Systems of Resilience


Resilience refers to the capacity to adapt to adversity. In a recent interview Professor Ann Masten, psychologist and author on resilience, spoke about resilience as not just being an individual capacity, but as extending into the systems that we live and function in, whether they be family, community, workplaces, healthcare or the economy. 


Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, all of these systems have been mobilised as part of an intensive effort to respond to the crisis. This has required self-discipline, perseverance, and co-operation from every part of the community.

Depending on individual circumstances, people have experienced different levels of hardship. People also have different levels of resilience, some able to cope with the stress and anxiety of the situation more than others.

The circumstances are a reminder of how much we depend on support from the people and organisations around us. Dr Masten describes resilience as a renewable resource.  We can all play a part in the renewal process. In caring for ourselves and others, following advice and guidelines, we build capacity in our resilience systems.

As we continue to make our way through this “surreal” time, there are practical strategies that can help:

  • Staying in contact with others

  • Staying active, spending time outdoors

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Being mindful of others in need of support and reaching out to help

  • Supporting local businesses and organisations

  • Reminding ourselves that the situation is temporary and that things will continue to improve and return to normal

  • Reaching out for help – stress and anxiety can leave people feeling overwhelmed.  This can disrupt sleep, affecting energy levels, sense of equilibrium and mood.  If you are noticing any of these changes, contact your GP

  • Reflecting on the lessons – what realisations can we take into the future, e.g. enjoying the quietness and less busyness, new interests and creative activities, enjoying time with each other


Anne Ward is principal psychologist of Mindinsight, providing evidence-based psychology and coaching services to individuals and organisations. Mindinsight is located at 45 Hunter Street, Newcastle. For more information visit www.mindinsight.com.au or phone 4942 7660.


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