Resilience is the human capacity to adapt to circumstances in the face of grief or adversity, whether coping with the loss of a loved one, a layoff, a disease, a divorce, or any emotionally disrupting event. It is resilience that enables us to pick ourselves up and go on with our lives despite the pain. Resilience keeps us from getting stuck, unable to overcome a potentially devastating life event.
However, some of us could use a little help to find resilience in hard times.
George Bonanno, professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, is credited for his revolutionary work studying resilience. As he tells The New York Times, “The fundamental point is that most people are extremely resilient, and we have shown this in studies of a wide variety of events—losing a spouse, a marriage, even a bodily function.” His study found that 60% of the people who lost a spouse showed no self-reported change in well-being over time. The same was true for people who experienced divorce—70% showed no change in their mental health. Even those who suffered the most serious distress eventually bounced back psychologically.