Resiliency is the human character trait to suffer an insult and return to a state of dis-despair, to return to one’s homeostatic equilibrium. In life we all will encounter problems, errors, disasters. How we deal with it, is how we come to be resilient.

As physicians, we must take our own advice and practice what may seem the least glamorous part of medicine: preventative care. One way in which we can do this is by taking advice from improvisational comedy. The concept of “Yes, and…” is practiced by an comedian agreeing with another’s statement and then furthering the point along a similar train of thought. In a way, employing it is to accept what’s been presented, foster an armistice with it, and from it create something more. Forge a new solution together. See more in this article, or listen to drunkroomates. Conflict resolution is easy when both parties cooperate as opposed to compete.

One tactic you can employ when another person is competing, and aggressively, is to react with non-complementary behavior. When you walk into the room and someone is already yelling at you, the usual response is to react in kind; you yell back. They expect this, but if you were to act in a different behavior, discordant with their disruptive flow, and more akin to how you would want the conversation to go, namely pleasantly, they may also respond in kind. Listen here on NPR.

And when we finally suffer the pangs of life, we must cope. As students, we memorize the mature and immature and we ought to apply them to ourselves. Mature coping mechanisms consist of sublimation, altruism, humor, suppression. In all of these, you focus your negative emotions around a stressor into something more productive: athletics or a hobby, a park cleanup or good deed for your neighbor, a joke, or into the nothingness that they are worth to you. Read on with the positive psychology program.

Coping immaturely will likely cause more problems then cures. Withdrawal, avoidance, isolation, acting out, passive aggression. We all commit these sins. As bad habits, out of necessity, as rationalizations for our selfish well-being – they are the easiest way out. Knowing what these are and recognizing when commit them is the goal of introspection and self-awareness. Through this, we can fulfill the Kantian moral duty of self-improvement.

Finally, tell your story. Verbalize it, make it tangible, impart it to a listener. Experience another’s empathy and allow yourself to be nurtured. Be grateful for them. Then be grateful for yourself for having the courage to be vulnerable.