What is resilience, why is it so important, and how do you know if you’re resilient enough?

Resilience is typically defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events.

Why is resilience important?
Resilience is important because it gives people the strength needed to process and overcome hardship. Those lacking resilience get easily overwhelmed, and may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Resilient people tap into their strengths and support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.


Resilience Training

The good news is that resilience can be learned. For example, people can build up social support networks or learn to reframe negative thoughts.

Learning to be resilient doesn’t mean figuring out how to “grin and bear it” or to simply “get over it.” It’s not about learning to avoid obstacles or resisting change.

Building resilience is a process by which people utilize flexibility to reframe thought patterns and learn to tap into a strengths-based approach to working through obstacles.

How to Build and Cultivate Resilience

It’s helpful to think of resilience as a process. The following are steps that can help build resilience over time:

  • Develop self-awareness. Understanding how you typically respond to stress and adversity is the first step toward learning more adaptive strategies. Self-awareness also includes understanding your strengths and knowing your weaknesses.
  • Build self-regulation skills. Remaining focused in the face of stress and adversity is important but not easy. Stress-reduction techniques, such as guided imagery, breathing exercise, and mindfulness training, can help individuals regulate their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
  • Learn coping skills. There are many coping skills that can help in dealing with stressful and challenging situations. They include journaling, reframing thoughts, exercising, spending time outdoors, socializing, improving sleep hygiene, and tapping into creative outlets.
  • Increase optimism. People who are more optimistic tend to feel more in control of their outcomes. To build optimism, focus on what you can do when faced with a challenge, and identify positive, problem-solving steps that you can take.
  • Strengthen connections. Support systems can play a vital role in resilience. Bolster your existing social connections and find opportunities to build new ones.
  • Know your strengths. People feel more capable and confident when they can identify and draw on their talents and strengths.




Stress and the Brain

Stress and the Body

Importance of Self-Care right now:

6 self-care steps for a pandemic — always important, now essential

Rethinking Our Self-Care During the Pandemic


Mindfulness: What is it?  John Kabat-Zinn

Information and Research

Guided Mindfulness

Other Relaxation Strategies to try/see which woks the best for you:

Guided iRest Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation


Diaphragmatic Breathing (Very useful, effective, and you can do it anytime to shut down stress response):

Guided video


A few related topics

Healthy Thinking

Self-Compassion:  Dr. Kristen Neff  

6 Simple Steps for Self-Compassion During COVID-19  

Managing Emotions

Self-compassion with emotions     


Psychological Hygiene Video:   Ted Talk – Guy Winch – Why We All Need to Practice Emotional Hygiene

Yale Happiness Course (free) 

General Resilience:

27 Resilience Activities and Worksheets for Students and Adults

Five Science-Backed Strategies to Build Resilience

Greater Good’s Guide to Well-Being During Coronavirus


Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash