resilience woman jumping puddle

We are drawing on the work of Salvatore Maddi, Suzanne Kobasa and colleagues. They have observed people going through challenging times, even humanitarian disasters. Some of those people emerged, not only healthy and motivated, but stronger than they were before.

The Three Cs of Resilience provide a strategy.


Control should be your priority.

Take control of what you can control. Resilient families and teams develop a plan. Yours might only be a plan for the day, but make it and put it into action.

Include something that gets your plan underway. I like a list of action points with tick boxes.

Develop a medium-term recovery plan. Be specific, even if you have to update the target dates later.


Resilient people stay committed to the plan. They may change it as new information comes in, but they are always working on their plan.

They're committed to their relationships too. They happily call on others for support and offer help to those who need it. Staying committed to your relationships is vital. Give friends and family, even people you've never met, a gift - the opportunity to help.


It's easy to say, but the hardest to do. See recovery as a challenge. See yourself as a survivor, not a victim, because you are. Work on that idea. Develop a swan act - serene on the surface, even if you are paddling madly underneath. Insincere? In an emergency who cares? We can do more for ourselves by faking it till we make it than venting our tensions.

Do you see coping with Covid 19 as a challange or an ovewhelming threat? In New Zealand you could look back with pride if you saw level 4 as a challenge. If you were overwhelmed throughout the lockdown, focusing on seeing life's setbacks as a challenge should help for any future big ones.

In Christchurch New Zealand, we're still rebuilding after an earthquake that killed 185 people in 2011. We had many major aftershocks. One woman I know is an especially positive person, but was very stressed by even little tremors. She told me me, "I know what to do, but my body won't listen'. It illustrates an essential point: resilient people don't feel instantly confident or relaxed after a traumatic event. It's not a reason to abandon the plan, go it alone or switch off trying to see recovery as a challenge.

Rumination is not helpful

Rumination - going over and over events and your fears - will prolong your feelings of stress. It can be hard to break the cycle, but essential. Immerse yourself in your plan and your relationships.

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