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People from across the world have been practising resilience for hundreds of years, long before this concept was officially identified. Thomas Edison, famously known as the father of invention, is a fine example of resilience in history. After struggling with thousands of prototypes of an incandescent light bulb and failing daily, he never gave up. Despite struggling every day with failure, Edison never let them get the best of him. In fact, he utilised them to keep moving in a forward direction with hope and a positive attitude. Thanks to his sheer resilience, Edison was able to get over 1000 patents under his name. He also gave the world some of the most amazing inventions of the 20th century, like the motion picture, the telegraph, and the phonograph.

Have you ever imagined what the world would be like if Edison had given up instead of practising resilience after a few failures? His inspiring story is a source of motivation to look at our own lives and wonder if we have enough resilience to overcome our challenges or if we are letting our failures derail our dreams.

This article will discuss resilience: what it is, what causes it, its different types, and how to build resilience so that we can have the strength to overcome adversity and keep moving forward to achieve our dreams.

In simplest terms, resilience refers to coping with setbacks and recovering from them. People who tend to remain calm and relaxed in the face of disaster are said to be resilient. It is resilience that allows them to use their strengths and skills to tackle the daily challenges of life, such as:

  • Divorce
  • Loss of job
  • Natural disasters
  • Medical emergencies
  • Financial issues
  • Death of a loved one
  • Illness

Instead of hiding from issues or falling into the deepest pits of despair by using unhealthy coping mechanisms, resilient people tend to face these challenges head-on. This does not mean that such people experience less distress, anxiety or grief than others. Instead, resilience allows them to use healthy coping skills to get through adverse situations and emotions in a way that fosters growth and strength.

Resilient people usually have certain signs and characteristics that support them in weathering the challenges life throws. These signs include:

The mentality of a survivor

Resilient people often view themselves as survivors. They know that even when times are tough, they can keep going until they are on the other side of the tunnel.

Effective regulation of emotions

Resilience allows people to manage their emotions effectively, even during stressful times. This does not mean that such people do not experience intense emotions like fear, sadness, or anger. Instead, it highlights that they recognise these feelings as temporary and manage them until they pass.

A feeling of being in control

Resilient people have a robust internal locus of control that helps them determine the outcomes of events.

Problem-solving attitude

When challenges arise, resilient people view the situation more rationally and try to find solutions that make a difference.

Social support

Resilient people often have a strong network of support. They recognise how important it is to seek consent and know when to ask for help from others.


Resilient people show self-acceptance and self-compassion and are kind to themselves, especially during tough times.

Resilience indicates a person’s ability to deal with life’s setbacks. While it usually represents the adaptability potential, there are many types of resilience, each of which can impact an individual’s ability to cope with stress.

Physical Resilience

Physical resilience refers to the way in which the body deals with a change and recovers from injuries, illnesses, and other physical demands. Research indicates that this particular type of resilience is critical in regulating health. It can affect how a person ages and responds to and recovers from medical issues and physical stress.

Mental Resilience

Mental resilience highlights the ability of an individual to adapt to uncertainty and change. People possessing this type of resilience are calm during crises and generally more flexible. They can easily use mental strength to manage problems and move forward while remaining positive and hopeful even if they are constantly facing setbacks.

Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience refers to the ability to regulate emotions under stress. Emotionally resilient people are better aware of their emotional reactions and try to connect with their inner lives. As a result, they can quickly calm their minds and regulate their emotions even while dealing with negative experiences. This particular type of resilience also helps such people practice optimism during tough times and understand that adversity and its difficult emotions will not last forever.

Social Resilience

Social resilience or community resilience includes the ability of a group of people to recover from a challenging situation. It includes people connecting with others and working alongside them to solve a problem that affects them collectively and individually.

Some aspects of social resilience include supporting one another socially, coming together after facing a disaster, and establishing a sense of community. Such resilience and its responses are crucial to overcoming challenges, such as natural disasters that impact communities.

Fortunately, anyone can build resilience in themselves if they naturally lack it. The process should ideally begin in childhood with the help of parents. However, adults can also develop this critical personality trait with the help of the following tips:

Reframe Negative Thoughts

One of the characteristics of resilient people is that they can look at adverse circumstances more realistically but also in a way that doesn’t focus on things that cannot be changed. Instead of considering a difficulty as impossible, consider reframing your thoughts to look for possible ways to tackle the problem.

Parents can also utilise this approach to help their children learn healthy coping skills to apply in difficult situations. Encourage them to look at everyday challenges in a positive light. Instead of getting stuck in a loop of negativity, help the child learn how to visualise these events as opportunities where they can challenge themselves and learn something new.

Seek Support

Sharing the difficulties in your life will not make them go away, but confiding in a supportive loved one or friend can help you feel like you have someone in your corner. These loved ones can help you develop resilience, gain insight into the current challenges, and develop new strategies to manage them.

To help a child develop a robust support system, adults must model good social skills for them to follow. These social skills include practising empathy, sharing feelings, expressing gratitude, helping others, and reinforcing good behaviour.

Focus on What’s In Control

A crisis or challenging time can easily overwhelm anyone, especially when it involves things that feel far beyond control. In such circumstances, do not waste your time wishing there was a way to go back in time to change things. Instead, try focusing on what you can still change or make better. In the case of children, adults can foster this habit by discussing their situation openly and helping them make a plan for how to react.

Control Stress

Try to build healthy stress management habits to boost your overall resilience. These habits may include behaviours that support overall health, such as regular exercise, adequate sleep, and the following actions taken particularly during stressful times:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Expressive writing
  • Diaphragmatic breathing exercises
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Acupuncture

Children and adults can learn and eventually master these skills with some practice. With this newly developed skill set, such people can feel better prepared to face a stressful or challenging situation and have enough resilience to bounce back quickly. If you are struggling to keep your stress levels under control, consider seeking support from a professional therapist.



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