When coping with a health challenge such as COPD, resilience can be a powerful weapon against the worsening of symptoms and the development of depression and other stress-related disorders.
Each of us is, by nature, endowed with a certain degree of resilience to help cope with disease and difficult challenges.
What can we do to build up our resilience?
We can develop and nurture strong supportive relationships, which go a long way toward extending our general resilience to any challenges or misfortunes that come our way. We can work to develop our planning, communication, problem-solving, and self-control skills. We can work on fostering a healthy self-image.
Resilience-Building Action Steps
Exercise works not only to improve our physical condition, but our sense of well being and our positive self-image.
Regularly reaching out to family and friends for conversation and camaraderie unrelated to the illness we’re dealing with helps keep our relationships strong and naturally nurturing.
Setting attainable goals and working to achieve them gives us a sense of accomplishment and control over our lives.
Maintaining our regular habits of self-care keeps us looking and feeling our best.
Sometimes you can strengthen your resilience by reinforcing your belief in yourself. Look back to times when you’ve had to deal with difficult challenges and you’ve overcome them. Remind yourself that challenges are part of life and if you mastered your difficulties once, you can do so again.
Finally, look outside yourself as well as within. Seek support from family and friends when needed, and develop new sources of support such as self-help groups, support groups, and even informational resources such as the articles published here on the PERF blog. In times of extra or long-term stress, counseling from a licensed mental health professional also might be very helpful to you.
You Have The Power To Build Resilience
The bottom line is that you’re not just born with resilience, you can learn to build the strength of your “resilience muscle” by the actions that you take. Think about what new actions you might take to increase your own resilience as you cope with COPD.