How to build resilience to face what life throws at you

ISBN: 9781869227463

Publishing Date:

Imagine having abundant inner strength and resourcefulness to withstand and recover quickly from whatever difficulties life may throw at you. With Building Resilience you can.

Packed with practical exercises and inspirational stories, this groundbreaking, research-based book will show you (step-by-step) how to cultivate inner resilience and stand unshakeable in the face of life’s challenges.

Building Resilience offers practical tools to help you master modern-day stresses and stop them from negatively affecting your work, colleagues and family. No matter what personal or professional challenges come your way, you will be able to:

• Remain calm and healthy
• Reduce worry
• Experience more hope and optimism
• Bounce back stronger

The book is divided into three parts. The first part covers how resilience works, the resilience building blocks, principles and steps, and includes a personal resilience questionnaire.

Part two covers seven principles of resilience with stories, tools and exercises on how each can be improved:

• Connect to your meaning in life
• Use your strengths
• Maintain perspective
• Generate positive feelings
• Be realistically positive
• Persevere by being open minded and flexible

Part three applies the building resilience principles and tools to work which apply to work and home settings. The work section outlines several strategies with practical exercises to create resilient teams. The home section contains 24 activities to enhance and reinforce children’s resilience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rod Warner has over 20 years’ experience in the field of performance improvement and has researched and published in the field of resilience. He runs the internationally acclaimed Building Resilience workshops. Delegates in the workshop say the exercises and tools in this book changed their lives.

Rod is based in Cape Town and heads up Building Resilience. He has wide consulting experience and in-depth experience in learning, design facilitation and skills development. He has researched, developed interventions, presented and published in the field in building resilience, change management and organisational performance. He has held positions heading up HR and Development and in sales and marketing. He has a degree in psychology and economics and a postgraduate teacher diploma and is a Chartered HR Practitioner with the South African Board of Personal Practice. He has run over 100 marathons and ultra marathons, including 20 Comrades Marathons.

Important E-Book Information

Important Information to Review Before Making This E-Book Purchase

E-books use the standard Adobe PDF file format or EPUB format. To view it, you need the Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded for free at Adobe.com or EPUB reader, which can be downloaded for free on a Google search.

Return Policy

E-books and other downloadable products are non-returnable and non-refundable.

Usage Terms for Knowledge Resources/Knowres Publishing E-Books and Other Downloadable Products

1. Upon purchase of an e-book or other product, you must download the file immediately of the date of purchase.

2. You may print copies of the e-book or other downloadable product for your personal use only. You may not lend, sell or otherwise transfer any hard copy to another user.

3. You may copy/paste up to 10 pages for your personal use only. You may not copy/paste any diagrams, figures, or artwork.

4. Except as permitted above, you may not copy the file or any part of the file for any purpose, including to move the file to a different computer or to lend, sell or otherwise transfer the e-book or other downloadable product to another user.

Discovering ways to adapt to what life throws at you makes you more able to cope.

  • By Shamash Alidina
  • August 2, 2016
  • Health

How to build resilience to face what life throws at youldep/Adobe Stock

Resilience is the process of effectively coping with adversity—it’s about bouncing back from difficulties. The great thing about resilience is that it’s not a personality trait; it involves a way of paying attention, thinking, and behaving that anyone can learn.

World-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found evidence that mindfulness does increase resilience, and the more mindfulness meditation you practice, the more resilient your brain becomes. The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. For example, if you have an argument with your partner before leaving for work, you can end up replaying that conversation all day, which continues to proliferate anxiety or low mood far more than is necessary. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.

The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.

When I was a school teacher, sometimes the stress was incredibly high. I had SO much work to do and not enough time to do it. On top of that, dealing with difficult behaviour, demanding parents and requests from the management team, I certainly felt under pressure.

Fortunately, I had mindfulness to help me cope with the challenges. And I later discovered that mindfulness and related strategies were helping me cope.

There are several key aspects of resilience:

  • Positive relationships—is the most important factor.
  • The ability to make plans and take action to solve problems.
  • The capacity to manage difficult emotions—mindfulness is an important aspect here.
  • Effective communication skills.

Here are five ways to build resilience:

  1. Nurture relationships. Have a range of positive, supportive connections within and outside your family. If you don’t, take steps to improve the situation. Join a club, local group, volunteer group, or an evening class.
  1. Find meaning in difficulties. When faced with adversity, see if you can discover some positive way in which you’ve dealt with the challenge. People often report improved relationships, greater consciousness, or appreciation of life in the face of great difficulties.
  1. Be optimistic. Use mindfulness to shift your attention from negative rumination to more positive thoughts about the future. Hope and optimism is a choice. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that very stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your response to that. The tiniest of changes counts, and meditation can help.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that very stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your response to that.

  1. Be decisive. Make decisions and take action rather than hoping things will get better one day. If you’re not good at this, read about how to improve this skill or ask a trusted friend to help. Not making a decision is in itself a decision.
  1. Accept that change is part of living. Expect things to change and adversity to occur, rather than pretend all will always be well. Change is part of life. Your goal is to cope effectively rather than avoid loss or pain.

When it comes to resilience, flexibility is the name of the game. Discovering ways to adapt to the changes that life throws at you makes you more able to cope.

Reflection: What simple action can you take to begin increasing your resilience? It can be as simple as picking up the phone and making a call every day.

How to build resilience to face what life throws at you

There are many advantages to fostering resilience. Resilience helps people face and manage positive and
negative life events. Resilient people persist in the face of obstacles and, when necessary, accept circumstances that cannot be changed. Resilience provides a buffer to protect us from psychological and physical health consequences during difficult times. Some people never develop resilience. Others are quite resilient but do not recognize it; they may avoid challenges they could easily surmount. Sometimes, resilience is worn down by multiple stressors and challenges.

Focus on your strengths

Focus on your strengths and what you can do well. Strengths-based focus. Seven areas have been identified that help you to build resilience:

(1) good health and an easy temperament;

(2) secure attachment and basic trust in other people;

(3) interpersonal competence including the ability to recruit help;

(4) cognitive competence that encompasses the ability to read, capacity to plan, self-efficacy and intelligence;

(5) emotional competence including diverse emotional skills such as the ability to regulate one’s emotions, delay gratification, maintain realistically high self-esteem and employ creativity and
humour to one’s benefit;

(6) the ability and opportunity to contribute to others;

(7) holding faith that your life matters and life has meaning, including a moral sense of connection to others. We believe these seven areas provide a broad net with which to capture ‘strengths’.

Which of the above are you better at? Make a determined effort to focus on what you CAN do rather than what you CAN’T do.

Obstacles are the window into resilience because there is no need to be resilient until one
encounters difficulties. Without setbacks, we never know how well we will cope…

Think about some of the difficulties you run into in your daily life – debt, difficult people, lack of time, self doubt…how do you overcome this? Therein lies your resilience. TAKE CREDIT FOR IT!! Write it down, stick it on fridge and see it every day. Own it!

Build your own model of your resilience

We are different with individual strengths. Make a list of yours. Know it well – it will help you build your personal resilience ‘armour’ and confidence.

Here are some examples of examples of personal resilience:

  • I think about how I can help others,
  • I actively imagine other people and how I am helping them, (shows empathy = a strength)
  • I trust in my ability to work hard,
  • I use humour,
  • I give myself time to think of good ideas,
  • I stick to it until I get the results I want

Example:
Personal model of resilience
Strengths Strategies Images/metaphors
Committed to my group Think about how I can help others Disc jockey
Like to make people feel good Actively imagine other people Flexible toughness
Think about my friends laughing
and feeling better

Trust in my ability to work hard Stay on a bucking bull
Work a long time without
getting tired
Use humour
Good sense of humour
Give myself time to think of good ideas
Good ideas
Stick to it until I get the results I want
Make a good vlog when

I stick to it Use criticism or a mistake as a chance

to make something work better

Apply your resilience in your life

Think about how you could use your strengths in everyday life. What characteristics do you have that might help you to deal with difficulties in life? Patience, tolerance, open mindedness? Staying resilient is important in itself without having found a solution, sometimes there aren’t immediate solutions and resilience is still needed for these situations. In fact, resilience is even more important when there is no immediate solution. Somethings are just beyond out control – temporarily or permanently. Part of being resilient is knowing this fact.

Practise resilience

Think of a situation where you feel you are unable to cope, Then set up an experiment. Put yourself in that situation – whether means standing up to your boss or being assertive with your partner and decide beforehand how you can use your skills to stay strong. Predict how much you could take – 5 minutes?

This isn’t about the outcome, rather it’s about how you managed to cope being late for that appointment or standing up for yourself when your boss criticises you. Think of difficult situations as a good chance for you to practise being resilient.

This perspective changes life into a ‘win–win’ experience. If things go well, you win. If things do not go well, you have another chance to ‘win’ by being resilient. This perspective often enables my clients to embrace challenges and can help them overcome avoidance. Thus, resilience practise not only
helps people manage life difficulties, it minimizes the number of life events that are experienced as aversive.

Use imagery

When it comes to envisioning positive events, imagery is linked to greater positive mood than thinking about positive events in words. Imagine yourself coping well, visualise yourself talking assertively to that person who scares or intimidates you. Imagery can be a very powerful tool.

We all have strengths but often we don’t identify them. Yet, we all face challenges on a daily basis – time pressure, peer pressure, financial troubles, taxes, difficult and unreasonable people etc Think a little about the difficult things you have overcome and think about those skills you used to get through. Try to use those same skills in other situations that challenge you – you are often stronger and more capable than you realise!

How to build resilience to face what life throws at you

How to build resilience to face what life throws at you

Resilience is our ability to adapt and cope with difficult things that happen in life. It’s what helps us to bounce back and to keep going no matter how hard things are. Often we’re surprised by the extent of our resilience and how we’re able to cope with much more than we might have realised. But as humans we’re hardwired to be able to cope with all sorts of things that happen to us in our lives and we have a natural resilience that kicks in when we need it.

However, resilience is something that we also can all build and nurture within ourselves and can increase our ability to cope when life throws challenges our way. We often have little control over things that happen to us in life…the death of a loved one, illness, loosing jobs, breakups, terror attacks, war, poverty, abuse… However, we can control how we respond and react when these things happen.

Here are some ways to help you build your resilience and to support you to cope when the going gets tough.

Take each day as it comes.

Sometimes thinking too far ahead or trying to deal with everything that is going on in your life at once can get overwhelming. Try focusing on the here and now. Break things down into manageable chunks and focus on getting through each day or hour. Give yourself small achievable goals and reward yourself when you complete them. Getting through tough times happens minute by minute, you are doing it already, just keep going.

Change is part of life. Learn to embrace it.

Change can feel scary and uncertain but it can be a really positive thing. Try to be curious and open to it. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned and things can happen in life that bring about change that you didn’t expect or want. However, change also brings about new opportunity. As much as we might crave security and predictability life doesn’t always work like this, by being open to change (and expecting it!) we can grow our adaptability and resilance.

Learn to trust yourself and your ability to cope.

You have an incredible ability to cope with all sorts of things that life throws at you and you are probably much stronger than you realise. Have faith in yourself and practice trusting yourself and the decisions you make. You have the ability to cope and to solve all sorts of problems and challenges, build your confidence to tap into this. You are your best guide!

Look after yourself

Taking care of yourself physcially and emotionally is really important and we often forget to do this, especially in tough times. However it’s when things get tough that it’s even more important to look after yourself. Eating properly, exercising, socialising and resting are key to resilience and being able to cope. As tempting as it is to neglect them do your best to nourish and support yourself.

Take control of your mind

Our minds can very easily take us down a rabbit hole of negative thoughts, unhelpful thinking and fear. It’s easy to get caught up in thinking but your thoughts do not control you. Practice trying to recognise your thoughts as just being thoughts and try to step outside of them even if just for a few moments. Some people find meditation and mindfulness helpful to do this. Your thoughts don’t control you and sometimes our minds can torture us but we can choose not to succumb to this. Forcing yourself to recognise that your thoughts are running away from you is a really good place to start. Even if you can only step outside them for a few seconds to begin with, the more you practice the easier it will become.

Ask for what you need and be assertive

If someone is asking too much of you tell them! Be clear about what you can and can’t do and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Being clear and upfront with people can be helpful for you and them and can make sure you’re not overloading yourself, especially if things are tough. It can also reduce uncertainty. By addressing something head on you reduce the need to worry about it. If it’s causing you stress take steps to sort it out.

Switch off and make time for play!

Never feel guilty for allowing yourself a little light relief. Even when you’re going through a really tough patch, it’s ok to feel happy at times, to laugh and to enjoy life. Try and make some time to do things you enjoy and to give yourself a break. A few minutes of laughter or playfulness can do wonders and can help you to keep going.

Let yourself feel your emotions

It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to feel however you feel and it’s good to let these emotions out! Whilst it’s not a great idea to let your emotions overwhelm you all the time, make sure you do allow yourself time to feel what you are feeling and get in touch with your emotions rather than try and force them away. Sometimes there’s alot of pressure to feel a certain way or to aspire to always be ‘happy’, but actually all of our different emotions are equally valid and human beings are designed to experience a whole range.

Be kind to yourself

We all too often beat ourselves up for struggling, for having ‘bad days’ or for not feeling or acting as we think we should. Make sure you show yourself some love and kindness and look after yourself. You’re doing great and there is no right way to be or to deal with difficult times, everyone is different and everyone copes in their own way. Show yourself compassion and love, you deserve it.

Ask for support when you need it

Make sure that if you do need some extra support that you reach out and ask for it. There is lots of support out there but sometimes you need to take responsibility for getting your needs met. Whether it’s asking friends and family, using professional services or jumping on TalkLife for a chat. Don’t suffer on your own!

Life is full of ups and downs, it’s a rollercoaster. Sometimes we feel able to cope and other times it’s much harder. By building your resilience you are strengthening your emotional muscles ready for when you need them! Life can be seriously tough. But so can you!

TalkLife is a place for you to talk about the ups and downs of life, anytime. A community where you can give and get support. You can download TalkLife free on iOS here, and Android Here.

ISBN: 9781869227463

Publishing Date:

Imagine having abundant inner strength and resourcefulness to withstand and recover quickly from whatever difficulties life may throw at you. With Building Resilience you can.

Packed with practical exercises and inspirational stories, this groundbreaking, research-based book will show you (step-by-step) how to cultivate inner resilience and stand unshakeable in the face of life’s challenges.

Building Resilience offers practical tools to help you master modern-day stresses and stop them from negatively affecting your work, colleagues and family. No matter what personal or professional challenges come your way, you will be able to:

• Remain calm and healthy
• Reduce worry
• Experience more hope and optimism
• Bounce back stronger

The book is divided into three parts. The first part covers how resilience works, the resilience building blocks, principles and steps, and includes a personal resilience questionnaire.

Part two covers seven principles of resilience with stories, tools and exercises on how each can be improved:

• Connect to your meaning in life
• Use your strengths
• Maintain perspective
• Generate positive feelings
• Be realistically positive
• Persevere by being open minded and flexible

Part three applies the building resilience principles and tools to work which apply to work and home settings. The work section outlines several strategies with practical exercises to create resilient teams. The home section contains 24 activities to enhance and reinforce children’s resilience.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Rod Warner has over 20 years’ experience in the field of performance improvement and has researched and published in the field of resilience. He runs the internationally acclaimed Building Resilience workshops. Delegates in the workshop say the exercises and tools in this book changed their lives.

Rod is based in Cape Town and heads up Building Resilience. He has wide consulting experience and in-depth experience in learning, design facilitation and skills development. He has researched, developed interventions, presented and published in the field in building resilience, change management and organisational performance. He has held positions heading up HR and Development and in sales and marketing. He has a degree in psychology and economics and a postgraduate teacher diploma and is a Chartered HR Practitioner with the South African Board of Personal Practice. He has run over 100 marathons and ultra marathons, including 20 Comrades Marathons.

Important E-Book Information

Important Information to Review Before Making This E-Book Purchase

E-books use the standard Adobe PDF file format or EPUB format. To view it, you need the Adobe Reader, which can be downloaded for free at Adobe.com or EPUB reader, which can be downloaded for free on a Google search.

Return Policy

E-books and other downloadable products are non-returnable and non-refundable.

Usage Terms for Knowledge Resources/Knowres Publishing E-Books and Other Downloadable Products

1. Upon purchase of an e-book or other product, you must download the file immediately of the date of purchase.

2. You may print copies of the e-book or other downloadable product for your personal use only. You may not lend, sell or otherwise transfer any hard copy to another user.

3. You may copy/paste up to 10 pages for your personal use only. You may not copy/paste any diagrams, figures, or artwork.

4. Except as permitted above, you may not copy the file or any part of the file for any purpose, including to move the file to a different computer or to lend, sell or otherwise transfer the e-book or other downloadable product to another user.

Discovering ways to adapt to what life throws at you makes you more able to cope.

  • By Shamash Alidina
  • August 2, 2016
  • Health

How to build resilience to face what life throws at youldep/Adobe Stock

Resilience is the process of effectively coping with adversity—it’s about bouncing back from difficulties. The great thing about resilience is that it’s not a personality trait; it involves a way of paying attention, thinking, and behaving that anyone can learn.

World-renowned neuroscientist Richard Davidson has found evidence that mindfulness does increase resilience, and the more mindfulness meditation you practice, the more resilient your brain becomes. The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. For example, if you have an argument with your partner before leaving for work, you can end up replaying that conversation all day, which continues to proliferate anxiety or low mood far more than is necessary. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.

The emotional soup that follows a stressful event can whip up negative stories about yourself or others that goes on and on, beyond being useful. Mindfulness reduces this rumination and, if practiced regularly, changes your brain so that you’re more resilient to future stressful events.

When I was a school teacher, sometimes the stress was incredibly high. I had SO much work to do and not enough time to do it. On top of that, dealing with difficult behaviour, demanding parents and requests from the management team, I certainly felt under pressure.

Fortunately, I had mindfulness to help me cope with the challenges. And I later discovered that mindfulness and related strategies were helping me cope.

There are several key aspects of resilience:

  • Positive relationships—is the most important factor.
  • The ability to make plans and take action to solve problems.
  • The capacity to manage difficult emotions—mindfulness is an important aspect here.
  • Effective communication skills.

Here are five ways to build resilience:

  1. Nurture relationships. Have a range of positive, supportive connections within and outside your family. If you don’t, take steps to improve the situation. Join a club, local group, volunteer group, or an evening class.
  1. Find meaning in difficulties. When faced with adversity, see if you can discover some positive way in which you’ve dealt with the challenge. People often report improved relationships, greater consciousness, or appreciation of life in the face of great difficulties.
  1. Be optimistic. Use mindfulness to shift your attention from negative rumination to more positive thoughts about the future. Hope and optimism is a choice. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that very stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your response to that. The tiniest of changes counts, and meditation can help.

Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that very stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your response to that.

  1. Be decisive. Make decisions and take action rather than hoping things will get better one day. If you’re not good at this, read about how to improve this skill or ask a trusted friend to help. Not making a decision is in itself a decision.
  1. Accept that change is part of living. Expect things to change and adversity to occur, rather than pretend all will always be well. Change is part of life. Your goal is to cope effectively rather than avoid loss or pain.

When it comes to resilience, flexibility is the name of the game. Discovering ways to adapt to the changes that life throws at you makes you more able to cope.

Reflection: What simple action can you take to begin increasing your resilience? It can be as simple as picking up the phone and making a call every day.

According to management consultants Salvatore Maddi and Deborah Khoshaba, there might be some truth to the aphorism “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” In Resilience at Work, they base their ideas on a twelve-year study of Illinois Bell Telephone (IBT) employees who experienced continual organizational change; the authors also draw on their own consulting and training experiences. Given the increasingly stressful world in which everyone lives, they believe resilience is the key to success.

The IBT project began in 1975 and was funded by the company itself in partnership with the National Institutes of Health. Maddi (who is also a psychologist) and a research team evaluated 450 male and female supervisors, managers, and decision makers with annual interviews, psychological tests, medical examinations, and work-performance reviews. During the dozen years of the study, companies in the “Ma Bell” monopoly experienced monumental upheaval due to the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. Nearly half the employees in the sample lost their jobs; two-thirds experienced stress-related effects including heart attacks, depression and anxiety disorder, substance abuse, and divorce. One-third of the employees “survived and thrived despite the stressful changes,” according to the authors. “If these individuals stayed at IBT, they rose to the top of the heap. If they left, they either started companies of their own or took strategically important employment in other companies.”

How did these people turn the lemons into lemonade? Maddi and his team examined their employment records to determine if there were differences in personality and coping styles that separated the apparently resilient from the vulnerable. They determined that three basic attitudes permitted the stronger group to do well: commitment, control, and challenge.

An attitude of commitment, for instance, creates an ability to engage fully in work tasks. This helps individuals understand and interpret events affecting them.

The second attitude, control, is empowering for employees. As the authors write, one person might consider all the possible implications of change for her, her colleagues, and the company—and believe she is able to have some influence over her situation, which allows her to cope. Another, though, could panic and withdraw, believing she has little control over any change.

The third attitude is challenge. People with high resilience view change as part of everyday life. While they may not be elated with each new stress that occurs, they nevertheless search for underlying opportunities.

Armed with these attitudes, the “resilient” group in the study was able to use the important skills the authors call transformational coping and social support. These skills allowed employees to take advantage of their individual circumstances, viewing these circumstances from a broader, more balanced perspective and realizing that others were being affected in similar ways. These people also built strong support networks and understood the value of building and strengthening relationships in stressful times.

The authors offer techniques for readers to develop hardiness for managing in high-pressure situations. The first four chapters provide a clear explanation of resilience—highlighting personality attributes that are associated with it and illustrating how these features can lead to resilient behavior even when developed in adulthood. The next five chapters provide practical strategies for creating and maintaining resilient behaviors. The authors rely heavily on case examples from their consulting experiences to illustrate the techniques. Finally, the last three chapters focus on developing organizational resilience.—Mallory Stark

A support network is an important part of creating resilience.

There is a mental health crisis on America’s college campuses.

Increasingly, today’s students are lonely. More and more of them are anxious. Many are experiencing depression. And that’s leading them to college counseling centers at ever-increasing rates. One major recent study showed that 75% of current college students say they need help for emotional or mental health problems.

Most colleges and universities are determined to support their students so that they can succeed in their studies. But demands on counseling centers are becoming so great that it’s hard for them to meet students’ counseling needs.

Part of the solution is working to develop resilience among our incoming college students.

Resilience, in its literal definition, means being able to withstand or quickly bounce back from challenging situations. In psychological terms, resilience means knowing how to react to adversity, trauma or stress. It means knowing how to acknowledge these roadblocks, address them and adapt to them.

Building resilience means building an ability to bounce back from the things life throws at all of us. And it’s key for effective functioning as an adult—or as a college student.

The American Psychological Association recommends several ways people can work to build their resilience. The most important ones include:

  • Having a strong network of supportive people who will listen to your problems.
  • Working toward goals by focusing on small steps. Moving forward toward a solution will remind you that you have control over what’s happening.
  • Developing self-confidence. The more you’re able to bounce back from setbacks, the more you’ll know that you’ll be able to do it the next time you face a hurdle.

Many of the life skills I always emphasize for college students are also integral to building resilience.

Students should remember to take care of themselves: eating regularly, exercising and getting enough sleep. People work better and think better when they’re taking care of their physical self. And they’re better equipped to handle challenges when they’re thinking more clearly.

Keeping things in perspective is essential for students. Simply put: bad things happen. Life changes, and it’s important to resist the temptation to catastrophize. A resilient student is able to acknowledge that a setback isn’t the end of the world.

And students should keep social media in perspective. We all have a temptation to get overly engrossed in all those photos and likes and memes, but resiliency means knowing how to use social media productively. It’s not helpful for anyone to waste time getting sucked into negativity.

At colleges and universities, we help by providing not just counseling resources but also the less formal networks that help build resilience. It’s why clubs and activities are important, because they create communities of common interest. It’s why resident assistants and peer counselors make a difference, because they can help students develop coping strategies so that small problems don’t become big ones.

It’s why many colleges and universities offer courses like the UNV 101 class I teach at Pace, where we help incoming students learn how to be better, more effective students—students who have strategies for managing their schoolwork and lives, and who know where to turn for help when they need it.

Parents can help, too. Before you send your students off to college, you can help them build resilience and emotional maturity by making sure they’re ready for life on their own.

Make sure your kids know how to cook for themselves, do laundry, and manage their money. If they’re being treated for any mental-health issues, make sure there’s a plan for continuing care once they get to college. Students will be more resilient when they’re starting from a strong footing.

It can also help to tell your kids about struggles you’ve faced, and how you overcame them. I often tell first-year students about my freshman calculus class, when I got the worst grade I’d ever received on a midterm and thought I’d never be able to pass the class. But I asked for help, worked with a tutor, and ultimately pulled through. That kind of context can help students understand that others have built resilience, too.

College is about trying new things. That can lead to wonderful triumphs—and sometimes to stumbles. When they stumble, students need to know how to brush themselves off and keep going. Everyone finds their own best way of doing that. That’s ultimately what resilience is all about.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s adage ‘That which does not kill us makes us stronger’ is the idea of rising above adversity in reaching personal development and growth. The challenging part is actually taking the necessary steps to face adversity and rise above it, when life throws a curveball. It is little surprise that resiliency has been linked to greater well-being for a variety of populations, including those of childhood trauma, those in life transitions, and those in team development and skills-building. Yet, developing and increasing our individual resiliency is often avoided or denied because by developing resilience we are required to face often painful challenges that may not want to be faced.

Resiliency theory has posited resiliency as being a trait, a process, a set of outcome behaviors or an interconnected combination of all three which additionally include both internal and external constructs. Internal constructs may include things like having a sense of humor or adapting a positive attitude whereas external constructs may include social support from family, job, friends or group affiliation. Through these combined constructs and processes, a person is said to be resilient when they can bounce back after a traumatic or adverse event affects them.

Much research exists that discusses ways to increase resiliency when faced with adverse life conditions. For example, creating healthy boundaries in interpersonal relationships may help manage the effects of stress. If a life event caused significant pain or grief, being able to say “no” and establish boundaries and personal space are important in addressing growth and resiliency. Similarly, increasing how much sleep you get, limiting alcohol, practicing mindfulness or meditation, taking up calming exercises such as yoga, and reducing compulsive behavioral habits may all help when facing adversity and in increasing overall resiliency.

In addition to the skills and options outlined above for building and increasing your resiliency, here are six specific goals that can help you in creating and reaching the objectives you set for yourself.

6 Goal-Directed Resiliency Strategies

1. Pushing Past Fears

There’s an old saying that talks about how it’s okay to be scared but to not let it stop us. Those who are resilient are looking past their fears and focusing on their personal goals. By pushing through what scares them (i.e. facing toxic habits, dismissing unhealthy relationships from their lives, learning healthy, new skills) they are empowering themselves in recognizing their value and worth. While stopping a self-sabotaging habit or walking away from an unhealthy relationship with family or friends may be tough at first, in the long run it increases inner strength and helps a person grow in self-awareness, both of which are important in building resiliency.

2. Goals and Behavior

When a person chooses to increase their resiliency, they are also choosing to align their values, their goals and their behavior to make sure they are all in sync. For example, if you have a specific goal of increasing your sense of autonomy and self-direction, part of that goal may include a value you have set for yourself such as not comparing yourself to others or in allowing yourself time to build your resiliency. By holding true to your own values, your goal-directed behavior can become a goal you reach.

Similarly, when your values, behaviors and goals are out of sync you may notice that you are not reaching your desired outcome as fast as you hope to. If this is noticed, it may be a time to refocus and make modifications to your goals so that you can once again be on track with where you want to be.

3. Journal to Realign

Sometimes when a person is faced with adversity or struggles they may feel overwhelmed and may not be able to talk about what is bothering them. This often leads to a viscous cycle where nothing is ventured and nothing gained. By journaling, whether it is electronically or by writing in a notebook, you are able to get your thoughts and feelings out on paper which can help you reorganize your needs and help you in creating goals aligned with enhancing your resiliency.

Some clinicians suggest using several methods to journal (emailing or texting yourself; old school pen and paper) as these tap into different areas of creativity and may help you reach your goals faster. Another option is to have a theme or topic ahead of time, and then use that theme for your journaling.

4. Change Your Mindset

When you hear words like “suffer” or “pain” you can begin thinking of yourself as having been victimized or that you are a bystander in your own life. The words you choose to identify yourself and your experiences can affect how you feel and what you believe to be true about yourself. Using positive words like “thriving” and “empowered” can help restructure the lens from which you view your world. By choosing to look at adversity as empowering you are taking control of your life and the choices and goals you set for yourself.

5. Positively Challenge Yourself

Resiliency is about reframing adverse life events as a way of rising to new challenges and conquering them. Those who are resilient often view challenges in their life as exciting or motivating where they begin setting new goals or where the lessons gained from past experience are now taken with them in their lives. By looking at adversity as a personal and positive challenge it can build your inner strength by creating goals that are aligned in overcoming those challenges.

6. Engage in Self-Care

Self-care is more than a trip to a day spa or getting a massage. While these are amazing and can help promote a sense of peace and calm, self-care includes so much more. For example, creating time each day to exercise, to meditate, to meal-plan are often associated with self-care. Self-care may include taking time out to learn how to create a healthy budget where you follow the “30-30-30-10” rule or similar plan that works with your specific goals. Self-care may include talk therapy with a skilled clinician who can help empower you while helping create other goals for you. Or your personal self-care may include becoming more selective on people you keep in your life while strengthening the relationships you choose to keep.

Ardelt, M., & Grunwald, S. (2018). The importance of self-reflection and awareness for human development in hard times. Research in Human Development, 15, 187 – 199.

Hufana, A.,Hufana, M. L., & Consoli, M. (2019). “I push through and stick with it”: Exploring resilience among Filipino American adults . Asian American Journal of Psychology, 11 , 3 – 13.

Munoz, R. T., Hanks, H., Hellman. C. M. (2019). Hope and resilience as distinct contributors to psychological flourishing among childhood trauma survivors. Traumatology, 26 (2), 177 – 184.

Parmer, L. L. (2019). The relationship between eliminating stressors, developing resiliency, short-term coping skills and team development behaviors. Journal of Organizational Psychology, 19 (5), 114 – 126.