Resilience is required to get us through the short term and long term pressures we experience. Our personal stores of resilience are affected by our patterns of thinking, our feelings of control, and our strategies to manage pressure. This includes the support we perceive to be available and seek out.
Biologically, acute pressure leads to specific reactions from the nervous and endocrine systems (flight or fight response). The hypothalamus responds, cortisol is sharply increased to allow us to survive the stress. But chronic stress and pressure leads to longer term high levels of cortisol. This is known to have effects on blood pressure, immune system, and by the effects on the hippocampus memory, emotion and depression. Higher levels of perceived stress can reduce our mental flexibility and functioning. Our vulnerability to this process depends on individual biologic differences. The process can be reversed, and improved with exercise and relaxation techniques. The strongest influence on our response however is the way we think.
Behaviours which protect from chronic stress responses are varied, and the research is diverse on what may be most important. Resilient behaviours include:
flexibility, problem-solving approaches, gaining perspective and humour, positive attitudes, recognising and managing thoughts and emotions, self acceptance and realistic optimism
(bullet points or smartart)