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MSWA Bulletin Magazine Autumn 2021

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Get to know your new President | Resilience: I get knocked down, but I get up again | MSWA’s m contribution to research | 36 years of Bulletin


COUNSELLING I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN How many of us can relate to this? It sums up resilience in a nutshell (and gives you a daylong earworm). Certain ideas take root in popular consciousness, like mindfulness, and resilience is another one – researched for decades and especially discussed last year during months-long COVID-19 lockdowns. We want it and we need it – but what exactly is resilience? Research tells us that most people are resilient – you don’t have to be extraordinary to get up again. Resilience is the capacity of people to handle adversity with acceptance, adaptiveness, optimism and grit. Challenges are guaranteed in life, and from childhood onwards, we can learn to build our inner resources for coping well. A resilient person is not spared the bad times, but can respond to them in ways that transform them into opportunities for growth. Resilience is made up of our psychological attitudes (such as holding onto a ‘realistic optimism’), our emotional self-awareness (knowing our personality, regulating our feelings), our constructive behaviours (reaching out for help, learning new skills) and our spiritual meaning-making (finding answers for ourselves about how we can get through and find positives in our challenges). If we break it down, resilience includes: / Flexibility and adaptiveness / Positive thinking style / Problem-solving skills / Connection with external support / Communication skills / Perseverance / Trust and confidence in oneself We can see that these qualities are ones we are familiar with in ourselves and others – one researcher calls resilience ‘ordinary magic’. Parents, schools, friendship networks, spiritual communities, sports and hobby groups, even books and films, can all provide contexts and role models for learning these skills and attitudes from childhood onwards. In this respect, life itself is our resilience coach. Studies show that secure attachments to one or both parents, as well as to at least one close friend in adolescence, predict a higher level of resilience in young adults. Protective factors also play a part, such as: / Self esteem / The ability to plan ahead for challenges / Adaptive coping skills / Social support / Emotional intelligence We talk about bad times being ‘character-building’ for a reason! Studies also show that resilient people ‘bounce back’ from negative events or circumstances more quickly than others, even finding new opportunities to contribute to society as a result of what has been learned – and this includes those who are living with chronic illnesses. Former Australian rules footballer Neale Daniher, who lives with MND, is one example. Think about your journey with your condition – how do you think your personality has developed in reaction to the obstacles, changes and difficult emotions you have experienced? Resilience is “the core strength you use to lift the load of life,” according to Dr Amit Sood from the Global Center for Resilience and Wellbeing. To discuss and learn more structured ways of developing resilience, you can contact the MSWA Counselling Service. EVE PARSONS MSWA COUNSELLOR 18

MSWA PROPERTY UPDATE MSWA officially launches the development a m dual purpose facility in Albany. In February, local MSWA Albany Clients and staff were joined by our CEO Marcus Stafford and members of the Senior Management team to officially launch the development of our latest project – a new M High- Support Accommodation Facility and Services Centre in Albany. From early 2022, the development, which is now well under way, will be the MSWA centre for people living with a neurological condition in the Great Southern. “MSWA has been providing services and supports to Albany locals living with a neurological condition for over two decades. We are looking forward to opening a new modern facility providing more care and more services for our regional Clients, and of course catering for our high-support Clients as well,” Marcus said. 19