Have you ever wondered why some people like firefighters seem to remain calm in the face of disaster while others appear to come undone? The people that can keep their cool in threatening situations have what psychologists call resilience, or an ability to cope with problems and setbacks.
Resilient people are able to utilise their skills and strengths to cope and recover from problems and challenges time after time not just sometimes. They learn from every situation they face & are able to apply what they’ve learnt when they encounter new challenges even if they’re totally different from anything they’ve faced before.
These challenges could include job loss, financial problems, illness, natural disasters, medical emergencies, business problems, or even the stress of dealing with clients/the public. Instead of falling into despair or hiding from problems with unhealthy coping strategies, resilient people try to face life’s difficulties head-on.
This doesn’t mean that they experience less distress, grief, or anxiety than other people do. They are only human after all. It means that they can handle problems in ways that increase their mental strength and psychological growth. In many cases, they emerge even stronger than they were before.
Those who lack resilience often become overwhelmed by such experiences. They may dwell on problems and use unhealthy coping mechanisms to deal with life’s challenges. But, this doesn’t mean that they can’t learn to be resilient & grow from life’s lessons.
In their training & at fires, firefighters need to be resilient. The skills they develop & the mindset they apply helps them to deal with the physical & mental strain of what they see and face daily. But their “strength” comes from a much deeper place that just what they learn. Firefighters have a common mission to protect their communities and each other. This mission helps them to pull together under the most extreme conditions known to man.
Resilience does not eliminate stress or erase the difficulties firefighters face. They understand that setbacks happen and that sometimes life will deliver some hard and painful lessons. They still experience the emotional pain, grief, and workplace stress (PTSD) that comes after an extreme events, but their mental outlook and dedication to their mission allows them to process their feelings and recover.
Looking to family and friends for help and emotional support , increasing exercise and rest, and focusing on the parts of the situation that are under your control can help you weather almost any situation. Remember, nothing says you have to function at 100 percent all the time so taking time to work through your experiences will help you to come back more resilient than ever.
References: verywellmind.com, psychologytoday.com, Medium.com, hbr.org