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That's the question a group of Canadian researchers and their colleagues around the world have devoted their careers to exploring.
According to Michael Ungar, codirector of The Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University in Halifax, there are seven factors that influence the degree to which an individual will be able to cope with life's challenges.
1. Relationships: What matters is having not just a single relationship with one significant other, but a whole set of relationships. That includes good friends.
2. Identity: People who have a strong sense of identity (those who can easily identify something they really like about themselves) tend to do better in times of trouble.
3. Power and control: Feeling like you have the ability to influence the world around you is important.
4. Social justice: You need to have a sense that you're being treated fairly.
5. Material resources: Having access to the basic necessities, such as a safe place to live and enough food to eat, makes a difference in terms of a person's ability to cope.
6. Belonging and being needed: Feeling as if you make a contribution somewhere is important.
7. Having a sense of your own culture: Your cultural identity can bolster your sense of self when you're otherwise feeling a bit beaten up by life.
Ungar's best advice?
"Find a person and a place to connect with." Connecting with a friend or another trusted person will deliver relationship benefits, while finding something to relate to, such as a support group, or signing up for a new activity in your community will provide the comfort that goes along with having some sort of regular routine.
We have lots more inspirational survival stories, including how to rebuild your life in the wake of disaster.
|This story was originally titled "I Will Survive" in the September 2013 issue. |
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