Resilience Makes a Half-Empty Glass Seem Half-Full

To build resilience in your family, you need to model what they need to learn. Even those of us who tend to look on the bright side of things have a hard time when we’re feeling challenged or overwhelmed. In fact, our brains are even wired with a negative bias (perhaps as a survival instinct) that makes us pay more attention to hurdles than solutions. What we don’t realize in those moments is that we’re selling ourselves short by overlooking the strengths and tools that we’ve already developed to overcome difficulties.

Recognizing strengths in ourselves is part of building resilience. Resilience has many definitions, but the one that most resonates with me is “the shift from reactivity to a state of resourcefulness in moments of stress and crises.” The more we can bring our strengths to bear in any given situation, the more easily we can transition from reactivity to resourcefulness.

Identifying strengths and resources when feeling stressed or helpless starts by asking ourselves some questions:

  • What strategies have worked well for me when I’ve struggled in the past?
  • Who in my support network can help me with this issue if I need it?
  • What choices do I have in this situation?
  • What am I really good at and how can I apply that here?
  • What helps me to feel emotionally and physically better when I am stressed or upset?
  • Haven’t I felt this way before? Remember, I made it through!

Even if I can only come up with an answer to one of these questions initially, I’ve found that one answer leads me to others—and this process is a good reminder that we can cultivate new strengths and assets by building upon the ones we already have.

Several of T2’s apps can help you shift from reactivity to resourcefulness in times of stress:

  • The Virtual Hope Box app has features that help you to relax, get some positive inspiration and create coping strategies for managing stress or specific problems.
  • The Parenting2Go app helps you to focus on and track positive interactions with your kids, recognize feelings of stress and use exercises to relax and re-focus, and identify support systems and other resources.

Ultimately, building resilience in our families starts by building resilience in ourselves. When we utilize our strengths, find ways to solve problems and are honest about when we need help, we are modeling—and instilling—resilience in our kids. So, the next time you’re facing a challenge, work to identify and draw upon your strengths before focusing on your deficits. Hopefully, then you’ll find that your half-empty glass might actually look more like half-full.