Resilience: Do You Bounce Back?

Kimmel & Associates e-Letter

An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. & Associates

Volume 6, Number 6

June is the beginning of summer, a traditional time to vacation and relax. It is also Men’s Health Month with the purpose of increasing the awareness of preventable health problems and encouraging early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys. We encourage you to seek regular medical advice and get early treatment for disease and injury. While it is typical for males to put off visits to doctors, we suggest you consider that if you have a problem, it will probably get worse by ignoring it. Don’t delay and take advantage of the many health fairs that will be going on this month.

In this June E-Letter, we present information about resilience, our Ask the Doc question relates to feeling depressed after watching television, and our email of the month is about compassion in sports. We hope you find the enclosed information helpful. As always, we appreciate your questions and feedback.

Practice News

We are pleased to announce that in the fall, we will be offering education based programs of community interest. We are currently in the planning and certification stages and hope to announce these programs soon. Stay tuned.

We will also be including a blog in next month’s E-Letter beginning with a real life case of hoarding.

Summertime is a good time for you as a parent to consider having a psychoeducational evaluation of your child. These evaluations will determine your child’s learning profile and whether they have any learning disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, or other problems that may interfere with academic performance. We would be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s functioning in school and whether they are performing at their potential. You can either call us at 954 755-2885 or send us an email.

Handouts from previous e-Letters can be found on our website. We invite you to read and download them if desired.


Our E-Letter this month focuses on resilience which is basically the ability to roll with the punches. It’s about how people deal with the adversity of life and the traumas and stress they experience. How do people deal with the anxiety of a terrorist attack, the loss of their job and home, the death of a loved one, and having a major illness? Many people react with anxiety, depression, uncertainty, and pessimism. Resilience isn’t about just hanging tough. Rather, it is about a way of coping and dealing with these situations. Although a person may face tragedy or trauma, a resilient person keeps functioning mentally and physically. Resilient people are determined to keep going and do not let their adversity define them. They do not look for pity or for attention from others because of their problems. They do not look to be taken care of by others. They view their adversity as a temporary situation which they will transcend.

The primary factor in resilience is having caring and supporting relationships so that one does not feel alone. These relationships create trust and love and offer encouragement and reassurance through the adversity. Other factors contributing to resilience include having self confidence, self esteem, problem solving skills, communication skills, good emotional self control, spirituality, optimism, and an ability to make realistic plans that can be carried out. It is important not to catastrophize the stressful situation and to learn from the consequences of these situations.

Resilience can be developed in the following ways:

  • Develop good relationships with family, friends, and supportive organizations
  • View crises as either being able to be resolved or having an ending
  • Understand that change happens and you just have to accept it
  • Keep your perspective and be realistic
  • View yourself positively
  • Look to learn from these situations
  • Be optimistic and take affirmative actions when and if you can
  • Eat well, sleep well, and exercise
  • Employ humor and relaxation to balance out stress and worry
  • Keep a journal and seek out support groups
  • Practice spirituality

Resilience can help you overcome loss, trauma, tragedy, and stress. It will help you to survive challenges and get stronger even in hardship. You can develop many internal resources that can prevent you from becoming debilitated by depression, anxiety, and worry. But, it does take time and practice. In addition to family and friends, support and learning can also be found in support and self help groups, online resources, books, and licensed mental health professionals.

We offer the following information on Resilience:


“I haven’t failed. I’ve identified 10,000 ways this doesn’t work.”— Thomas Edison

What to Know!

  • Resilience is the capability to positively cope with stress and adversity
  • It doesn’t make problems go away but it gives you the ability to handle stress better and find some enjoyment in life while having undergone trauma or adversity
  • It is often referred to as “bouncing back” to normal functioning or even better
  • Resilience is referred to as a “hardening” or “steeling” effect in response to stress
  • People are psychologically capable of being hurt and rebounding at the same time
  • Resilient people internalize success and the handling of problems rather than pitying themselves or looking for attention from others
  • Resilient people are able to maintain their independence from troubled others and affiliate with capable and healthier people
  • Resilience can be a coping mechanism; it is described as sustained competency in very challenging conditions such as war, divorce, unemployment, tragedy, etc.
  • Optimism is a strong factor in resilience; it refers to perceiving events and situations positively, to finding positive meaning in experiences, and to believing that one can positively impact a situation
  • Resilience is not a personality trait that people have, rather, it involves thoughts, behaviors, and attitudes that anyone can learn
  • People who are resilient do not allow themselves to be defined by adversity nor do they allow themselves to be seen as victims
  • Resilience can help you cope better with emotional problems and can even strengthen you against depression, anxiety, worry, and loss
  • People who are resilient reject cultural pressures to be victims needing to be cared for
  • A main factor related to promoting resilience is a relationship that provides caring and support, has love and trust, and provides encouragement
  • Other factors related to promoting resiliency include self-confidence, high self esteem, having good communication skills, being realistic, and managing impulses and feelings
  • Additional factors promoting resiliency include having good problem solving skills, a willingness to seek help, believing that there is a solution to the situation, having spirituality, being able to help others, and seeing oneself as a survivor and not a victim
  • Resilient people can reframe a situation and see the cup half full rather than half empty

What to Do!

To develop resilience:

  • Make good relationships and accept help and support from others
  • View problems and crises as situations that will be overcome or end at some point
  • Accept that change occurs; change what you can and accept what you can’t
  • Think about the positive meanings and what was learned from the consequences
  • View your self positively and keep things in perspective
  • Challenge your pessimistic thinking and do not listen to the negativity of others
  • Take some actions to feel successful; move towards a better place
  • Remain hopeful and take care of yourself by eating properly, sleeping as best you can, and exercising; do not smoke or use drugs and alcohol
  • Help others through community service or charitable work
  • Seek professional help if you feel you are unable to function due to trauma or stress

We Can Help!

Call us at (954) 755-2885 or email us at

Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates
5571 N. University Drive, Suite 101
Coral Springs, Florida 33067

As always, we would like to welcome new readers to our e-Letter. We hope that you find it informational and enjoyable. We invite you to share this e-Letter with others. If you have received this from a fellow reader, please send us your email address to include you on our list.

Ask the Doc

RB writes: I find myself getting very worried and even sometimes depressed after I watch television. Even though some of it is enjoyable, sometimes I can’t stop worrying about things. Sometimes, I can’t even sleep at night and I think about it the next day. I don’t like feeling this way. Is there something wrong with me?

Dr. Joel Kimmel replies….The answer to your question is yes and no. It all depends on what you expect to get from television. If its entertainment, you can probably find some shows that will meet that expectation. If you want the news, then you will probably be disappointed and worried.

Television is now an entertainment medium mostly filled with gossip, unnecessary information, biased programming, and commercials for products and for network programming. It is designed to make you question and worry. While it does present important news, it also presents news about people that have no possible effect upon your life and do not even live near you. Is it really important to you to know about a car chase in Wyoming? And the news is repeated over and over and over on all the news outlets making avoidance of it almost impossible. Take the Anthony Weiner scandal for example. The impact on your life is minimal if at all, yet how many times have you heard about this foolish man’s behaviors and the analysis of it?

Talking heads and experts run rampant on all the networks telling you what to think and worry about even though most of the time they are wrong. It is only their opinion and not even expert at that. Yet they still keep coming back. And you can’t escape it. Almost any channel you turn to contains some form of bad or worrisome news. Questions are asked but not answered so stay tuned until after the commercial break for the answer. It is designed to perk your interest to stay tuned to their channel and buy whatever products they are selling.

So, excuse my venting, but in my opinion, most television creates anxiety, worry, and frustration. Rather than create appropriate role models and leaders, demonstrate caring and compassion for others, promote good news and values to live by, and provide for educational opportunities, television instead both entertains and causes anxiety and depression.

The following is a quote from Newton N. Minow, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission:

“When television is good, nothing — not the theater, not the magazines or newspapers — nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there, for a day, without a book, without a magazine, without a newspaper, without a profit and loss sheet or a rating book to distract you. Keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.

You will see a procession of game shows, formula comedies about totally unbelievable families, blood and thunder, mayhem, violence, sadism, murder, western bad men, western good men, private eyes, gangsters, more violence, and cartoons. And endlessly commercials — many screaming, cajoling, and offending. And most of all, boredom. True, you’ll see a few things you will enjoy. But they will be very, very few. And if you think I exaggerate, I only ask you to try it.”

This was from a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters in 1961. Television has not improved in the 50 years since that speech. So in answer to your question, there is nothing wrong with you. If you want to stop worrying, choose carefully what you watch, how much time you spend watching television, and remember that it is designed not to help you but to mislead you into buying what they are selling.

I invite comments via email from readers on this issue.

Email of the Month

We would like to thank Greg W., Program Director at i9Sports, for sending us the following email demonstrating caring and compassion in sports:

Two Choices

What would you do? You make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice?

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection.

Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’

The audience was stilled by the query.

The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’

Then he told the following story:

Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three.

In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands.

In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.

Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game?

Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed.

The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over.

The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates.

Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’

Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.

Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’

Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base.

By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball. The smallest guy on their team now had his first chance to be the hero for his team.

He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’

Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’

As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.

‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’.

Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!


We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces. Think about sending this one on.

Please continue to send us your comments, questions, and favorite emails for our e-Letter.

Till July…

The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.

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Copyright © 2014 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D., P.A. and Associates.