Maryland Bar Bulletin
Publications : Bar Bulletin : December 2012

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Resiliency is the ability to bounce back and recover from a change or hardship quickly without being overwhelmed or acting in harmful ways. Resilient people take charge of their lives and move forward quickly after a hardship. When a very resilient person experiences a traumatic life event, he or she recovers stronger, better and wiser.

Will You See Yourself as a Victim, or Will You Be Resilient?

It is not the situation, but rather how you react to the situation that will determine whether or not you feel like a victim. Research has shown that the least resilient people are those who believe their lives are full of stress, and blame the way they feel on that stress. They choose not to take an active role in their lives and rather allow situations to take control of them and how they feel. Resilient individuals are resistant to stress. They are able to learn from difficult situations, adapt quickly to changing circumstances, and, therefore, emerge from situations with more positive outcomes. They take a challenging life experience, learn from it and see it as an opportunity to improve their life.

Developing Resiliency Skills

We are all born with the potential for resiliency, but it is something that must be learned. When learning to be resilient it is important to focus on:

  • Maintaining a healthy and stable emotional and physical wellbeing. A strong wellbeing helps to keep your energy level up.
  • Focus on what you can change and on your problem solving skills. Research shows that if you focus on what you can change rather than on how you feel, it will lead to better resiliency. 
  • Maintain strong self-confidence (not arrogance), inner strength, and self esteem.
  • The ability to turn a bad situation into a good situation. Try to see how the difficult situation can improve your life.

Al Silbert, Ph.D., author of Resiliency, offers these other helpful hints when faced with an adverse situation:

“Your mind and habits will create either barriers or bridges to a better future.”

“Resiliency can't be taught, but it can be learned. It comes from working to develop your unique combination of inborn abilities.”

“The struggle to bounce back and recover from setbacks can lead to developing strengths and abilities that you didn't know were possible.”

LAP offers free, confidential counseling. Jim Quinn, LAP Director, can be reached at (443) 703-3041 or jquinn@msba.org. Lisa Caplan, Program Counselor, can be reached at (443) 703-3042 or lcaplan@msba.org.

Lisa Caplan, LCSW-C, CAC, is Program Counselor for the MSBA Lawyer Assistance Program.

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Publications : Bar Bulletin : December 2012

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