Like trees that bend in the wind, resilient people gain strength from adversity because they know how to do these five things:
(1) Stay connected. Solomon said, ‘Two are better than one… If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.’ (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 NIV) When Barbara Smith’s son was killed, she started a bereavement group to unite others. ‘We’ve saved each other,’ she says.
(2) Monitor their self-talk. Watch how you ‘spin’ your situation. Catch yourself speaking negatively and reframe it in light of Scripture. God’s Word says, ‘What you say can mean life or death.’ (Proverbs 18:21 NCV) Instead of sitting around wallowing in fear and anger, and whining about how you got here, focus on what you can control—your words!
(3) Look for life’s lighter moments. Solomon said, ‘A happy heart is like good medicine but a broken spirit drains your strength.’ (Proverbs 17:22 NCV) When Donna Goldman was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she continued to teach. ‘I let the kids play with my walking canes—as long as they don’t use them for weapons!’ she quips. And her car licence plate says, ‘Get Back Up’.
(4) Give back. God ‘comforts us… so that we can share that same comfort with others.’ (2 Corinthians 1:4 CEV) Renee Weinhouse, who survived stage IV lymphoma and runs a support group, says, ‘Nothing makes me happier than giving a patient hope.’
(5) Take care of themselves. A healthy diet and regular exercise help repair brain areas susceptible to stress. When Deborah Robinson’s husband developed Alzheimer’s disease, she realised, ‘If I was going to be good for him, I had to be good to myself.’