Resilience: Build skills to endure hardship
Resilience means being able to adapt to life's misfortunes and setbacks. Test your resilience level and get tips to build your own resilience.By Mayo Clinic Staff
When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart?
When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you rebound from a setback or challenge, such as a job loss, an illness, a disaster or the death of a loved one. If you lack resilience, you might dwell on problems, feel victimized, become overwhelmed or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse.
Resilience won't make your problems go away — but resilience can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and better handle stress. If you aren't as resilient as you'd like to be, you can develop skills to become more resilient.
Adapting to adversity
Resilience is the ability to roll with the punches. When stress, adversity or trauma strikes, you still experience anger, grief and pain, but you're able to keep functioning — both physically and psychologically. However, resilience isn't about toughing it out, being stoic or going it alone. In fact, being able to reach out to others for support is a key component of being resilient.
Resilience and mental health
Resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as being bullied or previous trauma. If you have an existing mental health condition, being resilient can improve your ability to cope.
Jan. 31, 2015
See more In-depth
- The road to resilience. American Psychological Association. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx. Accessed March 4, 2014.
- Netuveli G, et al. Mental health and resilience at older ages: Bouncing back after adversity in the British Household Panel Survey. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 2008;62:987.
- Edward K, et al. The phenomenon of resilience as described by adults who have experienced mental illness. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 2009;65:587.
- Karren KJ, et al. Mind, Body, Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions and Relationships. 4th ed. San Francisco, Calif.: Pearson Education Inc.; 2010:543.
- Norris FH, et al. Looking for resilience: Understanding the longitudinal trajectories of responses to stress. Social Science and Medicine. 2009;68:2190.
- Bonnano G, et al. The human capacity to thrive in the face of potential trauma. Pediatrics. 2008;121:369.