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Resilience: Adapting to adversity

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  • Civilian Health Promotions Services

We all face trauma, adversity and setbacks. The death of a loved one, loss of a job, serious illness, and the COVID-19 pandemic are all examples of very challenging life experiences.

Many people react to such circumstances with feelings of strong emotions and a sense of uncertainty. When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart? Being resilient allows individuals to withstand adversity and adapt to difficult situations.

Resilience is important because it gives people the strength needed to process and overcome hardship. Individuals lacking resilience can easily get overwhelmed, and may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as alcohol and substance abuse.

Resilience won’t make your problems go away, but being resilient can give you the ability to see past your struggles, find enjoyment in life and better handle stress.  Here are some tips to improve your resilience:

  • Make connections. Good relationships with close family members and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times.
  • Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events.
  • Accept that change is a part of living. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter.
  • Take decisive actions. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems, and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

If you or a family member are struggling to overcome a traumatic event or setback, professional counseling services are available for the Air Force workforce and their families.

For more information, call the 96th Test Wing Resiliency Program at (850) 306-0904 or Civilian Health Promotion Services at 883-8024.  Civilian employees and their family members can contact the Employee Assistance Program for information on free, confidential counseling services at 882-1551, (866) 580-9078 or visit the EAP website. Military members and their families can call Military One Source at (800) 342-9647 or visit the website.