Can resilience and middle age really go together like peanut butter and jelly?! Yes it’s true… scientists have proven that older people actually have several distinct advantages when it comes to building resilience! Given that aging brings about a lot of changes in our lifestyles (from working to retired), to finances (from a rising income to a fixed one) to our living situations (downsizing, creating a lifelong home or entering assisted living) – I can think of no better skill than resilience to truly improve the quality of our lives as we age.
While a growing number of studies have focused on building resiliency in children, an increasing amount of research is being conducted on the benefits, possibilities and outcomes for ramping up this skill in older adults. Dr. Grant, a management and psychology professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, states that those middle aged and beyond have 3 qualities that contribute to resilience, qualities the younger generations don’t have:
#1: Strong ability to regulate emotions.
#2: Perspective gained from life experiences.
#3: Concern for future generations.
These distinct traits of older adults, coupled with some simple learnable behaviors, make resilience a truly attainable and worthwhile goal. Scientists are now urging us to consider resilience an ‘emotional muscle’ that can be strengthened. Building a fortitude of emotional recovery can help us all deal better with moving, grief, health changes, loss and changing purpose.
If you are ready to rock your resilience but don’t know where to start…try these at home:
| Practice Optimism. It’s part genetic and part learned, so no one’s asking you to be Pollyanna, but proactively looking for the good while acknowledging the bad is a great way to build resilience!
| Give support. Did you know that you actually GAIN resilience by being part of the support system of your family and friends when they endure a crisis?! Giving really IS a good thing… for you and those around you!
| Step outside the box. Don’t wait until the unexpected happens; practice putting yourself outside your comfort zone by trying new things and overcoming old fears. You’ll be better equipped as your stress hormones become less responsive to stress by practicing adversity.
This article was inspired by “How to Build Resilience in Midlife” published in The New York Times last month. To learn more and find additional ways to build resiliency, please read the article in entirety HERE.
If I can help you bounce back from any changes thrown your way… please don’t hesitate to reach out!
All my best,
Bobbi Decker & Associates fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. For more information, please visit: http://portal.hud.gov/