Adapting won’t change your identity, instead, it will build your resilience

I always find myself admiring the changing colors of leaves at the onset of fall. The sight of leaf colors ranging from green to red, yellow, orange, purple and several others is very beautiful. After all, we all love beautiful things and we realize how much color these leaves bring to life.

On my way to the university on this particular day, while admiring the sight of the changing leaf colors, a thought struck me. It wasn’t for the reason of beauty that plants changed their leaf color in fall. Maintaining the green color from chlorophyll is energy demanding, and in fall when there is less sun, plants have to trade off their green color for less energy requiring pigments so as to conserve energy. This change doesn’t make it less a plant, and is a necessary adaptation for the plant’s survival. One thing is constant and that is the changing environmental conditions.

And so it is with our lives. Life altering events are constant and for every phase of life we enter, we encounter different circumstances. These events usually require that we make adjustments to suit the time. Adapting to these changing circumstances doesn’t in any way change our identity, rather it helps us build resilience. These necessitated changes  question our preconceived notion of who we are and how we are supposed to act. Finding the balance between what to let go and what to hold on to (like the plant losing its chlorophyll to conserve energy) sets us on a path to achieve satisfaction in the present situation and builds our resilience, which may be a buffer against the development of anxiety and stress, both of which contribute to depression.

Changes to build resilience may include positive emotions and optimism, humor, cognitive flexibility, cognitive explanatory style and reappraisal, acceptance, religion/spirituality, altruism, social support, role models, coping style and exercise.

Seek help if you are depressed. You are not alone and you will find a network of support if you seek help. Talk to a trusted person about how you feel. You can also share your experiences with others to inspire them and keep going on. Send us a message at “tok2someone@gmail.com