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Resilience

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Resilience

Everyone goes through hard things in life. What happens afterward? When you go through something hard, do you struggle to get back on your feet after the hard thing is over? If so, there are ways you can build up your resilience in the face of hard things!

  • What is resilience?
  • What are some examples of the different types of resilience?
  • What are some of the factors involved in resilience?
  • How do you build your resilience?
  • Why is resilience important?

Definition of Resilience

We like to think of ourselves as strong, capable people. We want to feel self-sufficient and in control of our lives. At times, though, challenges come along and show us that we need the help of other people. We feel stuck mentally and emotionally. The hard thing we are facing seems like too much to handle. Why can some people overcome hard things while others get completely stuck and overwhelmed?

Resilience is the ability to make it through hard things in life and bounce back from significant adversity.

Resilient people often display optimism, a pleasant disposition, and good social skills. They may appear self-sufficient and independent due to feeling an appropriate measure of control over their lives. They view disruptions in life as challenges to overcome rather than something to avoid at all costs. Their optimistic perspective helps them make the best of challenging situations.

Resilience is important for our overall success in life. We can have an excellent education and every opportunity for success within our reach, but neither of these things will matter if we can't bounce back from our struggles. Hardships can devastate us and ruin all of our pursuits. Resilience shows up in many ways in our lives. It can look like this:

  • Taking on new responsibilities in life

  • Maneuvering through relationship changes

  • Tackling significant life changes without becoming overwhelmed by stress

Resilience letter blocks spelling resilient StudySmarterResilient, pixabay.com

Types and Examples of Resilience

There are many different types of resilience, but mental and emotional are the two most common types. Both of these are important to our overall wellness and happiness in life.

Mental resilience is the ability to adapt well to the many changes and challenges that life presents.

Those with strong mental resilience can change jobs or careers without significant negative consequences. They move into new roles and quickly apply themselves and thrive. People with high mental resilience can make decisions and go through life changes without becoming completely overwhelmed or paralyzed.

Your best friend moves to another country at 40 years old. She is thrown into a new culture, language, and a new job. Although she has done everything a certain way for 40 years, she easily maneuvers the challenges of a new banking and transportation system. She adapts to an entirely new rhythm of life and applies herself to learning the local language. This is someone with strong mental resilience. She moves through challenges without mentally shutting down and thrives relatively quickly in her new environment.

Emotional resilience is the ability to govern emotions during times of intensity and stress.

Those with high emotional resilience understand the emotional atmosphere in various social situations. They can display appropriate emotional responses to a given situation. They tend to have a strong sense of self and high self-awareness.

Those with strong emotional resilience tend to view events and life in general positively. They can see beyond their current emotional state. They know that even though things are hard right now, they can work to make things better. Those with high emotional resilience also tend to have high emotional intelligence.

What matters most is how well you walk through the fire."

- Charles Bukowski

You are at your bank when you find yourself in the middle of a robbery. You are paralyzed with fear, and every worst-case scenario floods your mind. You start panicking and feel completely helpless. You look over to the person beside you, and they have somehow remained calm. They speak calmly to the robber and have the right words to soothe you and the other people present. This is a person with strong emotional resilience. They can control their own emotions and see beyond the immediate threat.

It's important to note that emotional resilience deals specifically with developing the tools to handle our emotions. It helps us effectively process our emotions, understand the emotions of others, and react appropriately to life situations. Mental resilience deals with the ability to adapt to life changes and challenges.

Factors of Resilience

Locus of control is an important factor in our resilience.

Locus of control refers to our perception of our control or lack of it over the events in our lives.

Individuals with an external locus of control believe that outside forces have a more significant influence over their fate than they do. They think that no matter how hard they work, their success is ultimately up to someone or something else, like chance, their boss, or a teacher.

People with an internal locus of control believe that they have more control over their fate than outside forces. They think they will get a promotion or a good grade if they work hard. Their efforts matter, and they continue to do their best even when things are hard.

Mike, who has an external locus of control, gives up on studying hard for his exam. He feels like his efforts don't matter since his grades are ultimately up to others. Brian, who has an internal locus of control, is inspired to work hard for his exam grade. He believes that he can impact the outcome of his exam.

Our locus of control impacts our self-perception and our actions. Mike chooses not to study, and he feels depressed and defeated. In contrast, Brian decides to study - he feels satisfied with his work and confident in his efforts. Those with an internal locus of control tend to be healthier, less depressed, and more independent. If we believe that we can impact the outcomes of our efforts, this belief influences our attitudes toward challenging or difficult situations. It influences our resilience and our coping strategies.

Like locus of control, self-efficacy is our sense of our ability to perform tasks competently. High self-efficacy predicts high achievement. Students who are confident they will do well in a class are more likely to perform well. When we believe in our abilities, self-esteem increases as well. Those with high self-efficacy are more resilient, less anxious, and more persistent in working through challenges.

Building Resilience

You can develop and strengthen your emotional resilience over time. There are several things we can do to become more emotionally resilient.

  • Connecting with others - Building deep connections with other people gives us the emotional exercise to understand people deeply. We get to know their inner world, making us more reflective of our own.

  • Maintaining physical health - A dedicated regimen of exercise and healthy eating and sleeping habits supports our lives in several ways. It gives us a sense of satisfaction and boosts our confidence through a constant commitment to ourselves. It boosts mental well-being and reduces anxiety, and can be particularly instrumental during and after traumatic events.

  • Getting to know yourself - Spending time with your thoughts and taking time to reflect on events and your emotional reactions to them. Some achieve this through mindfulness practices like meditation or practicing a form of spirituality.

We can also cultivate our mental resilience. Here are a few things we can do to develop and strengthen this type of resilience.

  • Develop a positive mindset - This isn't a "good vibes only" attitude. This means deciding not to carry negative or pessimistic thoughts in our minds throughout the day. It's important to feel our emotions, even the negative ones, but it's just as important not to get stuck there. Keeping things in perspective and maintaining a hopeful outlook are integral to cultivating our mental resilience.

  • Discover and focus on a purpose - This can be an overall purpose in life or simply finding a purpose in all of the little tasks in our lives. This helps us move toward our goals and feel more in control of our lives.

Trauma and Resilience

Facing life changes and emotional struggles is an opportunity for us to build our resilience. By intentionally taking on life's challenges, we get better at facing future challenges. The same can be true of experiencing traumatic events. Sometimes when we experience significant trauma, it can result in post-traumatic growth.

Post-traumatic growth is positive psychological changes and growth that occur due to traumatic events or experiences.

Those who experienced significant health struggles through accident or illness often come out the other side of their struggles as more resilient people. They have a deeper appreciation for life, more gratitude, and more compassion for others. They often find a new purpose or experience a renewed commitment to life. Our suffering or hardships can lead us to become more sensitive and grateful people.

The Importance of Resilience

We mentioned that resilience is our ability to bounce back from hardships or emotional devastation. However, resilience may play a role in preventing certain mental disorders. In a study by Bonanno et al. (2007), New Yorkers who exhibited resilience after the 9/11 attacks did not go on to develop post-traumatic stress disorder or depressive disorders.

Resilience could even boost our immune system, increasing our overall physical health. In a study by Mills and Dombeck (2004), cancer patients with higher mental and emotional resilience had stronger immune systems than those who were less resilient.

Resilience is also important to your overall success in life. Those who are more resilient tend to be more optimistic and fun to be around. They may be more charismatic and outgoing. This can make them a more desirable candidate for a job or professional opportunity.

Resilience - Key takeaways

  • Resilience is the ability to make it through hard things in life and bounce back from significant adversity.
  • Mental resilience is the ability to adapt well to the many changes and challenges that life presents.
  • Emotional resilience is the ability to govern emotions during times of intensity and stress.
  • We can build emotional resilience by fostering connections, maintaining physical health, and getting to know ourselves.
  • Post-traumatic growth is positive psychological changes and growth that occur due to traumatic events or experiences.

Frequently Asked Questions about Resilience

Resilience is the ability to make it through hard events in life and bounce back from significant adversity. 

A good example of resilience is viewing disruptions in life as challenges to overcome rather than something to avoid at all costs.

The seven resilience skills are competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control. 

Resilience is important because it can significantly contribute to our overall success in life. 

Some resilience factors are optimism, a pleasant disposition, and gracious social skills.

Final Resilience Quiz

Question

What is resilience? 

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Answer

Resilience is the ability to weather, surmount, and go on to flourish after experiencing significant adversity. 

Show question

Question

What is mental resilience? 

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Answer

Mental resilience is the ability to adapt well to the many changes and challenges that life presents us with. 

Show question

Question

What is emotional resilience? 

Show answer

Answer

Emotional resilience is the ability to govern emotions during times of intensity and stress.  

Show question

Question

Positive psychological changes and growth that occur as a result of traumatic events or experiences is called _______________.

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Answer

Post-traumatic growth

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True or False: You can not build emotional resilience. 

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False

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Which of the following is not one of the 7 resilience skills.

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Carefree

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What are three ways to build emotional resilience? 

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Fostering connections, maintaining physical health, and getting to know ourselves.

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Emotional intelligence is a quality often associated with people who have a high level of this kind of resilience. 

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Emotional resilience

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Why is resilience important? 

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It can significantly contribute to our overall success in life. 

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True or False: Experiencing trauma can lead us to become more resilient people. 

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True

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Question

The belief that we are equipped with the ability to handle challenging situations is an example of which of the 7 resilience skills? 

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Confidence

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Being part of a group and giving back to one's community is an example of which of the 7 resilience skills?

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Community

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Some qualities of resilient people are __________.

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Resilient people are often optimistic, have a pleasant disposition, and possess a certain measure of social grace.

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Two of the most significant forms of resilience when it comes to our overall wellness and happiness in life are _____________________.

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Answer

Mental and emotional resilience

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Question

Understanding that we are in control of our decisions and our reactions to challenging situations is an example of which of the 7 resilience skills?

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Answer

Control

Show question

Question

Resilience is the ability to make it through hard things in life and bounce back from significant adversity.

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

Resilient people often display___ a pleasant____, and good____.

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Answer

Optimism, disposition, social skills 

Show question

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Resilience is important for overall success in life.

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True

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The___ of resilient people helps them make the best of challenging situations. 

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Optimistic perspective 

Show question

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What are the two most common types of resilience?

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Answer

Mental and emotional

Show question

Question

What is the ability to adapt well to life challenges?

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Mental resilience  

Show question

Question

Mental resilience is the ability to govern emotions during times of intensity and stress.

Show answer

Answer

False 

Show question

Question

What is emotional resilience?

Show answer

Answer

The ability to govern emotions during times of stress. 

Show question

Question

Those with high emotional resilience understand the______ in various social situations. 

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Answer

Emotional atmosphere 

Show question

Question

Resilient people tend to have a strong sense of self and high self-awareness.  

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Answer

True 

Show question

Question

The locus of control refers to our perception of our control or lack of control over the events in our lives. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

People with an internal locus of control believe that outside forces have a more significant influence over their fate than they do.

Show answer

Answer

False 

Show question

Question

People with____ believe that they have more control over their fate than outside forces. 

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Answer

an internal locus of control 

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What refers to our sense of our ability to perform tasks competently?

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Answer

Self-efficacy 

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Question

What are three ways that you can increase your emotional resilience?

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Answer

Connecting with others 

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