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Build your bounce: Take the Devereux Center for Resilient Children’s five-week Resiliency Challenge

Everyone deals with stressful situations at some point in their lives. Being able to adapt to those situations requires resilience.

The Devereux Center for Resilient Children (DCRC) offers a five-week Resiliency Challenge to help adults learn how to “bounce back” from misfortune or change.

“Individuals who are resilient have protective factors – characteristics, people and supports that help them navigate life’s challenges,” said DCRC Director Susan Damico. “Protective factors are like our umbrellas in a rainstorm, and can be strengthened throughout our lives. Four key protective factors adults should nurture, include: 1) relationships, 2) internal beliefs, 3) initiative and 4) self-control.”

DCRC’s Resiliency Challenge focuses on these four key protective factors. To promote your own resilience, Damico encourages adults to complete the Devereux Adult Resilience Survey (DARS), and then participate in the five weeks of challenges detailed below.

Week 1: Relationships challenge

Build upon your relationships by offering support to others. Damico notes, “Helping other people can open your mind, and result in greater happiness and optimism, as well as an increased sense of self-worth.”

  • Challenge: Choose a “family member of the week,” and ask everyone else in the family to do something special for that person every day. Make their favorite dessert, leave them a nice note or give them extra hugs. If you enjoy this activity, keep going! Start a rotation, and have a different “family member of the week” every week.

Week 2: Internal beliefs challenge

Enhance your internal beliefs by being more hopeful. Damico shares, “When you have hope, you tend to look at life more optimistically, and can ‘bounce back‘ when something negative happens.”

  • Challenge: Gratitude helps us notice all of the good things that happen each day. When we feel gratitude, we are filled with joy and hope. Write down a few things or people for which you are grateful. Reflect on how you feel inside when you look at your list.

Week 3: Initiative challenge

Laugh more! After all, laughter contributes to your level of initiative. Damico explains, “Laughter is a wonderful gift – it releases chemicals in your brain that can reduce stress and increase your emotional well-being.”

  • Challenge: Ask a few co-workers, friends or family members to join you in this strategy. Exchange a joke or a funny story or image each day that will make everyone smile or laugh. Once a week, ask someone to post their joke, image or story in a common area, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

Week 4: Self-control challenge

Want to improve your self-control? Work on expressing your emotions in a healthy way. Damico says, “For many of us, it is not always easy to talk about our feelings and emotions. However, emotions are what guide us, and connect us to others.”

  • Challenge: One effective way to express your emotions is by listening to – and singing along with – music. Find songs that speak to how you feel, and sing your heart out. You can even create a playlist on your phone, and title the playlist so it corresponds to the emotion you are feeling. That way, if you ever feel that way again, you can go right to your playlist.

Week 5: The Final Challenge

Nurturing your resilience is an ongoing process. Damico notes, “Life brings both joy and uncertainty. When we are resilient, we begin to embrace it all, and live life to the fullest.”

  • Challenge: Share this challenge with at least five people in your life. If you want to take it one step further, check in with the people you share it with, and reflect on how this challenge has impacted each of you.

“Remember, your resilience-building journey is never over,” said Damico. “Feel free to take this challenge again, and keep ‘building your bounce.’”

Learn more about Devereux Center for Resilient Children, and learn more about Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health.


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