Please note that this is an Archived article and may contain content that is out of date. The use of she/her/hers pronouns in some articles is not intended to be exclusionary. Eating disorders can affect people of all genders, ages, races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, body shapes, and weights.

Let’s Talk About … Resilience With Nicole Hawkins, PhD, CEDS-S

Why is resilience so important, and how do you know if you’re resilient enough? Resilience is typically defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events. “It’s your ability to withstand adversity and bounce back and grow despite life’s downturns,” says Amit Sood, MD, the executive director of the Global Center for Resiliency and Well-Being and creator of Mayo Clinic Resilient Mind. People experience all kinds of adversity in life. There are personal experiences, such as illness, loss of a loved one, abuse, bullying, job loss, and financial instability. There is the shared reality of tragic events in the news, such as the current pandemic and the rising death tolls, the protests on racism, mass shootings, and natural disasters. People have to learn to cope with and work through very challenging life experiences. With everything happening around us these days, learning to become resilient is crucial and it is a skill you can learn. Many of my patients are struggling right now and I have admired their resilience to keep going and continuing to fight for their recovery even if they occasionally fall down.

Dr. Sood believes that resilience can be defined in terms of five principles:
· Gratitude
· Compassion
· Acceptance
· Meaning
· Forgiveness

Here are 6 tips to help you be more resilient:
1. Give no one the power to lower your self-worth. Believe in those who believe in you.
2. Lower your threshold to feel grateful. Be grateful for a deep breath, the smell of coffee, the smile of a loved one, or the taste of water.
3. At least once a week spend quality time with someone that inspires you.
4. Be kind, especially to yourself. Kindness is a marker of strength and not weakness.
5. Recognize that most people are struggling in their own unique way. Keep a low threshold when it comes to offering forgiveness.
6. Embrace your vulnerability. Be authentic. Accept that it’s okay to feel sad once in a while.

Dr. Hawkins is a clinical psychologist and is the Chief Executive Officer at Center for Change.  She is a specialist in eating disorders and body image and has provided clinical expertise at Center for Change since 1999. Dr. Hawkins developed a comprehensive body image program that focuses on the media, diet industry, plastic surgery, childhood issues, and learning to appreciate one’s body, and she leads these groups for the Inpatient and Residential patients at Center for Change.  She is a Certified Eating Disorders Specialist (Supervisor), has published several articles, and presents regularly at national and regional conferences.

Center for Change is a place of hope and healing that is committed to helping those suffering from eating disorders break free and fully recover.  The Center offers intensive treatment for eating disorders and co-occurring issues, including a specialty program for co-occurring diabetes (ED-DMT1), and provides a full continuum of care: Inpatient, Residential, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient services. Located in Orem Utah, Cottonwood Heights (Salt Lake City) Utah, and Boise Idaho, serving females in Inpatient and Residential, and all genders in PHP, IOP, and Outpatient.  Accredited by The Joint Commission, AdvancED, and TRICARE® certified.