How to build resilience, strength and be more resilient in life? (Complete Guide)

Updated on:

By: Naveen B

Adaptation is key to survival. Yet we know little about what resilience feels like and we are unaware of how to build resilience. In today’s fast-paced world, we are exposed to ever-changing circumstances and challenges.

It seems that we’re always under stress, however, there is little scientific understanding of how stress impacts our body with long-term negative health effects.

It’s essential that we think about resilience not just in terms of dealing with negative events but also in building the kind of resilience that will help us deal with positive ones.

What is resilience?

So, what does resilience mean? 

Let’s understand –

 Definition of resilience: Resilience is simply the ability to deal with adversity with composure, strength, and adaptability.

What is resilience in psychology?

In other words, psychologically resilience is about learning how to bounce back from trauma, failure, fear, and disappointments in life.

It is about learning how to pick yourself up after you’ve fallen down.

Resilience is not about being a victim of life. It’s about rising above that tragic situation and continuing on with your life.

Think of it like the body’s ability to heal from an injury – if you get hit by a car, your body won’t be able to immediately repair itself but you can make it through the ordeal. 

Similarly, you can feel more resilient after a difficult day at work if you can take time for yourself to recharge by going for a walk, meditating, or taking care of friends and family

Related Resource: How to calm down and relax your mind all the time?

Why is resilience important?

Resilience is the ability to maintain a positive emotional state despite great stress.  

Resilience becomes especially important when life takes a bad turn.

In times of great stress if you want to maintain a positive emotional state. then building resilience and strength to adapt to the changing environment is very crucial.

The practice of resilience is an essential aspect of maturing as a human being. It is a lesson learned from our past experiences or from people who have already gone through it.

There is always something that can be done to make oneself more resilient in the face of adversity:

Types of resilience

Building the Four Pillars of Resilience: A Guide to Inner Strength

Resilience isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a fundamental human capacity to navigate life’s inevitable storms. Just like a well-built house needs a strong foundation, resilience requires nurturing different aspects of yourself. Here, we explore the four key types of resilience:

1. Physical Resilience: Bouncing Back From Bodily Challenges

What it is: This refers to your body’s ability to adapt to physical demands, recover from illness or injury, and maintain overall well-being.
Building it: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep are crucial. Research by the American College of Sports Medicine highlights the positive impact of exercise on physical resilience, particularly in preventing chronic diseases.

2. Mental Resilience: Sharpening Your Thinking Under Pressure

What it is: This is your mind’s capacity to stay focused, solve problems effectively, and maintain a positive outlook even during challenging situations.
Building it: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has been shown to be an effective tool in developing mental resilience. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that CBT helped individuals develop coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and anxiety.

3. Emotional Resilience: Weathering the Storm of Feelings

What it is: This refers to your ability to manage difficult emotions effectively, bounce back from emotional setbacks, and regulate your emotional state.
Building it: Mindfulness practices like meditation have been linked to improved emotional resilience. A meta-analysis published in the journal Psychological Medicine suggests that mindfulness training can help individuals regulate their emotions and reduce stress.

4. Social Resilience: Finding Strength in Your Connections

What it is: This refers to your ability to maintain healthy relationships, seek support from loved ones during challenging times, and contribute positively to your social environment.
Building it: Nurturing strong social connections is key. Research published in the American Journal of Psychiatry demonstrates the positive correlation between social support and resilience in individuals facing adversity.

Characteristics of resilience

These are the list of characteristics of resilient people:

Resilience isn’t about bouncing back instantly from a setback; it’s about the process of navigating life’s challenges and emerging stronger. Here are some key characteristics that define resilient individuals:

Emotional Agility: Imagine being tossed by a wave but regaining your footing swiftly. Resilient people acknowledge their emotions, allowing themselves to feel the sting of disappointment or grief. However, they don’t get swept away by those feelings. They possess the ability to move through them, adopting a more positive outlook and focusing on solutions.

Growth Mindset: Instead of viewing challenges as permanent roadblocks, resilient individuals see them as stepping stones. They believe in their ability to learn and grow from adversity. This fosters a sense of empowerment and allows them to approach difficulties with a “what can I learn from this?” attitude.

Strong Support System: No one is an island. Resilient folks understand the importance of having a reliable network of friends, family, or mentors. These connections provide emotional support, encouragement, and a sense of belonging, which are crucial during tough times.

Resourcefulness and Problem-Solving Skills: Life throws curveballs, and resilient individuals are adept at navigating them. They possess the ability to think critically, analyze situations, and come up with creative solutions to overcome obstacles. They are resourceful, proactively seeking guidance or exploring different avenues when needed.

Self-Compassion: Resilience isn’t about being tough and unemotional. It’s about acknowledging your struggles and treating yourself with kindness. Resilient people understand that setbacks are inevitable, and they don’t beat themselves up over mistakes. Instead, they practice self-compassion, offering themselves understanding and support as they move forward.

By cultivating these characteristics, you can build your inner strength and bounce back from life’s inevitable challenges, even emerging stronger and more prepared for whatever comes your way. Remember, resilience is a journey, not a destination.

Focus on nurturing these qualities, and you’ll be well on your way to fostering a more resilient and fulfilling life.

Factors of resilience

Resilience is the cornerstone of navigating life’s inevitable challenges. It’s the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to adversity, and emerge stronger. But resilience isn’t a singular entity; it manifests in various forms, each crucial for our overall well-being. Let’s delve deeper into four key types of resilience:

1. Physical Resilience:

This refers to your body’s capacity to withstand and recover from physical stress, illness, or injury. It encompasses factors like:

  • Physiological reserves: Your body’s inherent strength, stamina, and ability to heal.
  • Immune function: A robust immune system effectively combats infections and promotes healing.
  • Genetic predisposition: Certain genes can influence your body’s natural resilience.

While genetics play a role, research by [Elizabeth Stearns et al., 2010] in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” suggests lifestyle choices significantly impact physical resilience. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep strengthen your body’s foundation to tackle challenges.

Example: Recovering swiftly from a sports injury due to a combination of good physical conditioning and proper rehabilitation demonstrates physical resilience.

2. Mental Resilience:

This is your mind’s ability to cope with stress, setbacks, and negative emotions. It involves:

  • Cognitive flexibility: The ability to adapt your thinking and problem-solving strategies in the face of challenges.
  • Positive self-talk: Maintaining an optimistic outlook and inner dialogue that fosters self-belief and perseverance.
  • Stress management: Employing healthy coping mechanisms like meditation, exercise, or seeking social support to manage stress effectively.

Studies like the one by [Lisa M. Najavits et al., 2005] published in the “Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology” highlight the link between cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and enhanced mental resilience. CBT equips individuals with tools to reframe negative thoughts and develop coping strategies for challenging situations.

Example: Bouncing back from a job rejection by focusing on learning from the experience, maintaining a positive attitude, and actively seeking new opportunities showcases mental resilience.

3. Emotional Resilience:

This is your capacity to navigate emotional challenges and setbacks without succumbing to overwhelming negative emotions. Key aspects include:

  • Emotional regulation: The ability to manage and express your emotions constructively. This involves identifying your emotions, acknowledging their validity, and employing healthy coping mechanisms to deal with them.
  • Acceptance: Embracing that negative emotions are a natural part of life and learning to accept them without judgment.
  • Self-compassion: Treating yourself with kindness and understanding during difficult times, fostering self-worth and promoting emotional healing.

Research by [Rickard Hanson & Richard Mendius, 2008] in their book “The Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom” suggests that mindfulness practices like meditation can cultivate emotional resilience. Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your emotions without judgment, allowing for healthier emotional processing.

Example: Going through a breakup and experiencing sadness but engaging in self-care activities, seeking support from loved ones, and practicing mindfulness to process your emotions effectively demonstrates emotional resilience.

4. Social Resilience:

This refers to the strength of your social connections and your ability to leverage them for support during challenging times. It involves:

  • Strong social network: Having a network of supportive family, friends, or a community that provides a sense of belonging and acceptance.
  • Effective communication skills: The ability to express your needs and feelings clearly, fostering stronger connections and seeking help when needed.
  • Social support: Relying on your social network for emotional support, encouragement, and practical assistance during difficult times.

Studies like the one by [Sheldon Cohen & Leonard Uchino, 2009] published in “Perspectives in Psychological Science” highlight the positive impact of social support on physical and mental health. Strong social connections provide a buffer against stress and contribute to faster recovery from challenges.

Example: Facing a personal crisis and having a supportive network of friends and family to provide emotional support, practical help, and a sense of belonging exemplifies social resilience.

Components of resilience

Resilience isn’t just about bouncing back from adversity; it’s about thriving in the face of challenges. While everyone experiences setbacks differently, there are key components you can cultivate to become more resilient:

1. Strong Connections: Humans are social creatures, and fostering supportive relationships is vital. Surround yourself with loved ones who offer encouragement, understanding, and a sense of belonging. Confiding in trusted friends or seeking professional support during difficult times can provide invaluable strength.

2. Prioritizing Well-being: Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is crucial for building resilience. This means getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, and engaging in regular exercise. Practices like mindfulness and relaxation techniques can also equip you to manage stress and navigate challenging situations more effectively.

3. Cultivating a Positive Mindset: Our thoughts significantly influence our emotional well-being. Challenge negative thought patterns and cultivate a growth mindset. Instead of dwelling on setbacks, focus on the lessons learned and reframe challenges as opportunities. Visualization and positive self-affirmations can also be powerful tools to bolster your confidence and optimism.

4. Finding Meaning and Purpose: Having a sense of purpose in life provides direction and motivation, even during challenging times. Pursue activities that align with your values and interests. Contributing to a cause you believe in or helping others can foster a sense of fulfillment and fuel your ability to persevere.

By focusing on these core components, you can build your inner strength and bounce back from difficulties with greater ease. Remember, resilience is a journey, not a destination. With consistent effort and self-compassion, you can develop the tools you need to navigate life’s inevitable storms and emerge stronger.

Who is a resilient person?

A resilient person is one who mastered the emotional strength to sustain an internal state that allows one to deal effectively with novel or changing circumstances. 

Resilient people can bounce back from trauma or disappointment more quickly than others. It comes from a mind-body connection called the resilience process. 

In that process he updates his beliefs and values, re-evaluating existing beliefs and relationships, changing his behavior, and learning new skills.

Also, he or she can withstand a great deal of stress in daily life. It may involve physical measures, such as ceasing certain activities when tired or experiencing anxiety or depression, or emotional ones, such as quitting a harmful relationship or job.

How to be resilient?

Life throws curveballs. Setbacks, disappointments, and unforeseen challenges are inevitable. Yet, some individuals seem to bounce back from hardship quicker and emerge stronger. This ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity is what we call resilience.

Resilience isn’t about being superhuman or avoiding negative emotions. It’s about cultivating a set of tools and mindsets that empower you to navigate difficult situations effectively. By building your resilience, you can:

Weather storms with greater composure: You’ll develop the capacity to manage stress, cope with setbacks, and maintain a sense of perspective during challenging times.

Bounce back from setbacks faster: Resilience allows you to learn from experiences, both positive and negative, and use them as stepping stones for growth.

Embrace challenges as opportunities: Instead of viewing obstacles as insurmountable roadblocks, you’ll approach them with a problem-solving mindset, fostering a sense of personal agency and mastery.

How to build resilience?

Resilience can be learned and practiced in three main areas:

In order to practice resilience effectively you need to identify what type of stress you’re facing. 

Then, you need to develop strategies for dealing with it. You need to develop a set of actions that will help you recover from whatever level of resilience you’ve achieved.

Here’s a roadmap to get you started:

Step 1: Cultivate a Growth Mindset:

  • Believe in your ability to learn and improve: Challenges are opportunities to develop new skills and become stronger.
  • See setbacks as temporary: View them as bumps on the road, not dead ends.

Step 2: Build Your Support System:

  • Identify your inner circle: Surround yourself with positive, encouraging people who uplift you.
  • Seek professional help when needed: Therapists can provide valuable tools and guidance for managing difficult emotions.

Step 3: Embrace Self-Care:

  • Prioritize physical health: Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.
  • Nurture your mental wellbeing: Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy: Make time for hobbies and interests that bring you joy.

Step 4: Develop Problem-Solving Skills:

  • Approach challenges logically: Break down problems into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Seek out solutions: Research options, brainstorm ideas, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Learn from your experiences: Reflect on past challenges and identify what worked and what didn’t.

Step 5: Foster a Positive Outlook:

  • Practice gratitude: Focus on the good things in your life, big or small.
  • Challenge negative thoughts: Actively reframe negative self-talk into more empowering statements.
  • Maintain a sense of humor: Laughter can be a powerful tool for managing stress and staying hopeful.

Bonus Tip: Celebrate Your Wins!

Acknowledge your progress, no matter how small. This reinforces a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to keep moving forward.

Remember, building resilience is an ongoing process. Be patient with yourself, and focus on making small, consistent improvements. As you navigate life’s inevitable challenges, you’ll develop the strength and flexibility to bounce back and keep thriving.

Skills And Strategies of resilience

Here are some Skills and Strategies to build resilience:

  • Maintaining a positive outlook:
    • Practicing gratitude: Focus on the good things in your life, big or small.
    • Challenging negative thoughts: Actively reframe negative self-talk into more empowering statements.
    • Maintaining a sense of humor: Laughter can be a powerful tool for managing stress and staying hopeful.
  • Building strong relationships:
    • Having a supportive network of friends and family: Knowing you have people who care about you and will be there for you can provide emotional comfort and strength.
    • Being able to communicate effectively: Being able to express your needs and feelings openly and honestly can help you get the support you need during difficult times.
  • Adaptability and flexibility:
    • Being able to adjust to change: Life is full of unexpected events. Resilient people are able to roll with the punches and find new ways to move forward.
    • Being open to new ideas and experiences: Stepping outside your comfort zone can help you develop new skills and cope with challenges in new ways.
  • Problem-solving skills:
    • Being able to identify and analyze problems: This is the first step to finding effective solutions.
    • Developing coping mechanisms: Healthy coping mechanisms can help you manage stress and difficult emotions in a constructive way.
  • Self-care:
    • Taking care of your physical and mental health: This includes eating nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and practicing relaxation techniques.
    • Setting healthy boundaries: It’s important to know your limits and say no when you need to.

How to build resilience at work

he workplace can be a breeding ground for stress and challenges. Building resilience equips you to navigate these situations effectively and bounce back stronger. Here’s a step-by-step guide specifically tailored for the workplace:

1. Prioritize Well-being:

  • Physical Health: Ensure adequate sleep (7-8 hours). Eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly. A healthy body supports a resilient mind.
  • Mindfulness & Relaxation: Practice techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga to manage stress and improve focus.
  • Set Boundaries: Learn to say “no” to excessive workloads and prioritize tasks effectively.

2. Cultivate a Growth Mindset:

  • View Challenges as Opportunities: Instead of seeing setbacks as failures, view them as learning experiences that help you grow professionally.
  • Focus on Controllables: Identify aspects within your control and channel your energy towards those. Let go of what you cannot influence.

3. Develop Problem-Solving Skills:

  • Sharpen Analytical Thinking: Approach challenges logically and break them down into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Seek Solutions, Not Blame: Focus on finding solutions rather than dwelling on the problem or assigning blame.

4. Build Strong Support Systems:

  • Connect with Colleagues: Foster positive relationships with colleagues. Having a support network at work can provide emotional encouragement and practical assistance.
  • Seek Guidance: Don’t hesitate to seek help from mentors, supervisors, or HR personnel when facing significant challenges.

5. Maintain a Positive Outlook:

  • Practice Gratitude: Reflect on the positive aspects of your work and express appreciation for supportive colleagues and achievements.
  • Develop Humor: Maintaining a sense of humor can help maintain perspective and cope with stressful situations.

Additional Tips:

  • Celebrate Milestones: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, big or small. This reinforces a sense of progress and achievement.
  • Maintain a Work-Life Balance: Engage in hobbies and activities outside of work that bring you joy and help you recharge.
  • Practice Self-compassion: Be kind to yourself during setbacks. Acknowledge your efforts and focus on learning and improvement.

Remember, building resilience is an ongoing process. By incorporating these steps into your daily routine, you can develop the strength and adaptability to thrive in the face of workplace challenges.

Benefits of resilience

Resilience, the ability to bounce back from hardship, offers a range of advantages in various aspects of life:

Enhanced Stress Management: Resilient individuals are better equipped to handle stressful situations. They can effectively manage their emotions and employ coping mechanisms to prevent stress from overwhelming them. This can lead to improved mental well-being and a reduced risk of burnout.

Greater Adaptability: Life inevitably throws curveballs. Resilient people can adjust to changing situations and challenges with more ease. They are more open to new ideas and can find alternative solutions when faced with obstacles.

Improved Problem-Solving: Challenges are stepping stones for the resilient. They view setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow. This fosters a problem-solving mindset, allowing them to approach difficulties with a focus on finding solutions.

Increased Persistence: Resilience fosters perseverance. When faced with failures or setbacks, resilient individuals are more likely to keep trying and maintain their focus on achieving their goals. This persistence can lead to greater success in various endeavors.

Stronger Mental and Physical Health: Research suggests that resilience can positively impact mental and physical health. By effectively managing stress, resilient individuals may experience lower anxiety, better sleep patterns, and even improved immune function.

These are just some of the many benefits of resilience. By developing this crucial skill, individuals can navigate life’s challenges with greater mental and emotional strength.

Final inspirational thoughts that help you to build your resilience:

Still, thinking how to be resilient?

You can sit and wait for years for life to change, but you just need to realize that this life is waiting for you to change. 

Wake up, build resilience, just bounce back and do whatever it takes. Even if it costs your life, go with your instincts anyway. You will not regret and will be thankful to yourself for having such courage. 

To achieve anything, you have to pay the price in return. That’s how life works. Go after whatever you dream of, but be kind to yourself and maintain a balanced mindset when dealing with hardships. 

A person with the right intention and a fair judgment always has ways to solve problems with harmony and always finds peace even in the middle of never-ending storms.

 Be that person whom you visualize yourself to be regardless of any challenges and obstacles. All those difficulties are just temporary but your life is forever and it’s up to you what choices you want to make in this moment.

Finally, I want to conclude by stating that, if you follow your passions and visions, one thing I guarantee you that, “You become what you make use of yourself.”

Therefore, choose your energy, enthusiasm and efforts in the right place. If you act consistently on your dreams, then the rest will become history.

Good luck!

Photo of author
Experienced Psychology and philosophy Writer, self-help and relationship Coach and thought influencer. He has 7 years of experience in Personal development industry. His expertise as a self-help and relationship Coach has been highlighted through his articles in medium and substack to name a few. To be updated with his latest work, connect with him by following his social media accounts.

Leave a Comment