Friday, October 9, 2009

Resilient & Religious

In a recent, very interesting article in AARP titled, The Secrets of Resilient People by Beth Howard, resilient people are compared to trees in the wind, "They bend in the wind, they bounce back" (according to Steven Southwick, M.D.). Resilience is defined as the "ability to rebound quickly from a crisis or trauma." Resiliency has been studied a lot because of current disasters and the economic downturn. "Scientists agree that resilience varies from person to person and has a genetic component-recent studies show that certain genes may protect you against the emotional back draft of trauma. 'Some people are naturally more resilient,' "says Robert Brooks, Ph.D. and clinical professor at Harvard.  Interestingly, resilience can be learned. Resilient people share certain common qualities and when a crisis hits, you can depend on these qualities or behaviors.
Before I read further into the article, I knew from experience and my studies that one quality or belief that can be cultivated and nurtured to help people become more resilient would be faith and belief in God. I knew it and so I wasn't surprised when it was mentioned in the article. 
As stated, "Generally people who are active in a religious faith tend to get through difficult times better," says Al Siebert, Ph.D. and author of The Resiliency Advantage. "A Duke University study concluded that people with serious medical conditions who had strong religious convictions and participated in religious activities were less likely to be waylaid by depression. When these patients did become depressed, the depression lifted sooner than it did for less religious people."
More proof that faith, belief in God, prayer and belonging to a faith community is good for your overall health and necessary "medicine" for your mind, body and soul. 
Another good point, "Resilient people convert misfortune into good luck and gain strength from adversity.......They see negative events as an opportunity to better themselves or become better people.
My deep faith and prayer life has enabled me to overcome many obstacles and experiences of loss in my life. I can't imagine how anyone without faith and belief is able to deal with life's challenges and difficulties. I'm very grateful that I was raised with faith and that I nurtured it throughout my life.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only plan but also believe.      Anatole France