Are Expats More Resilient? Guest Post Published in 3Plus International Magazine

Are Expats More Resilient?

By Guest Contributor

June 16, 2011

by Anne Egros

 Anne is in the middle of move #12, back to the USA in New Jersey, after two years in Brussels, Belgium and asks if expats are more resilient ?

 “Resilience” is the positive capacity of people to survive and “bounce back” after failures and adversity. I think it is a pretty complex topic. In addition, what makes you thrive and happy, may be stressful for somebody else. However, no matter what the nature of the stress, resilience can be developed by learning adaptive coping strategies.

I am just now in the middle of move #12, going back to New Jersey, USA, after two years in Brussels, Belgium. The fact that I have been a serial expat for 20 years, between Europe, Japan and USA does not make the packing and the administrative work easier but psychologically, I feel more confident to ride the emotional roller coaster or “culture shock”most people experience when moving to an unknown city. By living and working abroad I got exposed to a wide range of unusual stressful experiences, sometimes even life-threatening, allowing me to develop specific coping strategies.

The impact of external changes on individuals such as moving to a new country, facing unemployment, switching to a new career can create stress, fear, anger, depression, feeling like a victim, confusion, decrease in performance, ineffective problem solving or poor decision-making.

Are long-term expats better equipped to adapt to economic turmoil, disruptions, changes, transitions and stress ?  Coping skills are very personal and usually developed by way of past experiences, which is why long-term expats who have gone through many transitions develop healthy habits that add to their resilience.

What are the Key Characteristics of Resilient people?

Ability to “bounce back” and “recover from almost anything”

  • Tendency to see problems as opportunities
  • Deep-rooted faith in a system of meaning
  • Healthy social support network
  • Being helpful in their communities
  • Are prepared for the worst
  • Have a balanced life
  • Are confident and develop strengths to take new challenges
  • Able to recover from experiences in the panic or trauma zone

How To Develop Resilience ?

1-Awareness : Identify your hot buttons. Who are toxic people in your life? What stresses you, under what circumstances and what are your emotional responses? Do you have negative self-talk? What coping strategies do you use? What activities give meaning to your life? What positive emotions do you experience when you do something your really love?

2-Be in Control: When things go out of your control, focus on part of you life you can control, such as changing your perception and perspective, exercising, journaling, talking with friends, stopping the blame game.

3-Create a support network: Deepen your relationships with people in your network, share a hobby with friends, help other people, write a blog, create your support group, use social networks.

Conclusion: Resilience grows from overcoming setbacks. It is a mind-set that induces positive attitudes and behaviors, thereby enlarging your vision of your life.

Anne Egros is a serial expat and holistic coach who has moved 11 times around the globe working at management levels for various industries . After a 20-year international career in Fortune 500 Companies in USA , Japan and Europe, Anne has a deep knowledge of business management.

Read more stories at   3plus international  Magazine. an International and confidential network of like-minded and supportive women worth knowing.Highly qualified and experienced mentors from around the globe, trained and certified by 3Plus International. Well connected sponsors opening doors to organisations seeking gender balance

About Anne Egros

Zest and Zen is a blog about Expat Life Challenges, Global Leadership, Intercultural Communication, Health and Wellness, Nutrition, Change Psychology, Life Transitions
This entry was posted in Anne Egros, Executive Coaching, expatriates, Life coaching, self-help and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Are Expats More Resilient? Guest Post Published in 3Plus International Magazine

  1. Reblogged this on Anne Egros, Global Executive Coach At Zest and Zen International and commented:

    Summer is already here and for expats in transition toward a new destination it is the time to test your resilience-This is a popular post I wrote about one year ago with tips on how to develop your resilience and keep your sanity during transitions.

  2. amblerangel says:

    Anne- I saw this on Twitter but don’t see my comment I left so I might duplicate- but I want to make sure you know just how wonderful I think this article is! I tweeted it also because it’s has such important points not only for ExPats for life in general. I’m going to share it with my children as well. SO many key life lessons- self talk, life threatening situations and the management of those (Many people haven’t been in those but certainly FEEL like they are so often during stressful situations at work) – a short article with a lot of punch written by a woman about to move overseas. Again. Well done.

  3. Anne- you are spot on! This is a lesson not only for Ex Pats but for life. Thanks for boiling down 20 years if experience in to a page a GREAT advice.

    • Hello Emily,
      I am glad you found some useful tips there.
      Sorry about the late comment approval, I did not read all my emails yesterday but I have finished sorting stuff in my husband office and storage room. I felt good about it and talk to myself : “good girl you did a great job spending 8 hours there and congratulation for NOT multitasking and your FOCUS ! ha ha !Today’s challenge: sorting make-up and other cosmetics in my bathroom WITHOUT thinking: every creams and other items more than 6 month-old should be trashed ! I have also to pack my suitcase for me and my son for 2 week vacation BEFORE the movers come on Monday ! I know I will bring way too much as usual 🙂

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