Resilience Can Be Taught

Emotional resilience is about ‘bouncing back’ from what life throws at you. It’s about being strong inside and able to adapt well to changes and difficulties that may happen to you.

When I was told that my son, Sam, had various disabilities including Tourette’s syndrome we were given the appropriate medications and integrated into services such as a special school, visually impaired services, and so on. However I noticed that Sam was never really supported when it came to his emotional resilience. It’s an easy mistake to make if you think having your medical needs met means your emotional needs will also be met, as this is not always the case. I think that’s when it dawned on me that I had to take on a much bigger role in supporting Sam with his emotional resilience and mental well-being.

Sam is now 14 and one of the challenges I have faced bringing him up was trying to make sure he understood he had a role to play in his own emotional resilience, and giving him the tools to do this. Nobody is born confident with good emotional resilience but it can be learned and that is why I have written the book: “Second Chances: a young person’s guide to emotional resilience” The book is designed to give young people some tools to help them stay strong when things might seem tough. Not only that, but the book has also been co-written by young people that have faces their own challenges.

I want to remind young people that no matter how you are feeling or where you are in your life, right now you can start to make better choices and decisions that will help you achieve more and reach your goals and dreams.
For example, you make a better choice today to:

 Distract yourself instead of giving in to your temper.
 Take one second longer to think before you say something that might hurt someone.
 Do something nice for a friend or family member.
 Learn a new skill.

Just doing one of these things can have a dramatically positive effect on your day and the way you feel about yourself, which can only be a good thing, right?
I know sometimes it can be hard not to feel angry about the things that might be happening to you or how some people treat you, but the problem with giving into angry thoughts and actions is that it keeps you stuck in the same head-space, and nothing really gets better.

This book is not written by someone who has all the answers, I don’t! Nor is it about constantly having to be positive. Rather it is about how to live with yourself and take care of your mental health and emotional resilience. You may be at the start of your young life or somewhere in the middle, but no matter how you are feeling you can give yourself a second chance, a chance to choose to do things differently.

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My Emotional Resilience

Hi my name is Sam and I am 14 and I have Tourette’s Syndrome and some other disabilities. My mum is the author of “Second Chances: a young person’s guide to emotional resilience” book and she asked me if I would write a few things in the book that might help other young people, so I have.

I have had to face a few difficulties in my life so far, like living with Tourette’s Syndrome and injecting myself every day and being responsible for taking other medication and I admit I wish sometimes I didn’t have to go through this but I am determined not to let my disabilities define who I am because there’s lots more to me than just that.

When I was first diagnosed with having Tourette’s I didn’t think about it at all – I didn’t really understand it because I was only young. Then as I got older I became more aware of other people’s reactions to my tics, and I began to feel more self-conscious and anxious about talking to people or going to school.

For a while this made me sad and angry but then my mum helped me realise that if I could just manage to “shift my focus” away from my Tourette’s for just a short while and focus on something that made me feel a little better and more confident then I could achieve more and be less anxious.

I have been using some of the techniques in the book like “shifting my focus” to help me stay mentally strong and happy and even though it’s not always easy I would rather do that than stay angry and frustrated with my life.
My message to young people is never give up even when you think things are bad.