Suzanne Mayer- Choose Life

What it is . . .
How it is
-- caught,
-- taught,
fostered . . .
How related to
• What does it mean to you?
The ability of a material to absorb energy when
deformed elastically and to return it when
unloaded is called resilience.
The toughness of a material is its ability to absorb
energy in the plastic range. The ability to withstand
occasional, stresses above the yield stress without
fracturing is particularly desirable in parts such as
freight-car couplings, gears, chains, and crane
Resilience is the ability of an individual or group to carry on and solve problems so that
survival of hard times is more likely. Resilience protects individuals from depression and
includes behaviours that can be taught to persons who are vulnerable to hardships
including physical illness, psychosocial isolation and aloneness, and mental illness.
• • Older adults who rated their overall health as relatively good were also more
willing to talk with health providers about depressive symptoms if it was
affecting their social activities, making them feel useless to others, or affecting
how well they could think or concentrate.
• • New research needs to occur to learn more about how to build resilience in
older adults with symptoms of depression in hopes of encouraging them to talk
about depressive symptoms with the health provider. The goal is to prevent
symptoms from progressing to a diagnosable disorder.
• • The more resilience a person demonstrates, the more likely that person is to
talk with health professionals about depressive symptoms and seek care to
relieve those symptoms. New research is also needed to learn which factors
other than resilience and depressive symptoms have an influence on how
willing older African Americans are to seek mental health care for those
Resilience: resistance factor for depressive
symptom P. R . S M I T H phd RN
Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health
Nursing, 2009, 16, 829–837
Resiliency – Nature or nurture?
• Can individuals learn to be more resilient, or are some just born
with the ability to bounce back from adversity?
• Both, according to researchers, whose work suggests that
human beings are born with an innate self-righting ability.
• This can be helped or hindered.
• Their findings are fueling a major shift in thinking about human
development: from obsessing about problems and weaknesses
to recognizing “the power of the positive”–identifying and
building individual and environmental strengths that help people
to overcome difficulties, achieve happiness, and attain life
BOTH: Protective Factors
• People bounce back in two ways:
• 1: internal resources; they draw upon their own inner
• 2: external resources: they encounter people,
organizations, and activities that provide them with
the conditions that help the emergence of their
• “These buffers” are more powerful in a person’s life
than risks or traumas or stress. They fuel the
movement towards healthy development.
Psychologists call these internal and external conditions “protective factors” and
conclude, “these buffers” are more powerful in a person’s life than risks or traumas or
stress. They fuel the movement towards healthy development.”
1. Communicate “The Resiliency Attitude.”
2. Adopt a “Strengths Perspective.”
3. Surround Each Person—as well as Families and Organizations—with all elements
of “The Resiliency Wheel.”
4. Give It Time. A resilient outcome requires patience.
from the book, Resiliency In Action: Practical Ideas for Overcoming
Risks and Building Strengths in Youth, Families, and Communities
“The Resiliency Wheel.”
• The first “protective” strategy is communicating the
attitude, “You have what it takes to get through this!” in
words and deeds
• You have what it takes.
“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it,
change your attitude. Don't complain.”
― Maya Angelou
• It seems antithetical to talk about inviting fun and laughter back into people’s
lives who have experienced horrendous trauma but it is essential. Recent
research tells us that positive emotions (joy, amusement, contentment,
serenity, for example) seem to speed recovery as ‘undoers’ of negative
emotion and associated arousal within the nervous system.
• It seems antithetical to talk about inviting fun and laughter back into people’s
lives who have experienced horrendous trauma but it is essential. Recent
research tells us that positive emotions (joy, amusement, contentment,
serenity, for example) seem to speed recovery as ‘undoers’ of negative
emotion and associated arousal within the nervous system.
• Finding positive meaning in suffering may be the most important variable in
terms of post-traumatic growth.
Ordinary and extraordinary narratives of heroism and resistance: Uncovering resilience,
competence and growth Julia Hutchinson & Juan Carlos Lema
Counselling Psychology Review, Vol. 24, Nos. 3 & 4, November 2009
Dr. Maya Angelou is a remarkable Renaissance
woman who is hailed as one of the great voices
of contemporary literature. As a poet, educator,
historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright,
civil-rights activist, producer and director, she
continues to travel the world, spreading her
legendary wisdom. Within the rhythm of her
poetry and elegance of her prose lies Angelou's
unique power to help readers of every orientation
span the lines of race. Angelou captivates
audiences through the vigor and sheer beauty of
her words and lyrics.
I was liked, and what a difference it made. I
was respected not as Mrs. Henderson's
grandchild or Bailey's sister but for just being
Marguerite Johnson. (15.56)
• “The keystone of high achievement and
happiness is exercising your strengths,” rather
than focusing on weaknesses, concludes
resiliency researcher Seligman (2001), director
of the Positive Psychology Center is located at
the University of Pennsylvania.;_ylu=X3oDMTByMG04Z2o2BHNlYwNzcgR
Resilience in re-entering missionaries: why do some do well?
Used flexibility in responding to re-entry distress
Described high expectancy with a sense of purpose or achievement
Used self-determination or reinvention of self with internal locus of control to manage re-entry
Used denial with minimisation as a method of dealing with re-entry distress
Enjoyed good mental health as described by their lack of psychosocial and/or spiritual crises
Provided with social support from two or more groups such as community (family, friends );
faith community; sending organzsation
Described positive reintegration into Australian society
Described a positive sense of connection to God Typical Variant
Mental Health, Religion & Culture
Vol. 12, No. 7, November 2009, 701–720
Protective Factors . . .
you’re going through hell
Keep on going, don’t slow down
If you’re scared, don’t show it
You might get out
Before the devil even knows you’re
Rodney Atkins
If You’re going Through Hell
The Journey
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
Protective Factors . . .
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-determined to save
the only life you could save.
Mary Oliver
1853 - March 30 - Vincent Van Gogh is born in Groot-Zundert, Netherlands
1888 - October - Completion of Vincent's Bedroom in Arles
1888 - December - Van Gogh cuts off a portion of his ear and commits himself to a mental asylum in Saint Rémy
1888 - December - Ends his friendship with Gauguin
1889 - May - Completion of Irises
1889 - June - Completion of Starry Night
1890 - February - Completion of Almost Blossom
1890 - May - Van Gogh leaves Saint Rémy and begins contacting his brother Theo
1890 - May - Leaves the asylum to begin care in Auvers-sur-Oise under Dr. Paul Gachet, who was recommended
by Camille Pissarro
1890 - July 29 - Vincent Van Gogh dies of a self-inflicted gunshot. He was buried on July 30 at Auvers-sur-Oise
What sent van Gogh to the cell-like rooms of the
asylum seeking a cure, a few more days to paint,
a freedom from pain enough to pick up a brush?
What allowed his spirit, often described as fragile and frail, to
bounce back and rebuild balance?
In a probing exploration entitled Van Gogh and God, Cliff Edwards
points to a sense of the divine that held the tormented Dutch
painter close to the fire of life no matter what difficult circumstances
surrounded him. Van Gogh’s in-depth theology was an idiomorphic
view of God, a God, who like Vincent himself, was a struggling
artist. God, like Christ, worked not in paint and clay, but in flesh
and word, making mistakes. [Loyola, 1989]
“I imagine that, like me, your thoughts are much with Jo and Theo:
how glad I was when the news came that it had ended well: it was a
good thing that Wil stayed on. I should have greatly preferred him to
call the boy after Father, of whom I have been thinking so much
these days, instead of after me; but seeing it has now been done, I
started right away to make a picture for him, to hang in their
bedroom, big branches of white almond blossom against a blue sky.”
Biblical significance
From the staff of Aaron –
put forth buds, produced blossoms, and
bore ripe almonds" (Numbers 17:8)
to the vision of Jeremiah (1:11-12)
The word of the LORD came to me saying,
"What do you see, Jeremiah?" And I said, "I see
a rod of an almond tree." Then the LORD said
to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching
over My word to perform it."…
To the Tree of Life – Revelation 22:2
On each side of the river stood the tree of life,
bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit
every month. And the leaves of the tree are for
the healing of the nations.
Almond Tree Painting by Barbara Gerodimou