Resilience


Resilience is defined, by the American Psychological Association, as "the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress… it means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences."

McDonald (2014) describes resilience as “the ability to recover from adversity, to keep calm in the face of difficulty and to solve problems. It is the ability to manage your own emotions and remain aware of the emotions of others. It doesn’t mean you don’t experience difficulty or distress, but it does involve the ability to live with those emotions. It means doing what you know is important, despite it being something that makes you uncomfortable. It is self-awareness and knowing your own values, strengths and weaknesses. It’s being able to reflect on situations and take a balanced view.”

Pooley and Cohen (2010) describe resilience as “the potential to exhibit resourcefulness by using available internal and external recourses in response to different contextual and developmental challenges.”

  • It is believed that resilience is not a trait, but something that can be learned and developed over time
  • If passenger is irritated and raising their voice at you, of course we as crew do whatever we can to solve their issue. But please also remember that the passenger is annoyed at the situation, not at you personally. This way of thinking has helped me cope in difficult situations
  • Be pleasant but assertive
  • Explain that as a flight attendant, when you ask a passenger to do (or not do) something, it’s for their own safety and the safety of others on the aircraft. It's basic psychology that if you explain to someone why you are asking them to do something, they will respond a lot better and comply with it
  • I love the term “water off a duck’s back”. As explained by Jinkx Monsoon, it means "don't let negativity weigh you down, perpetuate positive thinking"
  • If a passenger has an issue, ask them specifically what the problem is as this puts you in a better position to help them. One example is when a passenger is a nervous flyer - I like to ask them if there is a specific aspect of flying that they are anxious about, which means I am better able to assist and reassure them