Why Is Resilience Important?
Resilience is what gives people the emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship. Resilient people utilize their resources, strengths, and skills to overcome challenges and work through setbacks.
People who lack resilience are more likely to feel overwhelmed or helpless, and rely on unhealthy coping strategies (such as avoidance, isolation, and self-medication). One study showed that patients who had attempted suicide had significantly lower resilience scale scores than patients who had never attempted suicide.
Resilient people do experience stress, setbacks, and difficult emotions, but they tap into their strengths and seek help from support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems. Resilience empowers them to accept and adapt to a situation and move forward.
Resilience is “the core strength you use to lift the load of life,” says Sood.
What Are the 7 Cs of Resilience?
Pediatrician Ken Ginsburg, MD, who specializes in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, developed the 7 Cs model of resilience to help kids and teens build the skills to be happier and more resilient.
The 7 Cs model is centered around two key points:
Young people live up or down to the expectations that are set for them and need adults who love them unconditionally and hold them to high expectations.
How we model resilience for young people is far more important than what we say about it.
The American Academy of Pediatrics summarizes the 7 Cs as follows:
Competence: This is the ability to know how to handle situations effectively. To build competence, individuals develop a set of skills to help them trust their judgments and make responsible choices.
Confidence: Dr. Ginsburg says that true self-confidence is rooted in competence. Individuals gain confidence by demonstrating competence in real-life situations.
Connection: Close ties to family, friends, and community provide a sense of security and belonging.
Character: Individuals need a fundamental sense of right and wrong to make responsible choices, contribute to society, and experience self-worth.
Contribution: Ginsburg says that having a sense of purpose is a powerful motivator. Contributing to one’s community reinforces positive reciprocal relationships.
Coping: When people learn to cope with stress effectively, they are better prepared to handle adversity and setbacks.
Control: Developing an understanding of internal control helps individuals act as problem-solvers instead of victims of circumstance. When individuals learn that they can control the outcomes of their decisions, they are more likely to view themselves as capable and confident.
The 7 Cs of resilience illustrate the interplay between personal strengths and outside resources, regardless of age.