Resilience is not a DIY endeavour
06-02-2019, 11:33 AM, (This post was last modified: 06-02-2019, 11:34 AM by Relax. Edit Reason: spelling )
#1
Resilience is not a DIY endeavour
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-put-down-the-self-help-books-resilience-is-not-a-diy-endeavour/?fbclid=IwAR05NhhcE687hB1QShYS14hZYSYnyTgl83MVrx8nT7pzIxpKmqldmqwOumM

posting this just as a general 'idea' post... read it today and think it holds a lot of truth. A lot of Indigenous friends have explained to me that they think as a community - not as individuals... but that modern western communities are very solo-individual needs focussed... whereas if you interact as a group there's more support, sharing of resources, benefits, burdens, etc...

it's quite a lengthy article - but I've selected 2 sections that I think are thought provoking



Quote:We have been giving people the wrong message. Resilience is not a DIY endeavour. Self-help fails because the stresses that put our lives in jeopardy in the first place remain in the world around us even after we’ve taken the “cures.” The fact is that people who can find the resources they require for success in their environments are far more likely to succeed than individuals with positive thoughts and the latest power poses.

What kind of resources? The kind that get you through the inevitable crises that life throws our way. A bank of sick days. Some savings or an extended family who can take you in. Neighbours or a congregation willing to bring over a casserole, shovel your driveway or help care for your children while you are doing whatever you need to do to get through the moment. Communities with police, social workers, home-care workers, fire departments, ambulances and food banks. Employment insurance, pension plans or financial advisers to help you through a layoff.

Striving for personal transformation will not make us better when our families, workplaces, communities, health-care providers and governments fail to provide us with sufficient care and support. The science shows that all the internal resources we can muster are seldom of much use without a nurturing environment. Furthermore, if those resources are not immediately at hand, we are better off trying to change our world to gain those resources than we are trying to change ourselves.

For more than 20 years, I have been a family therapist working with hard-to-reach young people while also holding a research chair that has let me to study resilience around the world. The Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, which I lead, investigates why some people “beat the odds” and do far better than expected. Unlike many other research centres, our team is focused not on personal traits but on social and physical ecologies – the natural environments in which we live – and how these create well-resourced individuals who make success look easy.

Our research shows that even the worst problems are not beyond the control of individuals if we think about changing environments more than changing ourselves.

[.... more of article....]

Quote:We had proved that resourced individuals do far better than individuals without resources, no matter how rugged the latter might be. We also discovered that the reason many young people who need help do not take advantage of what is offered is because service providers seldom tailor their programs to the clients’ needs. For example, we heard stories of school guidance counsellors who insisted that parents take time off from minimum-wage jobs to attend case conferences because guidance counsellors and psychometricians do not work evenings. It should come as no surprise that the most vulnerable families did not show up because they could not afford the lost time at work. It was their children, doubly disadvantaged by learning difficulties and poverty, who wound up untreated and who eventually dropped out of school.

There were many more findings of that nature. We learned that if kids were not responding to treatment, it was not the kids’ fault but a failure of the services to meet their needs. Shape the right environment for a troubled child, and the child changes for the better. Put in front of a child the necessary help, and he or she will take advantage of it. This is true even with children who are not initially motivated to make something of their lives.

A positive attitude, encouraged by those around us, helps us heal and cope with the continuing stress of adjustment. But it has also been found that the single biggest predictor of adjustment after a crisis has nothing to do with prayer, relationships or a positive attitude. Sometimes recovery depends on much more mundane things – such as how quickly insurance adjusters settle claims after a natural disaster.

Colleagues of mine who work as social workers discovered that after major flooding destroyed towns at the base of the Rocky Mountains, people who had their claims settled within a year recovered quicker and showed far less stress than those who had to live in hotels and cope with being away from their community for longer periods of time. As a resilience-promoting factor, a quick claims settlement means people can start rebuilding their homes. It gives them purpose and focus. It rejoins them with their communities and gives their children the chance to return to their schools. It also decreases the daily stress of living and the worry associated with an uncertain financial future.

The banks and insurance companies must have taken note. When wildfires destroyed Fort McMurray, Alta., in the summer of 2016, residents were scattered across nearby towns and cities and packed into community centres. Financial institutions loaded their staff onto large buses, the kind that touring rock bands use, and on each bus were bank machines, loans officers and insurance adjusters. The bankers travelled to the shelters, sleeping on the buses so they would not burden the scarce local resources. By travelling to people who had been forcibly displaced, the bankers were able to give their customers access to cash and an opportunity to start the paperwork required to submit a claim for compensation. The effort must have expedited payouts, because people were back in Fort McMurray and rebuilding within months. Not everyone was fortunate enough to have his insurance paid out quickly, but for those who had a friendly banker and an insurance adjuster make a visit, emotional outcomes were likely better than expected.

In a major disaster, the first responders should be the fire department and paramedics. Second should be insurance adjusters and bankers. A distant third should be psychologists, and only if financial claims cannot be settled quickly. Mental-health professionals, such as me, are sometimes needed – just not as much as we think.

None of this is entirely new. We have known for at least half a century that certain things about our communities make them likely to prevent mental illness. Socially integrated communities are better for us: They have fewer single-parent households, stronger relationships between neighbours, good leaders, recreational facilities and spaces, less hostility, fewer disasters, lower levels of poverty and a shared culture. Healthy communities do not depend on the internal messages people tell themselves, or even on the number of psychotherapists and yoga teachers. These communities are largely a consequence of good governance and progressive taxation, housing and social-welfare policies.

We know that those closest to us within our environments – our families, friends, and colleagues at work – have an enormous effect on our collective capacity to thrive. Improve the functioning of the family, peer group or work team, and individuals are more likely to show resilience, even if their larger world is seeming to become more volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

That is just as true in the workplace, where no amount of personal development is going to help you succeed if your employer offers no support. As long as mountains of memos and paperwork accumulate, unrealistic deadlines are imposed, projects are understaffed, jobs are insecure, facilities are poorly maintained and administrators are incompetent, workers will burn out and fail, whatever their individual beliefs or behaviours. Every serious look at workplace stress has found that when we try to influence workers’ problems in isolation, little change happens.

In all aspects of life, social justice is important to resilience, too. Decades of research have shown that people who are treated justly do better physically and mentally than those who are not, and we also know that people who are in better health tend to be more productive and happier.

A positive attitude may be required to take advantage of opportunities as you find them, but no amount of positive thinking on its own is going to help you survive a natural disaster, a bad workplace or childhood abuse. Change your world first by finding the relationships that nurture you, the opportunities to use your talents and the places where you experience community and governmental support and social justice. Once you have these, your world will help you succeed more than you could ever help yourself.

what I take from this is that yes - we need to get off our butts and be proactive - we also need supportive environments/resources/other humans to ensure that we have the best chance of succeeding in our efforts...to reach out their hands and help heave us up and onto our feet.

This explains my idea of 'social support systems'... which some people call 'socialism' (I guess?)

We need more generosity/philanthropy, as well as accountability for our responsibilities to ourselves, and our communities; and communities responsibilities to it's members.

It would be a way to go from a 'dog eat dog' world to win/win  Idea  Heart
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