Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or major life events – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stress. 1 2
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves feelings, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone.
There are four basic types of resilience.1
- Physical resilience is maintaining the best possible health and lifestyle.
- Cognitive resilience is staying mentally focused at times of stress.
- Emotional resilience is approaching life’s challenges with a positive attitude and having good control over your feelings.
- Spiritual resilience is finding an anchor in higher meaning and a selfless perspective.
10 common ways to build resilience
1. Make connections with others. Staying connected promotes all four types of resiliency. Be comfortable asking for and accepting help. Assist others and you will also benefit.
2. Avoid seeing challenges or crises as insurmountable problems. Change how you interpret and respond to events. Look beyond the present to a better future. Note positive feelings when dealing with difficulties.
3. Accept that change is stressful and that it is part of living. Switch your focus from what can’t be changed and focus on changes that are possible.
4. Establish realistic goals to move forward. Use tangible and nontangible rewards to motivate yourself.
5. Take decisive actions to meet the demands of daily life. Resist the urge to avoid change.
6. Practise good self-care and self-discovery. Learn something new about yourself. Recognise and appreciate your personal strengths.
7. Nurture a positive view of yourself. Develop confidence and trust your instincts. Practice self-reliance while also relying on others.
8. Keep things in perspective. View stress in a broad context and try to keep a long-term perspective. Avoid exaggerating or making a catastrophe out of every stressful event.
9. Maintain a hopeful outlook. Be optimistic and expect good things to happen. Visualise what is wanted rather than what is feared. Concentrate on being grateful.
10. Become stress hardy. Keep your body fit and healthy to deal with stress. Pay attention to personal needs and engage in enjoyable, relaxing activities.
Practicing these resilience techniques can help you be better prepared next time you face adversity. If you would like to run a “resilience” awareness campaign in your workplace, contact your local MAXIS GBN representative or email [email protected] to request our educational toolkit with ready to use campaign materials.
1American Psychological Association, “The Road to Resilience,” 2014.
2 de Terte I, Stephens C, “Psychological resilience of workers in high-risk occupations,” Stress and Health 2014;30(5):353–355.