Why is resilience important?

Resilience is defined as the mental capacity to overcome and recover from difficult life problems and challenges.

Resilience gives people the emotional strengths to deal with setbacks and hardships. It is a very valuable personality trait, not only because it offers people the mental ability to deal with minor as well as major problems, but also because it helps to rebuild their lives after a time of struggle. People lacking resilience can tend to get overwhelmed and have a hard time applying the right coping mechanisms when faced with a problem.

However, resilience does not necessarily equal mental toughness. Even resilient people will inevitably experience setbacks and hardships at some point in their lives. Stress, emotional suffering and loss are bound to hit everyone eventually. When someone is resilient, they have the emotional skills to work through these setbacks and eventually bounce back from difficult life events.

Everyday struggles as well as more serious traumas may include:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Divorce and break-ups
  • Job loss
  • Financial problems
  • Injuries and illnesses
  • Being the victim of crime or (natural) disasters

How to build resilience

The good news is that resilience is not a personality trait one either has or not, but that it can be acquired. Developing resilience is not a one-size-fits-all model and the process varies from person to person. However, there are some distinctive steps one can take to increase resilience over time.

  • Having a realistic but positive outlook can help to boost resilience. Instead of being overwhelmed by a certain task, it can be beneficial to look at the small steps that can be taken to tackle a problem. This way it is easier to stay away from a negative mindset, but rather focus on one’s strengths and achievable goals.
  • Finding the right support system is also a vital part for increasing resilience. Talking about challenges and difficulties with family, friends or loved ones takes away feelings of loneliness as well as helplessness. It can also aid in looking at struggles from a different perspective and encourage discussions.
  • Healthy stress management is not only vital for increasing overall health and promoting a work-life balance, but also in acquiring a higher degree of resilience.

The 5 Cs of resilience

  • Confidence: Inner strength and trust in oneself is vital for overcoming difficult times. Having a confident yet realistic view of one’s abilities can aid in dealing with stressful situations.
  • Community: Having someone to discuss troubles and worries with is vital in boosting resilience. Building a solid support system helps to gain new perspectives and releases stress.
  • Centering: Practicing exercise, healthy eating and mindfulness when faced with difficult situations. Centered people know their bodies and take a break or slow down when they need to.
  • Commitment: Having a persistent mindset and going through with planned tasks is another vital key to achieve a resilient mindset. It fosters the ability to look at the bigger picture and successfully problem-solve. The tendency to give up easily takes a toll on morale and sets a bad tone for the tasks ahead.
  • Compassion: Not only is it important to be surrounded with a great support system, but also to be there for others. Offering generosity, support and an open ear for people who might be struggling is a real resilience-booster.