Have you ever wondered why some people are able to cope, manage, and handle a difficult situation, while others appear to come undone? People that are able to keep their cool and work through a stressful experience are resilient – they have the ability to recover and bounce back from serious problems, setbacks, health emergencies, tragedy, or loss.

Instead of falling apart, resilient people are able to use their skills and strengths to cope and recover from serious challenges. These problems may include job loss, financial problems, illness, natural disasters, medical emergencies, divorce, or the death of a loved one. Resilient people experience the same range of emotions and pain like everyone else, but they face their situations with healthy coping strategies and responses.  

You don’t have to be a Navy SEAL, firefighter, or an NFL football player to be resilient. Resilience is a common trait that you can build upon by developing certain skills. Research has shown that while some people are naturally more resilient, these behaviors can also be learned. Here are some techniques to foster your own resilience.

Resiliency can only be defined by you.

Develop a sense of purpose in your life. In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in your life. Become involved in your community, develop your spirituality, or participate in activities that are meaningful to you.

Believe in yourself and your abilities. Research has demonstrated that self-esteem plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Remind yourself of your previous accomplishments, abilities, and strengths. Becoming more confident in your ability to respond to and deal with difficult times is a great way to build resilience for the future.

Develop and use your social network. Develop relationships and participate in a thriving and healthy community of coworkers, family, friends, or people in your community. Having a support system is important for discussing decisions, sharing fears and feelings, receiving counsel, and developing solutions. Remember, resilience does not mean you need to live through difficult times alone.

Accept change. Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. Through learning how to become more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a crisis. Resilient people often see life’s storms as an opportunity to grow and mature. It is during these times that resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

The glass is half full. Maintaining a positive perspective during difficult times is essential to resiliency. It is important to maintain a hopeful attitude while dealing with a difficult situation.

Nurture yourself. Take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs first. You’ll be able to face life’s challenges when you’ve taken the time to care for your own health and personal needs. This means nutritious meals and snacks, rest, sleep, exercise, and reaching out to others for help.

Develop problem-solving skills. Whenever you encounter a problem, take some time to sit down and define it. Develop potential solutions and ways to solve or address the issue, then identify who can help.

Practice yoga and meditation. Research shows that a small amount of yoga can bring lasting benefits related to increasing productivity, stress reduction, mood improvement, and resiliency. There are some very good online resources available, such as Headspace.

Exercise. Exercise has shown to be beneficial for stress relief, physical and mental health, sleep improvement, and overall well-being. As always, seek the advice of your healthcare provider to discuss your health needs and goals.

Faith.  Exercising trust in something greater than one’s self can help us explore why things happen from a different perspective and to work through life’s challenges in a more compassionate way. Resilient people have the ability to be open and explore various roads of faith, faith communities, and expressions of faith.

Resiliency can only be defined by you. How do you plan to bounce back after an emotional, physical, or spiritual challenge? Answering these questions might help:

Write down three simple goals to become more resilient.
Example: I want to become less stressed when I get a flare up.

Write down how you are going to accomplish your goals and develop a timeline.
Example: I intend to learn yoga and meditation so that I can better manage my stress. I intend to join a yoga group at my gym. I think this will help me manage flare ups better, and I am giving myself 90 days.

Lastly, if you feel comfortable, write down the name(s) of people that you are going to share your answers with so that they can encourage and support you. Sign and date!
Example: I will share my resiliency goals with my husband and friends at the gym.