor to Expatriates Magazine. Wendy is a practicing psychologist, corporate well-being consultant and advocate of positive psychology. A highly trained counselling psychologist and coach she qualified as a psychologist in Australia and now practices in France. In addition to one-on-one sessions, Wendy also runs workshops for women and corporate well-being seminars and workshops. See more: