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Dear Candy Q & A : Resilience

I was listening to a podcast the other day where a very successful coach was being interviewed about how he helps his players really develop and come together as a team. Not surprising, a lot of the focus was on discovering and building upon their strengths. One of the topics that came up during the podcast was around cultivating resilience.

Resilience is one of those words that gets thrown around a lot, but it isn't always clear exactly what it means. According to Dr. Amit Sood (the executive director for the Global Centre for Resiliency and Wellbeing), resilience is your ability to withstand adversity, bounce back and grow despite life's difficulties. Resilient people have the strength and tools necessary to process and overcome hardships. While they still experience stress and upheaval at times, they have a greater tolerance for the upheaval and a greater ability to work through the difficulties.

There are many different types of resilience, including: psychological resilience, emotional resilience, physical resilience and community resilience. Psychological resilience is our ability to mentally withstand uncertainty or difficulties. It is sometimes referred to as mental fortitude or mental toughness. People with psychological resilience have good problem solving and coping skills. Emotional resilience is how we cope emotionally with difficulties. Emotionally resilient people are able to take a step back and understand what they are feeling and why. They can tap into realistic optimism and access internal and external resources for support. Physical resilience refers to our body's stamina, strength and ability to recover quickly and effectively. Healthy choices, social connection, taking time for rest and recovery, breath work, and engaging in enjoyable activities all contribute to physical resilience. Finally, community resilience refers to the ability of groups of people to respond and recovery from adversities such as natural disasters, violent events, and pandemics.

Resilience is a trait rather than a permanent state. We may have resilience with certain stressors that we face, but not with others. We may have greater resilience in one of the areas mentioned above and less in the others. The exciting news is that resilience is a skillset that we can grow. It takes time, practice, and patience, and there may be setbacks along the way, but if we keep working towards it eventually we will cultivate deeper levels of resilience within ourselves.

There are many versions of what constitutes resilience. In the podcast I listened to, Michael Gervais described the three C's of resilience.

  1. Love Challenges. Recognize that challenges can help define who we are. See them as opportunities rather than setbacks.

  2. Control the things that are under your control. Focus on how you (rather than external events) can control the outcome.

  3. Commitment. Stay the course despite the challenges. As the maritime saying goes, "hold fast and stay true."

Dr. Amit Sood describes nine qualities that make up resilience: composure, patience, optimism, gratitude, acceptance, kindness, sense of purpose, forgiveness, and connection.

If you would like to take Dr. Amit Sood's resilience questionnaire to see how you score and to learn more about these qualities, please use this link.

On a personal note, I believe that the functioning of our nervous system also plays a significant role in our capacity to be resilient. The more regulated our nervous systems are, the easier it is to develop and apply the skillsets mentioned above, and the greater our window of tolerance is for stressors in the first place. That's where breath work, meditation, along with exercises and programs that work with the vagus nerve and nervous system can also contribute to our levels of resilience.

Until next time!

If you have a question, please email me at


Candy Widdifield is Registered Clinical Counsellor, Wellness Coach, and Registered Reiki Master Teacher in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. She works with people all over the world, helping them to optimize their wellbeing and thrive in their lives. Her modalities include coaching, therapy, Reiki and the Safe & Sound Protocol. More information about Candy can be found at

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