In physics, resilience is the ability of a material to absorb energy from an impact and release that energy as it springs back into shape, so-called 'BOUNCING BACK'.
On an emotional level, RESILIENCE is an ability to successfully adapt to stress and adversity at the same time as being able to maintain psychological and physiological functioning. We are reminded of the phrase 'sick with worry'
We are all exposed to stress and varying circumstances of adversity. Our resilience is underpinned by our life experiences and being able to develop and enhance our resilience is a valuable tool for all of us.
Stressful life events, trauma, and chronic adversity can have a huge impact on brain function and structure, and may result in PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), depression, and various other psychological disorders.
ATHLETES and HIGH-PERFORMING EXECUTIVES rely heavily on their inherited ability to cope with chronic stress, disappointment, fear of failure and above average expectations.
We have all heard the expression 'what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger', but not all of us can just bounce back after some positive self-talk, coaching and a good nights sleep.
What makes some people develop debilitating illnesses ?And what makes others exposed to the same types of trauma still able to function at a high level and cope with life?
Multiple factors such as social support, childhood environment, intellect, and our genetics all play a role.
The influence of genes on our intellect, emotional responses, and behaviours is significant and driven by a complex set of interconnected biological and physiological factors.
IN OUR DNA
Genetic factors contribute significantly to an individuals resilient response to stress and trauma. A range of human genes and polymorphisms may predict vulnerability to stress and susceptibility to psychiatric disorders.
NPY (neuropeptide Y), BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis), the noradrenergic and dopaminergic systems, serotonin system, and oxytocin are all associated with the hereditary aspects of human resilience.
Alterations in an array of genes offers fascinating insight to how certain genetic variations result in vulnerability to stress and others offer protection against adverse side effects.
Epigenetic factors and childhood developmental environment also have a vast impact on resilience.
This is the era of PERSONALISATION!
WINNING AT ALL COSTS
This mindset leaves individuals open to an immense amount of pressure and often unrealistic expectations and goals.
Athletes do not live or compete in a vacuum, and their support systems and environments play a major role in their mental resilience.
A great training program, heaps of talent and a 'good diet' may not be enough for those striving for the top step or fighting to keep their top positions.
Advances in GENETIC TESTING for RESILIENCE, are proving to be a huge bonus for the athlete and their support team networks.
Not only can the athlete now identify and understand their genetic susceptibility to certain stressors, but PERSONALISED NUTRITION, NUTRACEUTICALS & LIFESTYLE INTERVENTIONS can be introduced to support biological pathways, boost resilience potential and improve their health outcome.
By identifying strengths and hurdles, we can support, bolster and improve an ATHLETE OR NON-ATHLETE'S stress response and enhance their mental performance and resilience.
' When a flower doesn't bloom, you fix the environment in which it grows, not the flower' - Alexander den Heijer.