10 facets of resilience

  • Ability to calm yourself
  • Ability to care for yourself
  • Ability to express emotions
  • Ability to replenish yourself
  • Ability to support yourself without judgment
  • Sense of coherence
  • Sense of hardiness
  • Sense of hope
  • Sense of optimism
  • Social support

Turning Point helps people develop 4 important skills, which influence all 10 facets of resilience

  • Feeling your true feelings
  • Quieting your emotions and physical reactions
  • Restructuring your thought patterns
  • Filling yourself up through positive experiences

How to Bend Without Breaking

Life's storms throw everyone off kilter from time to time. Some people are flexible and can sway in the wind, standing upright again when the sun shines. But others are unable to bend and stay rigid, more likely to snap under pressure.

The experience changes both types of people, but who will be better off?

The concept of resilience – the ability to bounce back after a stressful event – intrigued Moira Mulhern. The topic had been investigated from more narrow perspectives, such as optimism or emotional intelligence. But at the time, most assumed people either were born resilient or weren't.

"Our research led me to believe resilience is not one simple characteristic," said Mulhern. "Instead, resilience is a collection of facets or dimensions that determine our ability to manage life's challenges constructively."

The art of resilience, she found, is actually a science that can be taught.

Learning to weather the storm

The idea of teaching resilience led to the creation of Turning Point: The Center for Hope and Healing, where Mulhern now serves as executive director. Since facing serious or chronic illness is one of life's most anxiety-ridden storms, the center focuses on helping people in that situation as well as their families and friends.

Turning Point: A Community Resource of The University of Kansas Health SystemA team of experts designs, develops and delivers classes, resources and programs each with the goal of increasing resilience while reducing both anxiety and depression. Topics range from meditation to nutrition and from pain management to body movement. Programs specifically for children and teens are also offered.

Since joining The University of Kansas Health System in 2012, the center has grown from serving 5,455 participants to 11,788. No matter where they are treated, resources are available to everyone at no charge.

For Pam Westhoff, who has a blood disorder, the education and encouragement she has received at Turning Point have been crucial. "It's such a positive, reinforcing place to be," she said. "I've gained so much knowledge, information and hope. As a result, I can do more for myself."