Monday, July 9, 2012

How Resilient Are You? A Short Assessment

Lifehack posted a simple self-test to assess our resilience.The topic of resilience has become very relevant in recent years as a result of the constant stress so many of us deal with in our lives. Wikipedia offers a nice description of psychological resilience - and it's important to understand that psychological resilience supports physical resilience and likewise, physical health and resilience supports psychological resilience.

Resilience in psychology refers to the idea of an individual's tendency to cope with stress and adversity. This coping may result in the individual "bouncing back" to a previous state of normal functioning, or using the experience of exposure to adversity to produce a "steeling effect" and function better than expected (much like an inoculation gives one the capacity to cope well with future exposure to disease).[1] Resilience is most commonly understood as a process, and not a trait of an individual.

[R]esilience is best understood as a process. It is often mistakenly assumed to be a trait of the individual, an idea more typically referred to as "resiliency".[12] Most research now shows that resilience is the result of individuals being able to interact with their environments and the processes that either promote well-being or protect them against the overwhelming influence of risk factors.[13] These processes can be individual coping strategies, or may be helped along by good families, schools, communities, and social policies that make resilience more likely to occur.[14] In this sense "resilience" occurs when there are cumulative "protective factors". These factors are likely to play a more and more important role the greater the individual’s exposure to cumulative "risk factors". The phrase "risk and resilience"' in this area of study is quite common.

Commonly used terms, which are closely related within psychology, are "psychological resilience", "emotional resilience", "hardiness", "resourcefulness", and "mental toughness". The earlier focus on individual capacity which Anthony[15] described as the "invulnerable child" has evolved into a more multilevel ecological perspective that builds on theory developed by Uri Bronfenbrenner (1979), and more recently discussed in the work of Michael Ungar (2004, 2008), Ann Masten (2001), and Michael Rutter (1987, 2008). The focus in research has shifted from "protective factors" toward protective "processes"; trying to understand how different factors are involved in both promoting well-being and protecting against risk.
With that background, here is the quiz.

How Resilient Are You? Take the Test!

July 8 by
When faced with a crisis, some of us bounce back just like a fully inflated ball while others of us hit the ground with a thud and stay there, totally deflated.

How good are you at bouncing back? Just how resilient are you?

Take this test* to get your answer!

To get a good idea of how resilient you are, be as honest as possible when taking the test!

For each item, fill in the blank at the end of the item using the following scale:

1 = Absolutely disagree
2 = Disagree
3 = Neutral
4 = Agree
5 = Absolutely agree

1. When confronted with a crisis, I usually start working on a solution right away rather than first just hoping it will go away. _____
2. I don’t worry too much about the future. _____
3. I am not embarrassed to tell my friends and family when something bad has happened to me. _____
4. Every time a crisis occurs, I can easily remember that I’ve made it through bad things before. _____
5. When something bad happens in my life, I don’t spend a lot of time wishing I had done something differently or thinking constantly about the bad thing. ____
6. I often think about what I’ve learned from a crisis after it’s passed. _____
7. When I get stuck in traffic and am going to be late for an appointment, I am very calm rather than frustrated and stressed. _____
8. I write a gratitude list at least once a week about the things I’m grateful for. _____
9. When something bad happens, I prefer to be around others rather than withdrawing and being by myself. _____
10. I’m not very hard on myself most of the time. _____
11.  I think it’s okay to occasionally smile and laugh when something really bad has happened. _____
12. I have a go-to person – like a mentor – when a crisis occurs in my life. _____
13. I don’t tend to get stuck in the past. _____
14. It’s easy for me to believe that a crisis or catastrophe in my life can be a good thing. _____
15. When a crisis happens, I come up with a lot of different solutions rather than just freezing. _____

Now total up your score!


60-75     You’re a superball! You have very good resiliency skills and habits and you can bounce back from just about anything.
45-59     You are bouncing right along  . . . most of the time. You have good resiliency skills, although sometimes it’s hard to engage them right away when faced with a crisis.
30-44     Meh. Your ball has gone a little flat. You need to pump more air into that ball. Crises tend to throw you a bit. Add some flexibility to your life and be open to handling problems differently in the future.
15-29     Uh-oh. Your ball is completely flat. Looks like you need to really work on your resiliency skills. Check out the section below for more ideas. And don’t worry: learning to bounce back in life is like learning anything else – you just need to practice. Be open to responding to setbacks in a different way than you have in the past.

Detailed breakout:

Here are the components of resiliency that made up your scores. If you were low in one particular area, try to increase that particular skill.

Acceptance: the art of non-resistance
Items 1, 5, 7, 11

If you scored yourself a 1, 2, or even a 3 on these items, realize that denial is a common response to adversity and is actually a protective mechanism. Just don’t stay in it too long or you won’t bounce back at all! Teach yourself to see the reality of your situation and act on that.

Also consider how much energy you are expending when you fight or resist your problem. You can give in without giving up. The difference is that giving in allows you to keep trying to solve the problem without using up precious energy resisting the fact that the problem is here. It’s here in front of you. Don’t resist it – accept its presence and work on it!

Remember that it’s okay to experience positive emotions and laugh even when in the midst of a crisis. This kind of emotional experience will help release oxytocin and endorphins that you need to help you through the storm.

Perspective: see things clearly and from different angles
Items 4, 15

The key to this component is to remember that you have had difficult times before and made it through. Remember your past experience!

Also, keep in mind that there are many angles to a problem and therefore many solutions. Break out of your old mold and try something new! A great way to prep yourself for future difficulties is to develop your creativity. Try Roger von Oech’s A Whack on the Side of the Head for some fun, mind-expanding activities and ideas.

Social Support: ya gotta have friends
Items 3, 9, and 12

There is a lot of research showing that social support is a main component of resiliency. Even if you’re an introvert, having just one person you trust to talk with about your situation can be extremely helpful.

It’s also really good to have a more experienced, wiser person or mentor you can turn to when trouble hits. This can be a parent, friend, or anyone you look up to and respect.

Positive Actions: creating positive emotions during times of crisis
Items 2, 8, 10, 13

As mentioned above, it’s important to experience positive emotions in your life, even in times of crisis. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson’s work shows that positive emotions not only help you feel good, but they expand your ability to problem-solve well.

Rather than worrying about the past or future, try to stay in the present as much as possible. Listen to some mindfulness meditations to help you remain centered in the current moment.

Be kind to yourself! Even if you got yourself into a mess, remember that everyone else has at some time in their lives, too. Treat yourself as you would your best friend who is having problems.

Finding the gifts/Learning the lessons
Items 6, 14

Adversity frequently brings opportunities for self-growth and new experiences. Even though you would rather not have problems, remember the old saying: The sand that irritates the oyster often becomes a pearl.

Well? How resilient are you? Let’s hear about it in the comments below!

*This is a non-scientific test used for informational purposes only.

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