• Dr. Casey Campbell


Updated: May 24, 2021

Are you feeling overwhelmed and not sure what steps to take to get back on track with your goals? Are you striving to be resilient? Please read ahead!

First of all, let's explore what resilience is:

  • The mental ability to recover quickly from depression, illness or misfortune.

  • The physical property of material that can resume its shape after being stretched or deformed; elasticity.

  • The positive ability of a system or company to adapt itself to the consequences of a catastrophic failure caused by power outage, a fire, a bomb or similar (particularly IT systems, archives).

Let's Explore Ways to Become Resilient

You can increase resilience by increasing protective factors in your life.  This includes safe-guards to meeting your basic needs and reducing conflict and challenges to these basic needs.

In the literature, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a great representation of where a person is at in terms of meeting their needs and goals. When a person's basic needs aren't being met, they don't have the mental space to focus on their personal achievement and altruistic goals. Use this chart as a tool to help you figure out what to focus on at this moment. Start with ensuring your bottom goals are met, and then work your way up.

In my own words, these are how the steps can be explained:

1. Physiological: If you don't have the security of ensuring your rent and food are paid for, now is the time to start making changes. Seek out a job that provides more money, or manage your budget by reducing expenses and find an affordable living situation that will ensure you can cover your basic needs.

2. Safety: Once you obtain a job that pays for your basic needs, you can focus on your safety. For example, do you need to move to a neighbourhood with less crime? Do you need to get mechanical work done on your car, or new tires, so that it is safer to drive?

3. Belongingness and Love: Then focus on your relationship with your partner and close friends. Now that your basic needs are met, you can start thinking about others' emotions, desires, and needs. This can include reaching out to see how your friends are doing. Send them a funny meme or video. Incorporate positive interactions with your loved ones. Start to tell them your deep desires and feelings. Think about what their "love language" is. Try to incorporate their preferred ways for you to make them feel loved. Be dependable and show them that you care about them and want to spend time with them.

4. Esteem: Once you feel secure that you are maintaining healthy relationships with those close to you, you will have the mental space to focus on fulfilling your desires to increase your social status with a feeling of prestige, or to obtain physical items that make you feel accomplished (i.e. a new car, brand named clothes, vacation).

5. Self-Actualization: At this point, you should feel a low level of anxiety over getting your needs and your loved ones' needs met. Now is your time to focus on your curiosities! You have the time and energy to think about how you would like to leave your mark on the world and contribute to your community! Some of the most satisfying experiences a person can have is when they feel like they are helping others, and when they feel that their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated.

NOW - Regardless of what level in Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs you were at in March, you may have rapidly and unexpectedly dropped down to level 1. You may have lost your job. You may not be able to afford luxuries anymore. You may be struggling to maintain your relationships and might be experiencing an overwhelming feeling of dread and stress. Your emotions may be all over the place. You are not alone.

Let's Explore Ways to Become Resilient

- Focus on one positive step at a time.  Start with basic needs goals, and work your way up.

-Keeping moving forward at whatever pace is right for you. It's common to become frozen when the goals seem far away and if you are overwhelmed by all of the steps you need to take in order to reach your goal. Shavings make a pile, and small efforts add up to large progress.

-Try to keep in the back of your mind how much your past self would appreciate all of the hard work you've put in already. You may not be at the top of the hill. But, without your efforts, you would still be at the beginning. Place yourself in a grateful state. All of your prior efforts have put you closer to your goals than if you had become frozen and unproductive.  

- And again, think about your former excited self.  Think of how passionate you were to reach your goal(s).

- Try to find experiences that bring you back to that excited mindset.  Watch inspirational videos of people overcoming obstacles and accomplishing their goals. Listen to podcasts about your passions or about your goals. This could range from reducing world hunger, to building healthy relationships, or helping you manage your finances. In this day and age, there are many ways to find resources that will help you get the fire back in your belly and kickstart you to taking those steps towards your goals.

- If it all gets to be too much, it is ok to take a time-out and give yourself a break.  Try to incorporate lifestyle habits that allow for a mental break and enjoyment.  This can be escaping into a fantasy novel, playing an interactive online video game, going for a walk, listening to music that gets you revved up.

Remember that no matter what comes your way, you can always move forward.

If you are experiencing mental health difficulties, remember that there are many resources for you. Alberta's 24-hour Mental HealthHelp Line is 1-877-303-2642.

- Dr. Casey Campbell BSc., D.C.

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