Impact of Resilience

Revisiting and Validating the Impact of Resilience

cognitive reappraisal emotional intelligent leader post traumatic growth ptg reframing resilience self-leadership Jun 10, 2022

How do you define resilience? How has your resilience impacted your ability and capacity to thrive over the past few years or over your life?

The term, “resilience”, has been bantered about everywhere for several years, but more in the past two years: in headlines, podcasts, blogs, articles, talks, etc. As the term became synonymous with the unfolding daily events, a wide array of definitions developed that subsequently affected our understanding of the term “resilience” and its impact on showing up for our BEST self.

Along with other overused terms, “resilience” is headed for the cliché bucket. I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want it to become a pandemic trend or buzzword that fades into the annuls of personal development and workplace wellness programs.

From 2015-2020, 18 different articles were published in adult health research related to the “general conceptualization of resilience”. According to Frontiers in Psychology (June 2021)1, research needs to revisit definitions and how we assess and address the implications – clinically. I would add “personally” because I believe “resilience” is part of our personal foundation and leadership. The authors suggest that while revisiting methods and concepts related to resilience, we should not dismiss or replace previous conceptions.

How do we assess resilience? Usually, assessment is self-reported with many variations in independent predictors such as “gender, age, race/ethnicity, education, level of trauma exposure, income change, social support, frequency of chronic disease, and recent and past life stressors”1. There is no universally established measurement for resilience. As an aside, we could say this about “well-being”. How do we assess the emotional state of well-being which is dependent on and intertwined with resilience?

The Background on Resilience Research

Research on the concept of resilience originated from developmental psychology back in 1982 and has since emerged in four primary scientific fields/waves:

  1. Developmental psychology2: Resulting in an acceptance and usage of resilient scales to identify and/or predict protective factors and resilient personality types including environmental experiences that might occur at various developmental stages.
  2. Developmental and ecological systems3: Resulting in an understanding of resilience as a natural phenomenon resulting from many processes. For example: a sense of safety, positive social connections, feelings of competence and control, and positive outlooks.
  3. Intervention and training: Technological advances in neuroimaging suggest the possibility to recover functioning after extreme stress.
  4. Neurobiology: Studies on mechanisms, including neural plasticity and the interrelations between biological and psychological processes reveal additional insights.

Researchers explain that our understanding of resilience has evolved from a trait-oriented approach to a process-oriented/outcome-oriented approach. However, there is still no universal outcome measure for resilience. At best, there are three core qualifiers: adversity, positive outcomes, and positive adaptation.


Researchers define adversity as an exposure to significant adverse events or the risk thereof. The events might be acute and chronically stressful and range from daily life challenges to bereavement, job loss, or chronic events such as illness and overall impact of world events. No one can dispute the adversity experienced personally and collectively over the past few years.

Positive Outcomes

  • Immunity, stability, or resistance: While this outcome might apply for acute crisis, no one can escape vulnerability when exposed to chronic adversity and/or significant trauma.
  • Bouncing back or recovery: This implies that adversity is experienced in a specific trajectory for a specified period with a return to homeostasis (not a return to "normal").
  • Growth: Unlike recovery, growth implies new or strengthening of functions and/or abilities.

Positive Adaptation

  • Cognitive or regulatory flexibility: An ability to modify cognitive and behavioral strategies to respond accurately to changing environments. See previous blog sub-topic “Emotional Regulations – Skills and Techniques”4
  • Cognitive Reappraisal: Positive (re)appraisal and attention control. See previous blog sub-topic “Cognitive Reappraisal (Reframing)”4
  • Attachment: Secure attachment with family, teachers, therapists, or others.
  • Hardiness: Sense of purpose, agency/self-efficacy/self-leadership, growth-mindset.
  • Neurobiology: Functioning brain circuitries.
  • Genetics: Allele type (variant of a given gene) that might affect resilience to adversity.

At its core, resilience is a dynamic, multi-dimensional construct, both clinical and personal, and there is much more to learn to help us to show up for our BEST self particularly during this intense period of post traumatic growth5.

Are you ready to work with a qualified coach to help you develop skills, techniques, and strategies that work best for you?  Start with your 90-day EQ Mini Plan or the mini workbook Emotions Drive Performance: Triggers from Thinking to Results  

When you are ready for the deep work on show up for your BEST self, the effort is worth it: YOU are worth it. If I can assist, please let me know. 

Would you like to explore the connections I make with this topic and emotional intelligence? You can reach me on LinkedIn. Or click to Get in Touch


  1. Frontiers in Psychology: Resilience in Adult Health Science Revisited, Frontiers in Psychology, June 2021
  2. Developmental psychology, Wikipedia
  3.  Developmental and ecological systems, Wikipedia
  4. Powerful Ways to Avoid Self-Sabotage, Encore Blog, May 27, 2022
  5. Post Traumatic Growth, Encore Blog Series, April, 2022

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