Health Feature Articles
Becoming more resilient
Nina Chen, Ph.D., CFLE, Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension
Life is challenging, we all know that. But many of us wonder why some people seem to have better coping skills. What are the secrets for people who are able to navigate through tough times and bounce back? Dr. Robert Brooks at Harvard Medical School indicated “some people are naturally more resilient.” But resilience can also be learned. Here are some suggestions to build resilience:
- Make connections with others. Stay connected with family
members, friends, people who can help you celebrate good times,
listen to you, and provide support through tough times. Social
support and friendships are very important for building resilience
and improving self-worth. Resilient people have good friendships,
supportive relationships and strong social connections.
- Have a positive and optimistic attitude. Resilient people
are generally optimistic and see things from the bright side when
facing difficult situations or crises. One study conducted
at University of San Francisco found that caregivers who did not
find positive meaning in their caregiving were more likely to become
depressed after their loved one passed away. Positive
attitudes enable people to have hope and confidence in their abilities
to make changes. Flexibility, accepting change and making
adjustments help resilient people put their energy into things they
can control and let go of things they cannot change.
- Give back. Many people find that they become happier and more
resilient by helping others. This experience helps build a sense
of competence and fulfillment. Research shows that giving back
to the community and helping others is a great tool for resilient
- Be humorous and playful. Resilient people are playful and
laugh at themselves or find humor in a situation even when dealing
with difficult events. They learn to deal with stress instead
of being stressed. They also learn from their experience and adapt quickly.
- Be spiritual. Resilient people are spiritual. According to a
Duke University study, those people who participate in religious
activities were less likely to experience depression. Even
when they experience depression, their depression lifted faster than
those people who were less religious. People who are active
in religion are likely to cope with stress and difficult times better.
- Stay healthy. Eating right and being physically active on a regular basis are also important components in coping with stress. Resilient people take care of themselves, get enough sleep and find ways to relax to stay healthy physically and mentally. When people are in good physical and mental health, they deal with distractions and tough events better and have an easier time bouncing back.
Howard, B. (2011-2012). The secrets of resilient people. In H. Cox (Ed.). Aging (pp. 20-21). New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Last Updated 10/05/2015