A person with the mental resilience and toughness of a boxer.

Building Personal Resilience

Resilience is the ability to bounce back and even thrive in the face of extreme difficulty. A resilient person facing a difficult situation is like a football bouncing back after being kicked. Whenever the ball hits an obstacle, it simply bounces off in a new direction.

We all face varying degrees of adversities in many areas of life, such as work, family, and relationships. Everyone comes across daily stresses such as feeling overworked, relationship problems and juggling multiple tasks. Imagine having to pick up your child from tuition, take your father to the dentist, and buy a birthday cake… all before lunchtime.

Major life events such as a divorce, serious illness or death in our family, can really test our courage and confidence.

Resilient young woman with a positive outlook

The key to successfully managing these challenges is to build emotional resilience. Those with low resilience may respond to difficulties by giving up or by being unable to function.

Resilient people adapt well to stressful situations and life-changing conditions bravely and with dignity. They face adversities with confidence in their problem-solving abilities to handle crises and the courage to overcome obstacles.

Everyone can learn resilience

Resilience involves a number of skills that will help you cope with stress and take you through the hardships of life. Building personal resilience involves understanding your thinking style and learning to adopt new thinking skills and adaptive behaviours.

How To Develop Resilience

#1 Make Connections

Create and maintain supportive relationships with friends and family members. During times of hardship, resilient people can rely on these strong relationships for help and social support. Also, consider getting involved in groups for activities that you enjoy (e.g. cycling, badminton or playing the guitar).

#2 Learn Optimism

Resilient people are optimistic. They acknowledge the difficulties in adverse events but pay more attention to the positive aspects. A resilient mindset holds the perception that bad things are temporary and can change for the better, so there is hope for the future. When you experience a setback and feel down about it, think of another way to interpret the situation, as that will affect how you feel.

#3 Develop Healthy Self-Esteem

Positive self-image and confidence help you manage difficulties and increase the level of control you have over your life. Think about your achievements and learn to recognise your strengths and accomplishments. Recalling your accomplishments will remind you of your strengths, and your strengths will help you cope with difficult times.

#4 Look for Meaning in Experiences

Resilient individuals overcome adversity because they often find meaning in it. Invest time and energy into something (no matter how small) that gives you a sense of meaning and purpose.

#5 Learn to Manage Strong Feelings

When we experience adversity, it is normal to have negative thoughts and feel strong negative emotions such as stress, frustration, anger, helplessness and a sense of uncertainty. The key is to manage these feelings effectively so they don’t overwhelm you. Remain calm and don’t let your negative feelings stop you from effectively dealing with situations. One way is to have a break and take some deep breaths before you do or say anything.

#6 Laugh More

If you can find humour in the hardships you encounter, your stress and tension levels will feel more bearable and your hardship more manageable. Tell jokes, make people laugh and look for humour in everyday life.

Find out more about Mental Wellbeing!

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