In life, we cannot escape painful disappointments, losses and stress, but we can choose how to recover and respond to them. That’s where resiliency comes in. It is our ability to spring back from pain, learn from trauma and tragedy, and in spite of it all, continue on the journey of life with passion, gusto and purpose. As a Holocaust survivor, this is the story of my life.

Yes, when I was a child I witnessed horrors that no man, woman or child should ever see. I was imprisoned for four years at a Nazi holding camp, experienced poverty, hunger and humiliation, was an “outsider” at school and in the communities in which I lived, and continually battled the message, “You can’t do that.”

But I learned at an early age that I would not succumb to that history and take on a victim mentality. I was a strong-willed child and as I grew up, I discovered that I was capable of choosing the life I wanted. Coping with disappointment, loss and stress in a positive way makes us stronger and gives us the confidence that we can survive and thrive.

To build your resiliency skills, adopt these practical tips:

  1. Be goal-directed. Identify some realistic steps you can take to overcome adversity.
  2. Reach out to others. Share. Stay connected. Be open to self-discovery.
  3. Nurture yourself. Be kind and gentle, but don’t wallow in misery. Pay attention to your physical, mental and spiritual needs and take care of them.
  4. Know that trauma and tragedy will not last forever. Put them in perspective. An optimistic and hopeful attitude helps develop this mindset.
  5. Practice the Serenity Prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”