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Developing resilience

So, you’ve got this problem... Or maybe life is just lowkey crappy rn... We can’t promise resilience is the answer to all your problems, but it can help make the bad stuff a bit less bad. And, the best bit is, ANYONE can learn to be more resilient. Let’s find out how!

Girl dressed up as a superhero with the letter 'R' for 'Resilience' on her shirt

Let’s find out how resilient you are! Take our mini quiz below by answering ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each question.

Resilience is the ability to cope when things go wrong.

  • I don’t give up easily when things get hard. 
  • I can usually handle unpleasant feelings. 
  • Coping with stress makes me stronger.  
  • I can deal with problems that come up. 
  • I can usually see the positives in situations.  
  • I can have a sense of humour when things go wrong. 

Count how many ‘yes’ answers you gave. If you got four or more yes’s, you're totally crushing it at resilience. Don’t worry if you didn’t, we can work on that!

What is resilience? 

Resilience is what allows us to get through tough times and get back up on our feet.

Let’s be honest – most of us will experience stress and setbacks at times in our life, but it’s the comeback that counts. 

Chances are that you have already been resilient many times in your life. 

Resilience might look something like this:

‘Bouncing back’ and moving forward after tough times 

Dealing with challenges and still getting through your day-to-day

Being a problem-solver 

Being adaptable and flexible – you can go with the flow!

Standing up for yourself 

Coping with life Is being able to handle both the good and the not-so-good stuff that life throws at you

Having healthy strategies. Healthy strategies are like good plans to feel better when things are difficult. It's like having a secret recipe to stay strong and happy inside

Emotional toughness and your strength from inside

Giving things a go and trying your best

Having a ‘growth mindset’ - you know that by trying, learning, and not giving up you can do anything! 

MYTHS - What resilience is not

Have you ever been told to ‘suck it up,’ ‘get a sense of humour’ or ‘just let it go?’ That’s not resilience.

Saying that stuff is like putting a band aid on a wound that won’t stop bleeding. Being resilient is all about finding what you need to help the wound heal.

Here are some things that are NOT resilience:

  • Toxic positivity (being super positive when things are genuinely crap) – life isn’t always sunshine and roses. Life can suck at times and that’s totally normal. 
  • Resilience is not gritting your teeth – it's about thinking, solving problems, and giving it another try.
  • “Get over it” – resilience is not about ignoring our feelings and acting like everything is ok. It’s taking care of yourself so you can be stronger next time. 
  • Resilience is not suffering in silence – it’s asking for help and having healthy coping strategies

"When I was younger I went through a tough time because my parents split. I think that shaped me to be braver and stronger."

What can I do when I am facing a challenge?

Resilience isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a skill everyone can learn. Here are some ways you can start:

Think positive thoughts
Look after yourself
Keep trying
Talk to someone
Learn from mistakes
Work towards your goals
Look for the positives in the situation
Accept that change happens all the time
Accept that negative things can happen
Improve your problem solving skills
Find things that help you feel calm
Get help when you need it

The Path to Building Resilience - The 5 P’s of Resilience

#1: Perspective – how else can I see this situation?

Perspective is all about seeing the bigger picture and learning with our imagination. Try asking yourself, “How would I respond to this problem if I were a character in my fav book or tv show.”

#2: Positive – what good came out of this bad situation?

Positive thinking means focusing on happy thoughts and finding the little piece of good that happened.

#3: Problem Solve – is there anything I could do to get back on track?

When things seem tough, you can use your emotional smarts to figure out why you feel ‘meh’ or not so great. And once you feel better, you can try problem solving to make things better. It can help to write down all your options and then choose one that you think best solves the situation.

#4: Persevere – how did I keep going (even when things were bad?)

Each time you act resiliently, you are building your problem-solving skills. So next time, you can be confident in yourself and know that things will get better!

#5: Purpose – have I changed for the better?

Purpose is about finding meaning in the things you do and making what you do important. You can look at the good things you've done or even think about a cool movie or TV character who did something awesome.

How do I bounce back when things go wrong?

We partnered with Toasted TV to chat with young people about how they show resilience.

Developing self-awareness

Another important step to building resilience is to develop self-awareness.

It might be useful to explore:

What are my needs?

What are my goals?

What are my limits?

What is important to me?

What annoys me?

What makes me happy?

What are my strengths?

How did I cope in the past?

How do I usually deal with stress?

Is there anything I would like to change?

Benefits of resilience

  • When you're strong inside, bad stuff doesn't upset you as much
  • Feeling better! You can be happier both in your brain and in your body
  • Stronger relationships and friendships
  • Altered priorities. Sometimes, you start caring about different things more than before
  • Better coping strategies. These are like special tricks to help you deal with problems without feeling really stressed
  • Looking forward to the future feeling hopeful that good things will happen

It's ok to not be ok

Resilience exists on a spectrum – and everyone has a breaking point.

You don’t always have to be strong on the inside.

If you need some help to bounce back when things go wrong, give us a call, start a webchat or email us today.

If you are looking for more digital services and resources, check out Head to Health.

"Learning to build resilience can help you feel stronger!

It can make problems easier to deal with in the future."

This content was last reviewed 18/10/2023
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