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Challenging the Myths of Resiliency

April 17, 2020

You’re More Resilient Than You Give Yourself Credit For 

Dr. Christopher Lynch

By Christopher Lynch, Ph.D. Psychologist and Director of Pediatric Behavioral Medicine

During challenging times like these, people often talk about the importance of resilience. However, there are some common misconceptions about what being resilient really means. Understanding the true qualities of being resilient can help families to get through the current pandemic.

Myth #1: Resilient People Don’t Experience Negative Emotion.

Reality: Truly resilient people allow themselves to experience the full emotions both positive and negative. However, they use emotions as signals or guide posts to what they need to do to cope. 

Tips for Families: Acknowledge your fear and anxiety but don’t just dwell there. Take in the news via all media sources judiciously so that you are informed but don’t wallow in frightening coverage. Instead, use the information to make daily decisions about safety. Also, be aware of how much media your children are exposed to and limit media consumption for younger children. Help your children of all ages to express any concerns they may have regarding something they may have heard.

Truly resilient people embrace their social connections.

Myth#2 Resilient people “go it alone” and handle problems by themselves. 

Reality: Truly resilient people embrace their social connections and don’t hesitate to go to others to help solve problems.

Tips for Families: Keep relying on your social supports in any way that you can. People are being creative in using video-based platforms to keep connected. Encourage your children to do the same (in line with their age and development).

Myth #3: Resiliency is a trait-you either have it or you don’t.

Reality: Resiliency is a set of attitudes and behaviors that you can work on at any stage of your life.

Tips for Families: Find ways to remain optimistic about the current circumstances. Do what you can to keep home and family life as fun and new as possible. Come up with themes for each night such as movie night, game board night or charades. Develop new recipes together with your children. Take the time to learn a new skill. Be creative. Your children will see that you are making the best out of a difficult situation and that, in turn, will help them to be resilient.