Wellness Toolbox

Resilience: Power to Bounce Back

One of the benefits of adopting a wellness lifestyle is that it makes you stronger: physically, mentally and socially. And from these strengths comes resilience. A wellness lifestyle prepares you for meeting life’s challenges. When you are resilient you are able to adapt to life's misfortunes and setbacks. When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart? When you are resilient, you tap into inner strengths and rebound more quickly from a setback or challenge, whether it's a job loss, an illness, a disaster or the death of a loved one.

If you have low resilience, you tend to dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed and use to unhealthy ways to cope, such as substance abuse. You may also be more likely to develop mental health problems.

Resilience won't make your problems go away. But it can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and handle stress better. Being resilient also doesn't mean going it alone. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key part of being resilient.

Resilience helps protect you against mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. It can also help offset factors that put you at risk of mental illness, such as lack of social support, being bullied or previous trauma. And being resilient can help you cope better with an existing mental illness.

To become more resilient takes time and practice. If you don't feel you're making progress — or you just don't know where to start — consider talking to a mental health professional. With their guidance, you can improve your resiliency and mental well-being, and be on your way to a more satisfying life.

Improving your Resilience

Working on your mental stability is just as important as working on your physical health. If you want to strengthen your resilience, try these tips.

Build your relationships. Build strong, positive relationships with family and friends, who provide support and acceptance. Volunteer, get involved in your community, or join a spiritual community.

Take the wide view. Look at your situation in the larger context of your own life and of the world. What will matter most in 10 years? Keep a long-term perspective and know that your situation can improve if you actively work at it.

Be willing to laugh. Finding humor in stressful situations doesn't mean you're in denial. Humor is a helpful coping mechanism.

Learn from experience. Think about how you've coped with difficult situations in the past. Remember the skills and strategies that helped you through the rough times. Keep practicing those and don't repeat those that didn't help.

Be positive. You can't change what's happened in the past, but you can always look toward the future. Find something in each day that signals a change for the better. Expect good results.

Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your needs and feelings, both physically and emotionally. Click around the site for information and suggestions.

Be focused. Do something every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Having something meaningful to focus on can help you share emotions, feel gratitude and experience an improved sense of well-being.

Keep a journal. Write about your experiences, thoughts and feelings. It can help you see situations in a new way and help you identify patterns in your behavior and reactions.

Welcome change. Expecting changes to occur makes it easier to adapt to them, tolerate them and even welcome them. With practice, you can learn to be more flexible and not view change with as much anxiety.

Take action. Figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action.

Practice stress management and relaxation techniques. Restore an inner sense of peace and calm by practicing such stress-management and relaxation techniques as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, visualization, imagery, prayer or muscle relaxation.