What are protective factors
A protective factor is some element or characteristic that helps reduce the risk of detrimental outcomes as a result of a negative event. These protective factors can be intrinsic, meaning they exist within oneself, such as an individual’s positive mindset. They can be extrinsic, or existing outside of the individual, such as community or familial support. Resiliency cannot be accomplished without having protective factors in place. Read through the examples below, and think of ways that you can implement these in your own life to become more resilient and become a Force for Health.
Living a healthy lifestyle will help you be more resilient. Healthy living can improve your mindset, self-esteem, confidence, and many other attributes. Living a healthy lifestyle will improve your ability to problem-solve, manage stress, stay level-headed, and approach issues rationally. Healthy living starts with exercise, eating a healthy diet, and staying focused on your goals. If you can succeed in utilizing a healthy lifestyle as a protective factor, than you will quickly find that the other protective factors fall in place.
Another Intrinsic Factor to live by is to be engaged in your community. Everyone enjoys a little alone time, but too much isolation can quickly become dangerous. Engaging with your community will open up your social network, and provide you with the Extrinsic Factors that will aid in your quest to become more resilient. Remember, no one can go it alone, and resiliency starts within you. To become more resilient, then, you must put yourself in a position to be able to capitalize on the abundance of resources around you. Find a community event you enjoy, a sports club, a volunteer organization, a book club, anything that you feel you would enjoy. Get out there and get active!
There are several different categories of extrinsic factors. We will go through them together, and by the end of this lesson, we will know how to best utilize these in our own lives.
Family can be an extremely helpful protective factor. Family can also be a source of stress as well. Dysfunction, conflict, or an illness within the family can all lead to harmful stress. In some cases, family relationships may be too turbulent to be salvaged. If that is the case, maintain distance, but do not be deterred from answering kindly to a positive interaction with an alienated family member.
Family is also one of the most solid protective factors that one can have. Family provides support, love, values, and stability on which one can lean in times of trouble. Cultivate positive relationships with your family, and support one another in times of hardship. Family provides many great systems of support, and can be key in becoming a more resilient Force for Health.
Your community serves as another example of an extrinsic protective factor. In times of need, communities will band together to weather whatever event may be causing hardship. Become involved in your community. By becoming involved, you will find many resources, friends, and neighbors who can support you when you need help. Not only will you be able to lean on your community for help, but your community also provides an opportunity for you to use your skills to be a Force for Health and help those in need as well.
Your protective factors are the foundation you can stand upon as you deal with other issues.
Use the notes section to make a list of your protective factors: think people, places, institutions, technology
Who are your friends and family members that you can almost always count on?
What the places you feel safe? Where can you get essential things you need?
What skills do you have you can leverage to feel safe. Can you run, swim, do a web search, use a cell phone, leverage social media to connect.