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How to Build Resilience

To develop and maintain your resilience, you can incorporate resilience enhancing activities into your regular routines. When you sense your resilience slipping, increase the time you spend on these activities to give yourself a resilience boost.

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

Since resilience is a state of being, our level of resilience is constantly changing. Sometimes we feel very resilient, which allows us to be more adaptive, flexible, and collaborative. After experiencing high stress or an emotional storm, we may find our resilience has slipped and we know this because we become more irritable or moody, or maybe we have trouble sleeping (see characteristics of low resilience).

To develop and maintain your resilience, you can incorporate resilience enhancing activities into your regular routine. When you sense your resilience slipping, increase the time you spend on these activities to give yourself a resilience boost. 

Luckily, there are hundreds of activities you can engage in that build resilience. Here are just a few examples divided by the five resilience factors:

Self-Care

  • Exercise
  • Dance
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Avoid toxic people
  • Schedule downtime for yourself
  • Take a vacation
  • Take a mental health day
  • Engage in breathing exercises
  • Get a pet
  • Manage your workload
  • Engage in quiet reflection and contemplation
  • Meditate, practice mindfulness, pray
  • Play sports and games
  • Engage in a hobby

Social Support

  • Work on your relationships with friends and family
  • Talk about what you’re going through with a trusted friend or mentor
  • Nurture new relationships
  • Commit to regular social interaction
  • Ask a friend or colleague to lunch
  • Host a dinner party or social gathering
  • Join a club/team
  • Organize an interest group

Problem Solving

  • Practice asking others for help
  • Set boundaries and say no
  • Ask questions and be a good listener
  • Anticipate change and view change as an opportunity for growth
  • Give yourself adequate time to process change
  • Identify and address the source of problems you’re facing
  • Develop a logical way to work through problems – ask why
  • Look back to how you successfully handled other setbacks and challenges
  • Work with family and friends to identify potential solutions to new challenges
  • Prioritize people and things that are important to you
  • Focus on things that you have control over
  • Use a to-do list

Meaning & Purpose

  • Volunteer
  • Join a religious community
  • Write down your personal goals
  • Actively work to turn your dreams into actions
  • Look for activities outside of work that bring you a sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment
  • Stop and think about your choices and ask fundamental questions about career and family priorities, how you spend your time, how your life could feel better, richer, or more meaningful
  • Have a passion for something

Positive Outlook

  • Focus on the part of your life that is going well
  • Limit negative and self-defeating thoughts
  • Visualize yourself being successful and happy
  • Evaluate your reasons for living your lifestyle and find a way to resolve any feelings of doubt, resentment, and/or guilt
  • Record three positive things every day
  • Compliment someone else every day
  • Learn appropriate ways to express your anger
  • Reframe how you view negative events to see them in a more positive light
  • Say thank you

What do you do to build resilience? What can you start doing today?

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