What does an organization or community look like that creates multiple layers of safety nets so that no life falls through… and all can thrive?
If you are familiar with my work, you are likely aware of the THRIVE Resilience Model™ I developed to answer this question and help resilience builders put the research into practice. You also understand why I so passionately believe this work matters, stemming from my home community losing several lives within a short period of time to suicide.
But if you have not recently attended a THRIVE workshop, you likely have not seen the THRIVE 5™ framework that supports the “R”, or Resilience Skills, piece of the THRIVE Model. Let’s change that today.
What does the research show are the core pieces of resilience skills building?
- Emotional Regulation
- Coping Skills
- Social and Relational Skills
Perhaps more importantly, why does each of these factors matter?
Self-care matters because you cannot give away what you do not have. If you are serious about strengthening others, you must prioritize your own strength and refuel positive energy on a daily basis. If you give at a cost to your own energy reserves, you will pay a high price and realize the hard way that it is not sustainable. And if you work with people who have experienced trauma or high levels of chronic stress, you absolutely need a special self-care toolkit to minimize the risk of compassion fatigue, secondary trauma, or burnout.
Self-awareness matters because you cannot lead another past your own point of healing. Being a resilience builder requires that you intentionally and bravely get to know yourself, stay real, and deal with your own stuff. Over a century ago, Leo Tolstoy wrote “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” The brave resilience builders of today’s world embrace a fuller truth: “Everyone thinks of changing the world, and the wise person understands that this begins with changing oneself.”
Emotional regulation matters because when you stay calm and attune to others, you help them feel safe, seen, and valued. Due to the mirror neurons in our brains, the more regulated and empathetic you are, the more calm others will feel. Only when a person feels safe, feels seen, and feels valued can you even begin to offer the possibility of repair and growth. Understanding the science of regulation equips you to shift your focus from a person’s negative behavior to helping meet the needs that their behavior is communicating.
Coping skills matter because stress and potentially traumatic events are a part of our human experience. Life doesn’t always get easier, so we need to get stronger and more resilient. You can learn ways to recognize and manage the impacts of stress, loss, and adversity. Certain mindsets and practices can help you maintain your emotional well-being within the storms of life, allowing you to then help others better cope with what’s going on in their lives.
Social and relational skills matter because humans need each other in order to survive and to thrive. Being a strong human is not a solo activity. It’s important to learn and practice ways to authentically connect with others, peacefully resolve conflicts, and contribute to healthy relationships. One of my favorite reminders that we need each other in so many ways comes from author Brené Brown, as passed down from her grandmother: “We don’t have to do it all alone. We were never meant to.”
Although I generally dedicate more time to resilience training for military, crisis response, and corporations, I definitely enjoy this time of year when I prioritize helping schools design cultures of resilience (while the nonprofit National Resilience Institute carries on this important trauma-informed youth resilience training throughout the year).
I’ve recently had the privilege of spending seven days at various schools, providing Youth THRIVE Workshops. Shout out to Jim Brown, a music teacher at East Buchanan School District (Iowa), for this fun and inspiring THRIVE & JIVE bulletin board he created for his elementary students:
Kudos to all of you who dedicate yourselves to creating a work or learning environment that meets each person where they are and helps them grow strength and resilience from there: you matter and our world needs your contribution. Carry on!
“Trauma-informed care is not just about the child in front of you. It is also about you as a person meeting that child.”Allison Jackson