Youth sports can build resilience strength

Realizing you can handle life in the face adversity in only a thought away, and allows you to maximize a challenge. The growing interest in resilience among mental health care providers globally has created a need for a simple way to consider the complex interactions that predict adaptive coping when there is exposure to high levels of adversity. Ranging from performance plateaus, mental illness, violence, natural disasters, losses, and daily conflicts – unideal situations are inevidable. Rather than dealing with the repercussions and associated negative emotions, what if we were prepared to be more suited for our experiences?

Why are strength and resilience important and how do you get it?

We each experience our own challenges, and it isn’t the loudest complainer who has it the most difficult. Each of Fredrickson’s studies demonstrate resilient participants experience the same level of frustration and anxiety as those less resilient; their physiological and emotional spikes were equally high. This reveals that resilient people aren’t a rare human species, immune to negativity… they simply let go of the negativity, worry less, and shift their attention to the positive strength more quickly. Resilience serves beyond a reactive skill-set advantageous in the face of adversity, it’s these same characteristic traits improving our well-being, physical and mental health, and ultimately enriching our lives. The best way to cultivate this – experience.

1. Stay Up

Positive emotions are the most important predictor of resilience. Research concludes positive emotions can undo the effects of a stressful negative experience. This isn’t suggesting you acquire a delusional, brightness-blinding life, but rather have a positive outlook in difficult circumstances.  People who are resilient tend to be more positive and optimistic, better able to regulate their emotions, and can maintain their optimism through the most trying circumstances compared to those less-resilient.

2. Snap Back

It’s all about how quick you can “bounce back” from stressful experiences and effectively using those positive emotions discussed above to rebound from, and find positive meaning in, stressful encounters. The experience of positive emotions contribute to the ability to achieve efficient emotion regulation and find positive meaning in negative circumstances. Further research demonstrates that resilient people are even able to change their responses to match the demands of our frequently changing environmental circumstances.

3. Write Down

A conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits. A study conducted using subjects with neuromuscular disease were randomly assigned to either a gratitude condition or a control condition. Guess who thrived. The gratitude-outlook groups exhibited heightened psychological and physical well-being across several of the outcome measures relative to the comparison groups, including strength. These results not only reinforced the importance of a positive outlook, but also concluded that gratitude has a positive impact on optimism and goal-orientation.

4.  Build OutYouth sports can build resilience strength

The British Psychological Society suggested a strong link between confidence in yourself and resilience. Strong confidence yields greater resilience when a setback occurs, knowing you are capable of a better outcome. Developing resilience through youth sports can benefit a child’s overall success in academics and life, as well as in athletic achievements. Combine the involvement of attentive parents, coaches and mentors, with the increased intellectual stimulation from physical activity and skill-work, and it allows children who participate in sports to reap social and emotional benefits. Teaching children resiliency and strength within their athletic program at a young age can boost their self-esteem and future well-being. COR works with a range of ages, helping foster these in our KADP, high school strength program, and even our adult boot camp!

Perhaps we don’t choose to be in the current situation, but what’s more important is how we handle it. Treasure the challenges, and recognize these opportunities for growth that serve to your benefit.

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Written by Amanda Presgraves. Amanda is a senior Kinesiology major, Division I student-athlete and entrepreneur at James Madison University. As an advocate of health and personal growth, she’s on a constant pursuit to optimize life and inspire others through her commitment to healthy living. If you can’t find Amanda bouncing between the classroom, pool, kitchen, or volunteering, you can find her online as she continues to lead and motivate others towards a happier and improved life at COR through her article contributions, newsletters and community motivation. @amandapgraves, amanda.presgraves@gmail.comlinkedin.