How to build resiliency and move forward

The couch was Janice Simon’s refuge. Overwhelmed and exhausted, the comforting cushions and a healthy dose of HGTV temporarily kept the personal catastrophes at bay. Within a few months, Simon lost her father, a tropical storm caused major damage to her home and she found out she had an autoimmune disease. “I really thought I was going to lose my mind,” says Simon, a project director at MD Anderson. But she had resiliency. It’s what got her off the couch to accomplish at least one thing each day. And gradually got her to a point where she began looking forward to the next day. Embrace a different mindset “Resiliency is a mindset that helps people persevere during difficult situations and bounce back,” says Mark Berg, director of MD Anderson’s Employee Assistance Program. “For example, if someone asks me if my glass is half full or half empty, I tell them it’s refillable.” According to Simon and Berg, building that resilient mindset begins before a crisis, whether that’s a cancer diagnosis, a treatment setback, storm damage, the loss of a loved one, or something else. Focus on one task at a time A year before Simon found herself in the midst of her own crisis, she watched The University of Texas System Chancellor Bill McRaven give a powerful commencement address at The University of Texas at Austin about the lessons he learned during six months of grueling Navy Seal training. “If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” McRaven says. “It will give you a small sense of pride and will encourage you...