Imagine you are out on a hiking trip up the hill. Your map indicates that you will
encounter an unavoidable rocky path infested by poisonous snakes and other unfriendly animals
along the way. How to make sure that you cross the dangerous part of the journey is a question
that can be stressful, and answering it shall determine the success of the trip. Maybe you would
enlist the support of a more experienced hiker or even a guide, or you would probably rely on the
company of your trusted friends as you plan the trip. Or maybe you would wear safety boots that
cover your foot and legs adequately and carry along snake repellant gel. With these tools in place
and trusted support, one thing is eventual; you will not only have a successful hike through the
dangers of the terrain but also emerge as an experienced, confident, and courageous hiker. Life
will not always have a map. It will present itself with dangerous turns and twists from daily
challenges to traumatic encounters with long-lasting effects such as loss of loved ones, loss of
jobs, financial instability, life-changing accidents, or even life-threatening ailments. Each of
these has a different impact on different people bringing strong emotions and uncertainty.
However, people have generally adapted well with time to these dire situations, attributed to
resilience. Therefore, resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from life's dreadful
conditions such as adversity, trauma, depression, tragedy, or any other source of stress (Newell,
2017). On the other hand, Mario Beauregard defines spirituality as, "Any experience that is
thought to bring the experiencer into contact with the meaningful divine experience." It is
crucial, therefore, to note that spirituality may incorporate some rudiments of religion only that it
narrows down to where one finds meaning, feeling of connection, and how to live life. This
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 3
paper shall focus on spirituality and resilience, giving details on their interrelations and factors
relevant to their success.
Stages of Resilience
Psychologists argue that building resilience is a deliberate and intentional process that
individuals must explore to realize a change of status. Leaving it to chance only spells that things
might move from worse to worst. This section will highlight five stages of resilience within the
dictates of the thesis statement.
When you're dealing with a difficulty in life, for example, stress, trauma, et cetera, you
must appreciate that a change is necessary. You find it within yourself that something has to
change, and you convince yourself that a difference is essential, not for anyone but to you. This
will influence your approach to the problem that one is dealing with and subsequently, a positive
change in consciousness. This phase is significant because it sets the stage for the rest and the
entire resilience process (Manning, 2013).
After becoming aware of the situations and appreciate that a change is necessary, you
must decide to make things happen, and that is where commitment comes in. However, many
people fail in this phase because after becoming aware of the problem and finding it necessary to
change, they try to forget the situation and enter into denial instead of taking action to improve.
Others assume that they have nothing to do in their lives make the changes happen. This
assumption makes such individuals think that there is no action to take; thus, commitment to
change is entirely unnecessary and won't achieve anything. But the truth is, awareness alone is
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 4
not enough to make the change. One has to commit to change to move to the next stage
Once one is aware of the situation and is committed to making the change, there is a call
for action to realize the changes that one needs. In this phase, there are also several setbacks that
people face. That is to say; you find that an individual knows the problem; he or she is
committed to making the changes but is just not ready to take action to make those changes. This
is usually attributed to uncertainty about the particular action to take, fear, and confusion. But
one thing is definite that without effort, we cannot achieve resilience. It is the action we decide to
take that brings the changes we want to see in our lives (Newell, 2017).
This is one of the hardest phases in the resilience process because letting go of the past is
never easy. Once one has taken action to see the changes he or she wants in life, there Is the
importance of letting go of the past that are associated with the situation at hand, accepting and
adopting new things. During this stage, people develop an awareness of the old patterns and
beliefs that must be let go in favor of the latest trends that brings the changes in our lives. This
phase is characterized by uncertainty and doubt that often determines the time taken in it. It
always brings a state of dilemma when an individual is caught between the old and the new
This marks the final phase of resilience after the adoption of the new patterns of behavior.
At this point, the confusion, dilemma, and uncertainty disappear. Individuals can then enjoy the
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 5
fruits of their actions and the changes made in the previous phases. A new mindset and enough
momentum has been built, and so the individual no longer lives in the past full of denial but the
healed present with new ways and patterns. To create the patterns of resilience, namely,
Clarifying, Connecting, Creating, and Coping, we must be deliberate and intentional in the
change process (Manning, 2013).
Different people hold a different understanding of spirituality. For some, it is a belief in
God and actively participating in religion. Others understand it as non-religious experiences that
assist one to get connected to their spiritual selves through private prayers, meditation, and time
in nature, et cetera (Foy et al., 2011). Psychological researchers have found that who are
consistent in spirituality and religion are often in better shape in terms of physical and mental
health. Such includes compassion, healthy relationships, and improved self-esteem. Spiritual
lives are always connected to better health practices. These include fewer drug and substance
abuse, increased ability to deal with stress and depression, and generally successful approaches
to life's problems (Foy et al., 2011)
Relationship between resilience and spirituality
Having discussed spirituality and resilience, we shall now discuss how these two terms
interrelate. In this section, we shall be examining how resilience and spirituality interrelate
within the dictates of the thesis statement.
Individuals who have gone through painful experiences of psychological breakdown and
emerge more definite are said to be resilient. Such people emerge from such situations more
spiritual than they were before. This is always informed by the fact that it could be the divine
assistance that pulls them through from the bondage of such dire life situations. Therefore, it is
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 6
safe to admit that in one way or another, resilience builds spirituality. In such cases, these
individuals will testify that without God, they would not have made it through (Manning, 2013).
On the other hand, others may acknowledge the power of God during difficult times. They often
say that even though things are tough, but God will make them better. And so this contributes to
their successful resilience process (Yeung & Martin 2013).
In other situations, individuals may be faced with uncertainty and dilemma. Spirituality
helps one to realize that his or her life has a more excellent value and purpose that the common
difficulty and risk. With the recognition of life's value and meaning, one is likely to overcome
the fears, dilemmas, and uncertainty discussed in the phases of resilience with the belief in divine
powers. As a result, one will be able to take action, let go of the past, embrace new patterns, and
achieve the realization stage (Yeung & Martin 2013).
People who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are vulnerable members of our society.
Such individuals need proper care and healing process. This disorder may be as a result of the
inability to recover from witnessing or facing a terrifying event. The symptoms may include
trauma, anxiety, self-denial, depression, et cetera. The treatment of this condition is
psychotherapy, which may consist of induced resilience to assist victims in accepting their
situation and engaging in the healing process. In other instances, doctors are encouraged to
promote forgiveness rather than retaliation. At this point, spirituality comes in to provide hope,
purpose to life, peace, comfort, and self-forgiveness (Troy & Mauss 2011).
Spirituality and resilience are core practices not only to the trauma victims but to every
individual who dares to live a purposeful life. Life is a mystery, with twists and turns that bring
unforeseen challenges. Such challenges are part and parcel of this life. As the study has revealed,
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 7
people with high resilience live better lives, for they can take action and change what needs to be
changed, cope with what is unchangeable for the sake of their happiness. Spirituality comes in to
strengthen an individual during the journey of resilience. It gives meaning and reason for being
reliable and soldiering on – As the serenity prayer states, God grant me the serenity to accept the
things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the
RESILIENCE AND SPIRITUALITY 8
Foy, D., Dresher, K., & Watson, P. (2011). Religious and spiritual factors in resilience. In S.
Southwick, B. Litz, D. Charney, & M. Friedman (Eds.), Resilience and Mental Health:
Challenges Across the Lifespan (pp. 90-102). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Manning, L. K. (2013). Navigating Hardships in Old Age: Exploring the Relationship Between
Spirituality and Resilience in Later Life. Qualitative Health Research, 23(4),568-575.
Newell, J. M. (2017). Cultivating professional resilience in direct practice: A guide for human
service professionals. Columbia University Press.
Troy, A., & Mauss., I. (2011). Resilience in the face of stress: Emotion regulation as a protective
factor. In S. Southwick, B. Litz, D. Charney, & M. Friedman (Eds.), Resilience and
Mental Health: Challenges Across the Lifespan. (pp.30-44). Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511994791.004
Yeung, D., & Martin, M. (2013). Spiritual Fitness and Resilience: A Review of Relevant
Constructs, Measures, and Links to Wellbeing. RAND Corporation. Retrieved May 25,
2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.7249/j.ctt5hhv6n