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Learning Resiliency

» Mental Health Library » Treatment Approaches » Positive Psychology » Featured Article

By David Poles, LMHC, CRC, LADC1

David Poles, LMHC, CRC, LADC1

In my work at my private practice at Newton Counseling Center, I often teach clients the importance of becoming resilient. I believe that resiliency is a life skill that all of us need to learn. Those with addictions and those without addictions need to be able to bounce back from adversity. The following is a handout that I often use to teach the concept of resiliency.

What is resiliency?

  • The ability to cope well with high levels of ongoing disruptive change
  • Sustaining good health and energy when under constant pressure
  • Bouncing back from set backs
  • Overcoming adversity or challenges
  • Changing to a new way of working and living when an old way is no longer possible
  • Doing all of the above without acting in dysfunctional or harmful ways such as using drugs

Some suggestions for becoming more resilient and happier

  • Develop healthy relationships with other healthy people who are supportive of you and your recovery (e.g., a family member, a friend, a sponsor, a therapist, a priest, a doctor, or a coach).
  • Have faith and pray to a higher power. Develop a sense of spirituality. Engage in activities such as attending a religious service of your choosing, reading a religious book of your choosing, meditating, taking a walk in the woods or going to the ocean or listening to music.
  • Learn how to reframe. Reframing is at the heart of resilience. It is about having a healthy perspective. It is a way of shifting focus from the cup half empty to the cup half full. Reframing helps one become optimistic. For example, is it possible to view your relapse as a potential learning opportunity instead of just a failure?
  • Express gratitude, whenever possible. We too often take our lives for granted. Learn to appreciate and savor the wonderful things in life from people to food, from nature to a smile.

Remember the mind-body connection. What we do-or don’t do-with our bodies influences our mind. Regular exercise, adequate sleep and healthy eating habits lead to both physical and mental health.

About the Author...

I currently operate a psychotherapy practice called Newton Counseling Center. My specialty is working with males: teaching them how to manage addictions, how to understand and manage difficult emotions effectively and how to grow from change of life issues. My website is

Last Update: 3/14/2017

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