Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficult times in life. Resilience comes from the lessons and skills we absorb as we grow up and as we face all of our difficulties whatever they are. Why is resilience important? Because if you are resilient, you will be able to face, overcome and even become personally strengthened by the challenges and problems in your life. Resilience doesn’t make the problems go away and doesn’t solve all problems - it just helps you cope, adjust and stay on your feet. There are many ways to boost your resilience - read on to learn more about what characteristics resilient people share.
It really doesn’t matter who has your back in life – parents, friends, relatives, teachers, coaches – the point is that having a solid support system is a very important part of resilience. The people in your support system will give you understanding, guidance and comfort when you’re struggling with a problem. It is good to learn to ask for help from the people who support you.
It may seem odd to suggest that giving to others helps you get through your own problems, but keeping up your commitments (to yourself, family, friends), or a commitment to a cause (like volunteering) are very helpful ways to take the focus off your problems and expand your life skills and problem solving abilities. Also, giving back to yourself is helpful – a resilient person would avoid feeling sorry for themselves - taking good care of your health or doing something nice for yourself are soothing ways to take the focus off stressful emotions.
Don't give in
Resilient people learn to accept emotional pain and stress as part of life – they don’t allow their difficulties to define them. Instead, they recognize their feelings, acknowledge the problems that they’re facing, trust that they have the ability to face their problems, and believe they have the strength to maintain their emotional balance.
Accepting the fact that some things change is a basic part of resilience. When your goals, plans, ideas or hopes are dashed because of unavoidable circumstances, a flexible and accepting attitude will allow you to focus on new plans or new hopes. If you accept the things you can’t change or control, you’re free to put your effort into the things you can change and control.
Choose your attitude
Most of the time, you don’t get to choose the obstacles and difficulties that life puts in your path, but it’s good to remember that you get to choose your attitude toward adversity. During hard times, it’s helpful to find something positive to think about and imagine a positive outcome. Even if you don’t have all the answers and even if the solution to your problems isn’t obvious, you can choose to believe that things will work out and can tell yourself that your problems are manageable. You can choose to see yourself as a fighter, not a victim.
Keep it in perspective
When a resilient person faces adversity, they’re likely to avoid making things worse by jumping to extremes – they tell themselves that their troubles won’t last forever and they don’t see every bump in the road as a catastrophe; they understand that things can’t be perfect and they have realistic expectations of themselves and what they can achieve.
You might have heard that “laughter is the best medicine”. And really, if you are able to laugh at yourself and laugh with others, you will lighten your load and lighten up! Laughter and humor are wonderful ways to connect to others and to release the feeling of stress that adversity causes you. If for no other reason, laughter is good for your body – it changes your body’s response to stress.
Assess your resilience
Take this quiz to learn how resilient you are: SCoRE My Resilience Factors Assessment
SCoRE® (Student Curriculum on Resilience Education®) helps students identify and adjust to the personal, social, and academic challenges of college life, including time management, staying healthy, making new friends, and goal setting. By building and supporting resilience, SCoRE teaches college students how to keep going in the face of adversity, a critical skill in school and life.
A key self-assessment in the SCoRE curriculum, My Resilience Factors, provides a quick, easy method to learn how resilient you are. In 10 minutes or less, you can complete the assessment and receive a personalized report that identifies your overall level of resilience as well as the specific factors that strengthen and potentially weaken your resilience.
Was your resilience score lower than you'd like? The good news is that resilience is a skill that can be developed with practice. If you want to learn more about resilience, you can purchase SCoRE: Self-Paced or SCoRE: Propel, which offers additional content geared toward students seeking disability services in college. Use promotion code JEDSCORE when ordering.