Resiliency

Bounce back from setbacks

Being resilient generally means that you’re able to adapt to hard times, to challenges, and to other sorts of adversity in life. When you encounter stress, trauma or tragedy, you can cope with adversity and keep functioning successfully, both psychologically and physically.

When you have resilience, you’re able to tap into your inner strengths and rebound more quickly from a setback or challenge, whether it’s a job loss, an illness, a disaster, a tragedy, family or relationship problems, workplace and financial stressors, or the death of a loved one.

In contrast, if you lack resilience, you’re more likely to dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed, and turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as consuming too much caffeine, excessive drinking, compulsive spending or emotional eating. You may even be more inclined to develop mental health problems.

Building your resiliency has health benefits too. People who cope with stress in a positive way tend to live longer, have lower rates of depression, and are more satisfied with their lives than people who do not handle stress well in difficult situations.

Help yourself become more resilient
Sadness, anger, and emotional pain are normal reactions to traumatic or adverse situations. However, resilient people have developed strategies to maintain their emotional balance, such as:
  • Having a positive self-image and the ability to remember their strengths and successes
  • Connecting with positive people
  • Making time for fun and rewarding hobbies and activities
  • Applying problem-solving skills
  • Maintaining perspective by looking at the current situation in the context of a whole lifetime
  • Learning from other resilient people and steering clear of negative people
Help others become more resilient
Throughout life people may feel their resilience diminish depending on their levels of stress. However, everyone can learn how to build their resilience, no matter what their age or background. You can also help others become more resilient, too.
  • Friends or colleagues: While some people seem to be able to bounce back from problems without expending a great deal of effort, the clear majority of people must draw upon their array of coping skills and help from others to deal with challenging setbacks. It’s not often easy!
  • Parents: One of the most common wishes parents have is that their children will learn the coping skills necessary to take care of themselves amidst the many storms that will confront them in life. Adapting to and overcoming challenges means being resilient, and resilience is usually not something with which one is born—it must be learned.
  • Supervisors or managers: In every company, there are staff members who seem to sail through rough times. When the going gets tough, they’re the epitome of strength, and they keep going. Their resilience allows them to thrive in the face of challenges and bounce back successfully. There are many ways companies can foster resilience in the workforce, including:
    • Leading by example and building resilience at the leadership level
    • Fostering a sense of purpose by encouraging staff members to find meaning in the work they do
    • Managing change to ensure the entire company views change as a welcome challenge, rather than an unwelcome roadblock
    • Addressing stress levels both individually and as a group
    • Nurturing a sense of mental toughness among staff
    • Providing opportunities for learning and professional development
Additional resources

Everyone has the capacity to build their resilience and learn more about developing effective ways to respond to adversity. See the Related Articles at the bottom of this page for additional resources. You can also view this webinar recording on growing your resilience and true grit.

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