The power of resilience

Resilience is typically defined as the capacity to recover from difficult life events and is a protective factor against psychological distress in adverse situations involving loss or trauma. It can help in the management of stress and depressive symptoms and empowers people to accept and adapt to situations and move forward. Resilience therefore plays a major role in our mental health!

The word resilience is often used on its own to represent overall adaptability and coping, but it can be broken down into categories or types. There is emotional resilience, in which a person can tap into realistic optimism, even when dealing with a crisis. There is also psychological resilience which refers to the mental fortitude to handle challenges and adversity. Physical resilience refers to the body’s ability to adapt to challenges and recover quickly whilst community resilience refers to the ability of groups of people to respond to and recover from adverse situations, such as natural disasters, acts of violence, or economic hardship.

We want to focus only on psychological and emotional Resilience as both relate to the individual and her or his abilities to cope with life challenges.

Psychological resilience refers to the ability to mentally withstand or adapt to uncertainty, challenges, and adversity. It is sometimes referred to as “mental fortitude.” People who exhibit psychological resilience develop coping strategies and capabilities that enable them to remain calm and focused during a crisis and move on without long-term negative consequences.

Emotional resilience describes how well a person copes emotionally with stress and adversity. Some people are, by nature, more or less sensitive to change. How a person responds to a situation can trigger a flood of emotions. Emotionally resilient people understand what they’re feeling and why. They tap into realistic optimism, even when dealing with a crisis, and are proactive in using both internal and external resources. As a result, they are able to manage stressors as well as their emotions in a healthy, positive way.

Resilient people do experience stress, setbacks, and difficult emotions, but they tap into their strengths and seek help from support systems to overcome challenges and work through problems.
The good news is that resilience can be learned. Resilience isn’t something people tap into only during overwhelming moments of adversity. It builds as people encounter all kinds of stressors on a daily basis, and protective factors can be nurtured.

Developing resilience is both complex and personal. It involves a combination of inner strengths and outer resources, and there isn’t a universal formula for becoming more resilient. A combination of certain protective factors contributes to building resilience. These factors include social support, realistic planning, self-esteem, coping skills, communication skills and the capacity to manage potentially overwhelming emotions.

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. The following are steps that can help build resilience over time:

  • Problem-Solving Skills: Identify ways within your control to work and resolve a problem. Focus on how you, as opposed to external forces, can control the outcome of events.
  • 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 and how to put internal resources to work. People feel more capable and confident when they can identify and draw on their talents and strengths.
  • Self-Care: Make your mental, emotional, and physical health top priorities. 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.
  • 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. Find techniques to reduce stress and anxiety.
  • 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. When the going gets tough, believe in your ability to handle it.
  • Connections: Support systems can play a vital role in resilience. Bolster your existing social connections and find opportunities to build new ones. Rely on family, friends, and colleagues when needed.

Are you curious now, how resilient you are?
As a member of our platform you will be able to find online courses to start to self-reflect and understand your strength. You could also find a professional coach and book a session if you feel expert support in developing coping skills, problem-solving skills or self-awareness would be helpful. You can access useful links to relevant videos and tips around self-care. If you are not a member yet, register here for your FREE membership and make use of the resources.