Building Resilience: The Definitive Guide

Building Resilience

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Before making any changes to your diet, exercise routine, or lifestyle, please consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe and appropriate for you.

Building resilience is an essential skill for navigating life’s challenges.

It allows people to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to changes, and overcome adversity.

In today’s unpredictable world, where we are faced with constant stressors, developing resilience has become more critical than ever.

By learning how to build resilience, you can cultivate the mental and emotional strength necessary to not only survive but thrive in the face of adversity.

In this post, you’ll learn about what resilience is and what you can do to build it for yourself.

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What is Resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties and challenges in life

It’s a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. 

Everyone faces challenges in life such as family & relationship problems, health challenges, career difficulties, financial hardship, and everyday stress.

Resilience can help with all of these challenges, no matter how big or small they may seem.

Can Resilience Be Developed?

will bounce back image

People can become more resilient over time.

Through resilience training, individuals can learn coping strategies, strengthen their support systems, and develop a growth mindset. 

More than five decades of research demonstrate that anyone can adopt attitudes, behaviors, and social supports to build resilience.

It’s worth mentioning that resilience is not a one-size-fits-all concept. Different people face different types of adversity, and what works for one person may not work for another. 

Therefore, it’s important to find the approach that works best for you and your unique circumstances.

Also, it’s important to recognize that resilience is not a trait that is always present. It may fluctuate depending on the individual’s circumstances. 

It’s not a sign of weakness to struggle with resilience. In certain scenarios, it is normal and understandable to face challenges and setbacks.

Common Misconceptions of Resilience

misconceptions of resilience

Resilience does not mean that a person does not experience challenges in their life. Rather, it is their ability to cope with these challenges and adapt to a potentially new path forward. 

Being resilient is what gives people the strength to overcome stress and hardships. It enables individuals to not only survive but also grow through their difficulties.

When people think of resilience, they often imagine someone who is strong and goes at it alone.

However, this is not an accurate portrayal of resilience. 

In reality, it involves acknowledging and working through difficult thoughts and emotions and using tools and resources to support oneself.

Key Characteristics of a Resilient Person

Resilience is a combination of various behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that enable an individual to cope with stress and adversity in a positive way.

Some key signs that a person is resilient include the following.

Recognizing that challenges are temporary

A resilient person understands that tough times are a normal part of life and that they will eventually pass.

Seeing setbacks as opportunities for growth 

Instead of getting discouraged by obstacles, resilient people see them as opportunities for growth. Even if you are resilient, you may not be able to appreciate future growth during a challenging time.

But in general, resilient people can look back at hard times and see their growth as a result.

Having a growth mindset

growth mindset for resilience

A resilient person has a growth mindset, which is the belief that abilities can be developed through hard work and perseverance.

Understanding what is in their control and what is not

Resilient individuals are aware of the things they can control and the things they cannot, and they focus their energy on what they can control.

Having effective coping skills

Resilient individuals have developed effective coping strategies to manage stress and adversity, such as exercise, meditation, and/or seeking support from others.

Having a sense of confidence and control

Resilient individuals have a sense of confidence and control, which enables them to manage their emotions and respond to challenges in a positive manner.

Being adaptable 

Resilient individuals are flexible and able to adapt to changing circumstances and situations, which is essential in today’s rapidly changing world.

Having a realistically optimistic outlook 

Resilient individuals don’t necessarily see the glass as half empty or half full. Rather, they embrace the reality of the situation and hold both the good and the bad equally.

Realistic optimists rapidly disengage from anything negative that they can’t control or learn from, and focus efforts on the most helpful path forward.

Why is Resilience so Important?

Today’s fast-paced and constantly changing world makes resilience a crucial skill to possess.

It enables individuals and organizations to bounce back from challenges, adapt to change, and continue moving forward despite setbacks.

There are several reasons why being resilient is important, including:

Improved mental and emotional well-being

emotional wellbeing

Resilience helps individuals develop a positive outlook and cope with stress and adversity in a healthy manner, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.

Increased ability to handle challenges

Individuals who are resilient are better equipped to handle challenges and obstacles, leading to increased confidence and a sense of control over their lives.

Enhanced problem-solving skills

Resilience helps individuals develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, enabling them to find solutions to challenges and continue making progress.

Better relationships

Resilience contributes to strong, positive relationships by allowing individuals to communicate effectively and manage conflicts, leading to better outcomes for all parties involved.

Better health outcomes

According to Harvard Health, resilience leads to better health outcomes. It has been linked to a longer lifespan, lower rates of depression, and increased overall satisfaction with life.

On the other hand, a lack of resilience results in chronic stress, which can have negative impacts on health, such as high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, insomnia, heartburn, indigestion, and heart disease.

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Building Resilience

There are 4 key types of resilience. Implementing the tips and key practices for each type is the key to building resilience.

Physical Resilience

physical resilience

Physical resilience refers to taking care of our bodies to support our mental and emotional well-being.

When we prioritize our physical health, we create a strong foundation that allows us to effectively handle adversity and stress.

Key Practices

Physical resilience involves three key practices: nutrition, exercise, and sleep.


Nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining physical and mental health.

Eating a well-balanced diet that boosts our energy instead of depleting it, provides our bodies with the essential nutrients and energy it needs to function optimally.


Exercising regularly is also crucial for physical and mental well-being. Exercise helps boost our mood, improves our sleep, and helps us deal with depression, anxiety, and stress. It promotes positive changes in the brain, including neural growth, reduced inflammation, and new activity patterns that promote feelings of calm and well-being.


Getting enough sleep each night is critical for resilience. Sleep allows our bodies to rest, recover, and recharge so that we can be our best selves each day. Getting quality sleep serves as emotional first aid, softening the sharp edges of the day and helping us better read others’ emotions.


Physical resilience serves as the base of the resilience pyramid. When we are taking care of our physical health, it’s easier to take care of the other types of resilience.

By prioritizing physical care, we can improve our mental clarity and physical well-being, and increase our energy levels. This helps us better handle adversity and stress and ultimately increases our overall resilience.

Mental Resilience

mental resilience

Mental resilience is the ability to adapt well cognitively to the adversities we face.

People with high mental resilience are focused, optimistic, and solution-oriented.

They have the ability to remain calm in challenging situations, see the bigger picture, and come up with creative solutions to problems.

Mental resilience is not about avoiding negative thoughts, but rather about increasing awareness of how we talk to ourselves, questioning unhelpful thoughts, and rewriting our responses to stress.

Key Characteristics of People with High Mental Resilience

People with high mental resilience are known for having several key characteristics.

They have a growth mindset, meaning they believe that their abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work and learning.

They practice positive self-talk, which helps them maintain a positive outlook even in difficult times.

They also set achievable goals and surround themselves with positive and supportive people.

When a challenge happens, instead of feeling like a victim, they look towards solutions.

They take time to have downtime. They realize they need mental rest and recovery to process challenges and pause before making knee-jerk decisions.

Importance of Mental Resilience

The role of mental resilience in handling adversity and stress cannot be overstated.

When faced with challenges, individuals with high mental resilience are better equipped to handle stress, cope with difficult emotions, and find creative solutions to problems.

They are also less likely to become overwhelmed or paralyzed by adversity and are better able to bounce back and move forward.

Tips to Improve Mental Resilience

If you want to improve your mental resilience, here are some tips to get started

Develop a growth mindset 

Believe that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work and learning.

Surround yourself with positive people

Spend time with people who uplift and support you, and minimize time with those who bring you down.

Seek help when needed
reaching out for help when you need it

Don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it, whether it’s from a friend, family member, or professional.

By following these tips, you can develop your mental resilience and become better equipped to handle the challenges life throws your way.

Remember, resilience is not about avoiding adversity, but about bouncing back from it and thriving in spite of it.

Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience is how you manage your emotions during life’s setbacks and challenges.

It’s the ability to remain calm and composed, even in the face of adversity, and to recover from disappointment, failure, or other setbacks. It’s allowing space to pause between a trigger and a response, knowing that time to calm emotions may be needed. In addition, being emotionally resilient means having an emotional vocabulary to get to the heart of what you’re feeling.

Emotional resilience is critical to our overall well-being and success in life, as it helps us maintain a positive outlook, even when things get tough.

Key Factors that Fuel Emotional Resilience

Self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-management are key factors that fuel emotional resilience. When we have a strong sense of self-esteem, we feel confident and capable, even in the face of challenges.

Self-awareness helps us understand our own emotions, allowing us to better manage them. Self-management skills enable us to regulate our emotions and avoid becoming overwhelmed or paralyzed by stress.

Building strong relationships and connecting with others is also critical to our emotional resilience, as it provides us with a supportive network of people to turn to when things get tough.

Building Emotional Resilience

Building emotional resilience requires self-reflection and empathy, as well as developing strong communication skills.

Self-reflection involves taking a step back and examining our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors to better understand what drives us.

Empathy helps us understand and connect with others, allowing us to form deeper and more meaningful relationships.

Communication skills are key to managing conflict and maintaining healthy relationships, which are critical to our emotional well-being.

Benefits of Emotional Resilience

The benefits of emotional resilience are numerous, including better emotional and physical well-being, better mental focus, building healthy relationships, and effective career management.

When we’re emotionally resilient, we’re able to stay calm in the face of challenges, remain hopeful, and communicate more effectively.

Effective career management is another key benefit of emotional resilience, as it allows us to make better decisions, communicate more effectively, and perform at our best, even in the face of stress.

By developing self-awareness, self-management skills, and strong relationships, we can become more emotionally resilient, better equipped to handle life’s ups and downs, and thrive in the face of adversity.

Spiritual Resilience

spiritual resilience - north star

Life is full of challenges and obstacles, and how we respond to them can greatly impact our well-being and happiness.

That’s where spiritual resilience comes in. Spiritual resilience helps guide you through challenges by focusing on what matters most to you.

The Importance of Finding Meaning

Finding meaning in your life is essential in building resilience because it gives our lives meaning and direction.

When we know what matters most to us, it helps us find meaning in life events, provides a psychological buffer when bad things happen, and has a positive influence on our health and relationships.

Finding Meaning

There are ways to call finding meaning, whether it’s purpose, finding your why (or whys), mission, key guiding principles, or your north star.

Finding your purpose is all about creating a guiding statement that brings focus to your life.

It helps you align your energy with what matters most to you, make decisions that align with your values, and improve your resilience.

To find purpose, you must reflect on what you value and what makes you feel fulfilled.

Ask yourself questions like:

What do I stand for?

How do I want people to think of me when I’m not in the room?

What are my values?

Answering these questions can help you identify your purpose and create a roadmap for a more fulfilling life.

A Journey of Growth and Self-Discovery

Finding purpose can be a journey of growth and self-discovery. Explore what you loved doing in the past that you may have lost sight of, try new interests, and identify what you enjoy doing at work. It’s a process to identify where and how you draw meaning from your life, but a worthwhile one!

Spiritual resilience is an essential component of thriving in life. By finding purpose and aligning with what matters most to you, you can build resilience and find meaning in life events.

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Download our free guide, “1o Practices to Boost Resilience” to start your journey toward becoming more resilient today!

Building Resilience FAQS

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from difficulties and challenges in life. It is a process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress.

Can resilience be developed?

Yes, people can become more resilient over time through resilience training. This can include learning coping strategies, strengthening support systems, and developing a growth mindset. However, it is important to find the approach that works best for the individual and their unique circumstances.

What are some common misconceptions about resilience?

A common misconception is that resilience means a person does not experience challenges in life. In reality, resilience is the ability to cope with stress and hardships and bounce back from them. Resilience also does not mean going at it alone, but rather acknowledging and working through difficult thoughts and emotions and using tools and resources to support oneself.

What are some key characteristics of a resilient person?

Resilient individuals have a growth mindset, understand what is in their control and what is not, have effective coping skills, have a sense of confidence and control, are adaptable, and have a realistically optimistic outlook.

Why is resilience so important?

Resilience is crucial in today’s fast-paced and constantly changing world. It leads to improved mental and emotional well-being, increased ability to handle challenges, enhanced problem-solving skills, and better relationships. A lack of resilience, on the other hand, can result in chronic stress and negative impacts on health.

How can someone build resilience?

Building resilience involves developing a growth mindset, practicing effective coping skills, having a support system, and using positive self-talk. It is important to understand that resilience is not a one-size-fits-all concept and that it may fluctuate depending on circumstances.


Resilience is a critical aspect of overall well-being.

By mastering the four types of resilience – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – we can build a strong foundation for handling adversity and stress.

It’s important to take practical steps towards building resilience in all aspects of life, as it offers numerous benefits such as improved mental clarity, physical well-being, and better relationships.

Having a resilient mindset can positively impact us both personally and professionally, allowing us to lead more fulfilling and meaningful lives.

So, let’s strive to cultivate resilience and embrace a growth mindset, as we navigate through life’s challenges and opportunities.


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