Reclaiming Resilience—and Why It Matters!

Reclaiming Resilience—and Why It Matters!

Resilience is a person’s ability to bounce back from adversity. It is a character trait and a process that helps people cope with stress, difficult situations, trauma, or tragic events.1 But being resilient doesn’t just help in the workplace it can benefit health in many ways.

The Health Benefits of Resilience

Research demonstrates that resilient people have better overall mental health and are at a reduced risk of developing mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.2 In addition to positive mental health, increased resilience is associated with better physical activity, pain management, and overall physical health.3

In a 2022 study featuring individuals 65 or older, those with medium-to-high resilience levels also had a significantly higher quality of life and lower healthcare utilization and expenditures.4 And it’s not just adults who benefit from resilience. A study involving children and adolescents found that programs focused on enhancing resilience helped the students better manage daily stressors.5

The best news about resilience research: it shows that this trait can be developed and enhanced.2

How to Build Resilience

If being more resilient is one of your personal growth and development goals, here are seven key strategies to consider when it comes to cultivating more resilience:6

  1. Don’t beat yourself up for weaknesses and mistakes. Release regret by acknowledging it, learning from it, and then letting it go.
  2. Express gratitude daily. Gratitude journals are an easy way to incorporate this mindset into your routine.
  3. Exercise regularly. Being physically active not only builds muscle, but it also builds resilience.
  4. Strive for a balanced daily routine. Practice healthy self-care by eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and focusing on positive stress management.
  5. Stay positive. Cultivate a hopeful outlook and genuinely believe you can grow stronger and more resilient.
  6. Nourish human connection. Build strong relationships with friends, family, and community members to give you additional emotional support and encouragement during difficult times.
  7. Laugh more. Laughter decreases stress hormones such as cortisol and increases the release of positive chemicals such as oxytocin.

Resilience is one of the most important skills you can have to better cope with daily stress and bounce back from difficult situations. And, fortunately, this is a skill that you can learn. As with any new routine, remember: consistency is key. So, try to engage in the resilience-building strategies featured here weekly.

References

  1. Southwick SM, Bonanno GA, Masten AS, et al. Resilience definitions, theory, and challenges: interdisciplinary perspectives. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2014;5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4185134/
  2. Joyce S, Shand F, Tighe J, et al. Road to resilience: a systematic review and meta-analysis of resilience training programs and interventions. BMJ Open. 2018;8(6). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6009510/
  3. Merchant RA, Aprahamian I, Woo J, et al. Resilience and successful aging. J Nutr Health Aging. 2022;26(7):652-656. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9209635/
  4. Musich S, Wang SS, Schaeffer JA, et al. The association of increasing resilience with positive health outcomes among older adults. Geriatric Nursing. 2022;44:97-104. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0197457222000167
  5. Fenwick-Smith A, Dahlberg EE, Thompson SC. Systematic review of resilience-enhancing, universal, primary school-based mental health promotion programs. BMC Psychology. 2018;6. https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-018-0242-3
  6. Gazella K. The health benefits of resilience—and how to cultivate more of it. Psychology Today. 2024;May 13. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-healing-factor/202405/the-health-benefits-of-resilience-and-how-to-cultivate-more-of-it
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