Resilience in Adolescence
By Mikah Solanies, MA, LPC
Resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. The stressors can come from places such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and educational stressors. Just like building materials are tested for their ability to be strong and flexible, the resilience of a person is often judged by their ability to bounce back from a difficult situation.
The importance of resilience lies in its incredible ability to impact a person’s life. Low mental resilience can lead to irritability, social isolation, unhealthy dependence on others, difficulty sleeping, overreaction to daily stressors and increased crying or feelings of sadness. Low resilience can also lead to negative thought patterns that erode away at self-esteem and hope. Helping Teens recognize what are called “Cognitive Distortions” in their thinking can prepare them to combat them and include “All or Nothing Thinking”, “Catastrophizing” and “Jumping to Conclusions”.
Cognitive Distortions are simply ways that the mind convinces us of something that isn't really true. These inaccurate thoughts are usually used to reinforce negative thinking or emotions. The Cognitive Distortions sound rational and accurate, but really only serve to keep them feeling bad about themselves.
Parents can help eliminate the Cognitive Distortions by using their names and then encouraging the Teen to identify them whenever they are heard. Parents can also assist their Teens by encouraging the objective evaluation of an emotion or thought against real life. Parents can help the teen remember times that they overcame difficult situations so that the teen can feel an increased sense of confidence for future tasks.
Low mental resilience requires coaching to redirect negative thought patterns into purpose and productivity. Once small goals are achieved, some of the negative thinking will subside. Hope in their ability to achieve the life that they design begins to appear.
Spend some time with your Teen discussing their perceptions of the following quotes about making life choices:
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears” - Nelson Mandela
“When you have a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice” - William James
JENNIFER EULBERG, MA, LPC
Welcome Jennifer, our new blogger!
Jennifer is a counselor at Sandhill who specializes in depression, self-esteem, and grief & loss. Get to know Jennifer as she shares her perspectives on life, contemplates value themes, and offers gentle encouragement.
THANK YOU to Stefanie Pisarkiewicz, LPC for her blog contributions from November 2014 - February 2019!