As Water Rises, So Should Resilience: Become More Resilient With These Techniques

By Sasha Khan

This week in Houston, the nation’s fourth largest city is going through what is considered to be the most devastating natural disaster to hit this country.

As streets remain flooded, concealing homes in its murky waters, inundating schools and destroying businesses, lives are being uprooted and many are panic-stricken. 

Even from afar, it’s hard not to be affected emotionally by the devastation as well as the ordinary citizens who are committing extraordinary acts of bravery and strength to salvage what’s left.

According to preliminary estimates, Hurricane Harvey may inflict up to $30 billion in damages on homeowners, and the financial burden is only the beginning. The emotional impact of the stress and trauma will linger on.

As fear, sadness and anger creep up, the one thing that allows us to keep going strong and bounce back is resilience. The power of emotional well-being and resilience—the ability to adapt well and recover quickly from mental stress— is that it can turn any person managing trauma or stress into problem solvers and individuals who can thrive under any circumstance. During times of severe distress, resilience can be your lifesaver, and we’re seeing it firsthand with the people of Houston and the Houston Strong motto. Whether you are impacted directly or indirectly by Hurricane Harvey, resilience is the key to helping America bounce back.

Resilience is an important aspect of an individual’s mindset, but it’s often overlooked and sometimes even ignored. Individuals who are more resilient are more likely to stay calm, clear-headed and positive when sudden challenges occur. And, those who are less resilient are more prone to dwelling on problems, feeling overwhelmed and may rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms. It’s important to understand that resilience is a state and not a trait. Having good coping mechanisms and realistic optimism are skill sets that can be learned and strengthened through training and practice.

The power of resilience is that when practiced collectively, it allows communities to band together, stand together and work together to keep moving forward.

How to become more resilient in times of trauma

Our partner meQuilibrium interviewed Dr. James Gordon on how individuals experiencing trauma can become resilient. Dr. Gordon is the founder and director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine (CMBM) and author of  “Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression”. Dr. Gordon has spent the last twenty years working with traumatized individuals in war-torn countries and regions severally impacted by natural disasters. Here are his top takeaways and techniques:

Pay attention to yourself. It’s important to focus some attention on your body and your own mind. A technique that can help quiet the nervous system is soft belly breathing. Practice taking deep breaths while relaxing your abdominal muscle.

Do the best you can. Understand that change is always happening, so do what you can while practicing self-care and awareness.

Practice meditation and mindfulness regularly. Find a meditative state that works for you. If the traditional method of sitting quietly to meditate is not your cup of tea, try dancing, running or another physical activity. The point is that it should be what makes you comfortable and relieve stress.

To keep learning more about the power of resilience and techniques, listen to this week’s podcast episode, called Daily Habits to Help You Bounce Back by Success Insider. Click the play button below.



We are stronger together

Welltok employees are supporting the Houston Methodist Relief Fund to help the local hospital staff. These doctors, nurses, administrators and other staff members are on the frontlines and are focusing on caring for others, while suffering their own personal losses.

Please join us in supporting Houston Methodist Hospital by donating to support hospital staff, who are Houston’s everyday heroes that have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey. All donations can be made to the Houston Methodist Hospital Foundation.