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Family Marriage Couples Consultant Prof Dr Ekrem Çulfa




What are the things we can do when we feel bad in this article? What are the definition and sub-dimensions of the concept of psychological resilience? What are the suggestions that we can increase our psychological resilience? What can we do in the face of stress and difficulties?

 I will address issues like…



Psychological resilience is a remarkable variable in the field of preventive mental health, as one of the concepts in positive psychology studies in recent years. After important traumas and life events, it is a feature that plays an important role in the protection, improvement and continuity of the individual's life. Kobasa (1982) states that “people who show resilient attitudes and behaviors against power and stressful life events have some common features”. This resilient attitude, which is followed by being open to change, believing that things are in control, being able to focus on other vital areas and giving oneself, is called the psychological resilience that allows the individual to recover more quickly after important life events. Psychological resilience; It can be defined as the positive psychological capacity of the individual, which enables individuals to overcome the challenging and stressful life events, traumatic and risk situations, and as a feature that can be developed with individual and environmental effects over time. Rather than being a permanent and individual feature, it can be considered as a pattern of behavior that can be learned and developed over time.


Individuals with high psychological resilience are individuals who are aware of their behavioral responsibilities, who think that they have control over the areas they can change in life, and can give themselves to the areas where they can have activities. Psychological resilience consists of three sub-dimensions that operate in an interrelated manner. These dimensions are; control, attachment and challenge. Attachment sub-dimension of psychological resilience; The participation of the individual in the relationships and related values ​​in the family and social environment is the state of being in contact with other people. The individual's interest in different areas in life and being able to participate in ongoing life events; It includes the sense of purpose and purpose in life, as well as the awareness of the person himself. Control size; It involves the individual believing that he can have control in his life instead of feeling powerless and helpless despite the difficult life events that happen to him in life and acting in this direction with the ability to choose. Challenge dimension means being open to new experiences, seeing change and innovation as an opportunity for personal development and self-confidence. The challenge also involves connecting with other people, interacting with the environment, being active in life, and learning from different experiences. (Kobasa, 1982 and Kamya, 2000)


Individuals with high psychological resilience attachment dimension spend more time to be with their environment because they perceive their environment more worthy of attention and time; In parallel, it can be said that individuals with high challenge feature continue to interact with their environment and have an attitude open to new ideas and experiences. Thanks to these skills, it can be said that individuals with high psychological resilience tend towards more social support resources and can benefit from these resources.


Kobasa (1982) observed that there are some psychological features that minimize the negative effects of stress on health in the face of stressful life events, that individuals with psychological resilience have a lower frequency of physical illness and have a positive effect on their recovery. Individuals with high psychological resilience turn to effective ways of coping with stressful life events, make cognitive evaluations involving an optimistic approach, and as a result, show a perspective and personality tendency that reduces the negative impact of events. The concept of psychological resilience can be considered as a cognitive assessment and behavioral response group consisting of sub-dimensions of attachment, control and challenge. However, individuals with high endurance can both direct their actions and give importance to the actions they will perform thanks to their control beliefs. These individuals, who have high beliefs that they can change some situations in life, take an optimistic and safe approach to them that they can overcome problems. These attitudes towards them make them feel more resistant in case of stress. In addition, since they see change as an opportunity, they see stress as valuable experiences for their personal development, not threatening safety. Those who do not see themselves as victims in life after the events; Behavioral patterns to be followed by individuals who believe that they can create effects and control over events are developing more actively and purposefully. Thus, it can be thought that they can turn to actions that may affect the course of events. Individuals with high endurance with these skills may also create the opportunity to turn stressful events into opportunities for their own lives.


What is Psychological Resilience? What can be done for psychological resilience?


Stress should not always be perceived as bad. The important thing is the type of stress. A positive and coping stress can strengthen us and make a positive contribution to our level of psychological resilience.


We can sometimes experience stressful, distressing, challenging events in life or witness these events frequently. In this article, we will touch upon the effects of events such as unemployment, economic crisis, death, natural disasters, divorce on adults. In addition, we will make various suggestions on what we can do to deal with such events or situations and to maintain and increase our psychological resilience.


There are situations in our lives that we often say "I am very stressed today", "I am very bored" or "I am overwhelmed now". In such cases, we experience many emotions such as anger, helplessness, malaise, anxiety, tension and depression. Especially in stressful situations, the intensity of these feelings increases gradually. For many of us, the financial difficulties that have emerged due to the recent economic uncertainties and crises, difficulties caused by working conditions, relationship problems, divorce, illness, moving or especially problems related to our children or loved ones can cause serious stress from time to time. Experts define stress as “an automatic reaction of our body and brain to various internal and external conditions”.


Stress should not always be perceived as bad. The important thing is the type of stress. A positive and coping stress can strengthen us and make a positive contribution to our level of psychological resilience. Severe stress situations, on the other hand, can cause many serious damages in terms of physical, emotional and cognitive.


Trauma, on the other hand, can be described as a threat to our life, body integrity, belief systems and loved ones and the negative impact it creates. We may be prepared for stress situations, but trauma appears in a moment we never expected, and whatever we do, we can never be prepared. We can experience traumas as a society, just like natural disasters, wars and long-term conflicts. Sometimes, job loss, moving, financial difficulties or illness can also occur as a trauma. Trauma differs from stress because it is more intense, occurs suddenly and has more severe effects.


Many of us may experience stresses and traumas caused by different reasons than any other. The reactions we all give to these events are different. Some of us, after a loss, closed inside and mourned for a long time, some of us do not show their experiences to the outside and try to live their lives as if nothing had happened. Especially in the face of economic difficulties, some of them show more angry behaviors, while others are closed in themselves and cannot escape from a sad mood for a long time.



Domestic violence and stress and trauma


When family violence occurs (including not only physical violence but also emotional, verbal, economic and sexual violence), all family members, especially those exposed to violence, and children are affected by this environment of violence. Continuous tensions and conflicts in the family also lead to increased unrest and negative air in the family.


All traumas cause stress and various problems in humans. We can group the symptoms that occur after trauma or stress under 3 headings: physical, emotional and mental symptoms:


Symptoms seen after Stress and Trauma

Physical symptoms emotional symptoms mental symptoms

Flutter restlessness forgetfulness

Headache distress distraction

Stomach and digestive tension confusion


Shortness of breath, unhappiness, decreased interest

Tremors in the hands, mental stagnation

Excessive, irregular, or irritability math errors

Little sleep

Various sensuality of the body, feeling of avoidance or withdrawal from people

Pain in their places tendency to focus on irritability and negativity

Extremely anxious mood instability and pessimism


When these symptoms are seen and depending on the severity and duration of these symptoms, it is necessary to seek professional support from a psychologist, psychological counselor, psychiatrist or a family doctor. In such cases, talking to someone you love or trust and having trouble with them can also make it easier for you to deal with the events.


What can we do in the face of stress and difficulties?


There are methods we all use to deal with troubles and difficulties. While some of us choose to be troubled with our friends and loved ones, some of us try to cope with sports and exercise, traveling, walking, watching television or sleeping. In particular, we need to know what causes stress in us. If we can know the cause of our stress, we can more easily choose appropriate interventions to deal with it. We can only solve the problems we experience with stresses caused by us, for example, with our spouse, family, children or colleagues, by talking to each other. Some stress situations such as job loss, economic difficulties, death, natural disaster, illness are not caused by us, and the solution may not just be in our hands. However, there are still many methods that we can use in both cases to deal with stress and distress.


When we feel bad, we can list what we can do as follows:


1. First of all, "what do I feel?" We must ask the question. Possible answers to this question will be sorrow, resentment, fatigue, anger, fear and anxiety. It would be appropriate for us to try to realize the feeling we live with this question.


2. Then we asked ourselves, "What happened, I feel this feeling?" We must ask the question. The possible answers to this question will vary from person to person, but "someone said something", "I can't pay my debt", "I was unfair", "did not keep my promise," etc. With this question, we try to understand the reason for our emotion.


3. Finally, we ask ourselves, "What can I do in this situation?" We need to ask the question. After asking this question, we can begin to determine “what we can do to relieve, alleviate sadness, fear, anger or anxiety”. It would also be appropriate to try to find out what else we can do to completely eliminate situations that create sadness, fear, anger. We try to develop a kind of solution with all these questions.


In addition to what we can do to deal with stress and trauma, there are things we should not do. These need to stay away from methods that increase stress rather than reduce it. Coffee, cola, acid drinks, alcohol, smoking, using drugs or overeating only cause more stress to build up in the body.


Let's talk about a few effective methods that can reduce our stress, make it easier for us to cope with stress, and make it easier for us to control and manage our anger while we are under stress. To give a few examples;

1. Deep breathing,
2. Doing relaxation exercises,
3. Remembering a nice event or trying to relax by thinking about the holiday,
4. Accepting our feelings,
5. Hugging our loved ones, especially our children, kissing them, spending more time than ever before them, taking care to be together as a family,
6. To be flexible,
7. Taking care not to disrupt your daily routine life as much as possible and not to accumulate or postpone works,
8. Engaging in physical activities (playing sports, running, walking, cycling, swimming, going for a picnic, playing ball or participating in children's games),
9. To set time to be alone with our loved ones,
10. To give ourselves the right to make mistakes,
11. To produce scenarios about how to deal with this situation by animating the stressful event we are experiencing and if possible write them on a piece of paper or share them with someone we trust,
12. To learn how others deal with this situation in a similar situation,
13. To pay more attention to our diet than ever before,
14. Acquiring a hobby or maintaining our current hobbies,
15. To explain the difficulties we have experienced to our children or spouse and loved ones and to ask for support from them. While doing this, we should pay attention to some important points, especially when explaining the situations that cause stress and distress to children and how we feel about this situation. For this, we can:

• We must take care not to shake the trust of children. We can say that the situation is difficult at the moment, but it will not always go like this. We should also tell our child that we are making efforts to improve this situation. Then we should listen to our child and let him express his thoughts and feelings. Thus, we can understand children's concerns and fears and give them appropriate answers. Children can have exaggerated worries and fears in such situations. We must take care not to reinforce these fears.
• We must make explanations suitable for the age of the children. It may be appropriate to give less detail to children younger than 6-7 years old, but to more older children.
• When making a statement to our child, we can take care to be consistent with our spouse and make a statement together.
• We must definitely tell our child that he is not guilty of this.
• Finally, we should try to share our children with the solution. When we give the opportunity, we can see that our children also have things to do in this difficult situation and we can enable our children to feel that they are an important member of our family.
16. When the mentioned stress and distress lengthens, getting support from a specialist (psychologist, psychiatrist, pedagogue, psychological counselor) will make it easier for us to cope with the distress and stress we are experiencing.



Joni S. Mantell has 5 tips for improving our psychological resilience. It is possible to summarize these recommendations as follows:


1. To be in contact with our loved ones, to contact them. Nothing is as bad and destructive as the feeling of loneliness. The most effective thing we can do to get rid of this feeling is to be closer to them to feel the support and presence of those who understand and care for us. The American Psychologists Association and the Mayo Clinic also emphasize the importance of socializing in some form of stress. It would be very useful if we avoid to face our own pain and share our experience with people we trust. In addition, someone who can empathize with you, will not judge you and listen to you with your ear can contribute to saving you from the troubled situation.


2. Being a member of a supportive group or participating in activities that they organize can also contribute to our psychological resilience. These groups can be nature groups, walking groups or other groups. Taking a trekking, stepping our feet into the ground, and allowing clean oxygen to enter our lungs in the open air has an extremely revealing effect.


3. The special times we spend with our spouse will not only help us overcome the troubles we are experiencing but also facilitate a strong marriage bond between us. If the problem is a family disagreement then getting help from a family therapist / counselor is also an appropriate approach.


4. Taking care of our body. We must protect and protect ourselves, both physically and emotionally. It is very useful to try new and fun things, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and eat regularly.

5. Laugh is the best medicine. It is necessary to take advantage of laughing and humor as much as possible. Laughter has a healing side. Laughing is also contagious. Taking advantage of humor in difficult times, perhaps reading a humor magazine regularly, watching funny movies is perhaps one of the most effective methods.


6. Working towards our goals. It will be necessary to take one step at a time, to climb the stairs one by one, to motivate ourselves to climb each ladder, to breath a little in between. In this way, we can reach our plans more comfortably.


7. Learn how to make decisions while under stress. Perhaps it would be more beneficial not to make big decisions while under stress and review our decisions.


As a result; The number and severity of events that negatively affect the mental health of individuals in our society are increasing day by day. These range from poverty, low socio-economic status, domestic violence, child neglect and abuse to a broad perspective such as social violence. In addition, the number of mental trauma sources experienced has increased due to the fact that our country is on an earthquake zone, has experienced a major earthquake in a recent history, and has been involved in such events as terrorism. Therefore, considering the socio-geographical structure of our country, it is important that individuals have high psychological resilience. In order for us all to effectively fight against the problems we face and to protect our own mental health against these problems, we must first have a sound psychology and then contribute to the psychological resilience of the individuals around us. You can contact us on +905447243650 from our Mylife Psychological Counseling Whatsapp and Contact Line regarding your problems.

Family Marriage Couple Consultant
Dr. Ekrem Çulfa

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