Relational resilience refers to the strength of our relationships.
Whether we live in a big city or a rural community; whether we are single or married; and whether we have children or not, we all need healthy relationships to sustain our overall wellness. We can endure a lot if we have healthy relationships to rely on. Dr. Redford Williams of Duke University documented researching showing that post-surgery patients who did not have at least one close confidante were over three times more likely to die than people who had at least one close relationship. (Bounce, 2010) According to David Viscott,
Relationships seldom die because they suddenly have no life left in them. They wither slowly, either because people do not understand how much or what kind of upkeep, time, work, love, and caring they require or because people are too lazy or afraid to try.(Gungor,2008)
A coach will very likely be asked to help a client work on a relationship issue. There are a number of very good tools to complete this task which focus on topics such as problem-solving, effective communication, or making the relationship a priority. I believe a key component of any good relationship building material should focus on building-relationship strengths. It is far too easy to focus on the negatives in a relationship and never get to what’s good so it can be built upon. A very good tool for a married or dating couples is the Flag Page Test. The Flag Page was developed in 1993 by Larry Bilotta. (Gungor, 2011) It is a simple self-assessment which shows what a person loves about life. It is based on more complex personality assessments such as the Myers-Briggs. The results of the Flag Page can be used by a couple (with the help of a coach or not) to compare what each partner loves about life. That comparison leads to the question,
How do I love you best?
and is very powerful when we consider that loving someone requires knowledge of what motivates the other person. (Gungor, 2011)
Emotional resilience is often referred to the term ‘coping skills’. If we are emotionally resilient, we can look inward during troubling times. Dr. Robert J. Wicks, author of Bounce, states that
…’the inner or interior life’ is what some people point to as a place where non- judgmental self-awareness, simplicity, freedom, and truth flourish.
(2010) It is our interior life that we draw strength from.
Another component of emotional resilience is mindfulness. Mindfulness is awareness or being present in the moment. When we are not mindful we get upset over trivial things, we look at changes as disruptive, we use negative coping mechanisms, we refuse to learn, we let the static of daily life get in the way of being productive, and we use quiet time to worry. (Wicks, 2010) There are many more examples of lack of mindfulness. One goal of coaching is to help a client become more mindful.
In addition to being mindful, a strong self-care protocol can boost our emotional resilience. Habits such as laughter, knowing our values, discerning where we have control and where we do not, self- appreciation, involvement (or not!), support groups, escape, spontaneity, and a positive attitude can all contribute to healthy emotional resilience. (Bounce, 2010) These in combination with the resilience builders mentioned previously can all lead to overall wellness.