control,” notes Hensch. Martin Seligman, known as the “father
of positive psychology”, found that when people take setbacks personally, viewing them as permanent, pervasive and personal, they develop a sense of learned helplessness that inhibits growth and happiness. “It’s im- portant not to ‘catastrophize’ or generalize a failure and extend it to other areas of life,” says Dr. Steven M. Southwick, a professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine who focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder and resilience.
Make Caring Connections Social networks are critical in the face of challenges, resilience experts agree. “When we are wronged or feel unsafe, it’s natural to withdraw when we should do the opposite,” says Feldman. “It’s also not the number of friends you have, or even how much time you spend with them, that matters. All you need is at least one person you can count on.” “We are built to be connected with oth-
ers. It has a significant impact in regulating stress,” says Southwick, a co-author of Resil- ience: Te Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest
Challenges, from West Haven, Connecticut. Over the past two decades, Southwick and his colleagues have studied three groups that have come through harrowing events: being Vietnam War prisoners, Special Forces instructors and civilians. Tey found people that rebounded strongly oſten shared common attributes, including embracing a spiritual outlook and social network. In 2013, Damon Redd, of Boulder, Col-
orado, awoke to a severe flooding event, with his home and business buried under five feet of mud and water that nearly wiped out his clothing business, Kind Design, overnight. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through, to lose everything I had built. It also gave me a new perspective on what’s important. It made me aware that you can replace physical things, but you can’t replace memories. My mind was blown away by the support I received.” Redd ended up paying forward the
kindness. “We cleaned and repaired 1,500 pairs of gloves in our inventory that were damaged that day, and are donating them to search-and-rescue teams and ski patrols.
Te more good you do, the more good other people will do,” Redd professes. Altruism and owning a moral code is
another common characteristic of resilient individuals, according to Southwick. Having a purpose is a huge indicator of whether a person will rise to the occasion. “You can en- dure almost anything if you have a mission, or believe what you are doing has meaning. It gives you great strength,” he says. In 2016, Bobbi Huffman lost her high
school sweetheart and husband to suicide a few days before Valentine’s Day. As she began to process the tragedy, she saw two choices ahead: “Drop into a deep depres- sion and give up or focus on our deep love for one another, get into therapy, and make a difference by inspiring, encouraging and helping others,” says Huffman. She chose the latter, asking for profes-
sional help and signing up for the 16-mile Overnight Walk for Suicide Prevention, in New York City. “Getting into the best shape of my life at age 50 became my passion. As I walked through the night, I reflected on our beautiful memories as a
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