10 ways to enhance your resilience

Enhance Resilience

According to the American Psychological Association, these 10 factors enhance resilience.

Connect. Good, close relationships are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience. Increase activity in groups with a social component (e.g. sporting groups). Nurturing your relationship with your closest friend can be particularly beneficial for building resilience according to a new study from the University of Brighton.

Re-frame crises. You can’t change the fact that highly stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events. Try looking beyond the present to how future circumstances may be better. Note any subtle ways in which you might already feel somewhat better as you deal with difficult situations.

Accept change. Certain goals may no longer be attainable as a result of adverse situations. Accepting circumstances you can’t change can help you to focus on those you can.

Befriend goals. Put big goals and outcomes in the background and develop daily goals – even if they seem like small accomplishments. Any movement towards a goal will help build resilience. Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I know I can accomplish today that helps me move in the direction I want to go?”

Be proactive. Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.

Look inwards. There may be hidden fringe benefits within adversity, such as learning to tolerate vulnerability and realising its positive impact on your relationships or a sense of triumph or strength for having endured hardship. You may find increased self-worth and efficacy in realising how creative you can be in finding solutions.

Back yourself. Cultivating confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience. Reflect on your strengths and previous wins – including the fact that you’ve got this far – rather than getting lost in details that undermine confidence.

Keep perspective. Even when facing very painful events, try to consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective. Will it really be what people remember about you? Is life really ruined? Avoid catastrophising.

Maintain optimism. Focusing on the positives about your life encourages you to expect that good things will happen. Focus on and visualise what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.

Practise self-care. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Meditation and spiritual practices can help to foster hope. Exercise regularly. Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience.

Revisit. Sarah McMahon’s column on being your own cheerleader from last issue.


This is not a substitute for psychological testing. If stress, anxiety or depression are problematic for you, visit sane.org, beyondblue.org.au or blackdoginstitute.org.au or speak with your GP.

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