What is resilience and why is it important?

Well, in terms of physical training, ‘resiliency’ is a term I hear being bandied about A LOT. Injured? Not resilient enough. Tired? Not resilient enough. The list goes on.

But what is resiliency? Does it mean more than purely the physical? Is it genetic? Can it be trained?

I like to think of myself and my clients as ecosystems. Physicality is important, but in terms of the overall HEALTH of an organism, it's just a small part in a larger machine.

To have a clue about what others aspects of health are important, we can look to the work of the renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow. He developed what came to be known as ‘Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs’. These needs reflect our fulfilment in the journey of life.

At the base of the pyramid are our ‘physiological needs’. Food, Sleep, Water etc

On the next level, we have ‘safety’. Body, Health,

Then ‘love and belonging’. Family, Friendship and Intimacy

This is followed by ‘esteem’. Achievement, Confidence and Respect

Finally, ‘self-actualization’. Creativity, spontaneity.

The hierarchy gives us an idea, not just of how our needs are ordered, but also of what our ‘needs’ actually are. The ability to attain these needs will require some form of resilience across multiple domains of the human experience. Physical, emotional and mental.

In terms of training the body, we can always refer back to a fundamental building block called the ‘SAID (specific adaptation to imposed demand) Principle. The idea being that humans get stronger by stress, recovery and ADAPTATION. All of us are capable to adaptation (if the dose is right to have the desired response). Interestingly, the American Psychological Association defined resilience as: “The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.”

So what is being resilient? It’s being able to adapt through various stressors (physiological, emotional and mental). This adaptation will result in us all being stronger and better equipped to fulfil our hierarchy of needs and lead healthier, happier and more enriched lives.

We are all resilient.