Resources for Building Resilience

When it comes to good mental health, resilience is hugely important. But, resilience is like physical stamina; it’s something that you develop over time with continual effort. Here are some strategies that can be employed to build up your resiliency.

Build a Support Network

The Mayo Clinic explains the psychological concept of resilience as “the ability to roll with the punches.” Effectively, your level of resilience is measured by how well you cope with trauma and adversity. When you get cut off in traffic and you maintain control of your vehicle so that you don’t crash, that’s resilience. When you get fired suddenly and spend the next day scrolling through your contacts in search of leads on a new job, that’s resilience.

One of the most effective ways to increase your level of resilience is to cultivate a support network of friends and loved ones that you can turn to when a crisis arises. These are people who will support you in the face of a significant personal setback. These people can be your relatives, close friends, or even people you meet in a support group for those that are dealing with significant adversity.

Utilize Online Resources

There are a number of different online resources that you can use to develop your resilience. The American Psychological Association offers a checklist that can be used when you encounter an extremely stressful situation. It operates on a similar principle to cognitive behavioral therapy; you interrogate your emotions so that you can pick apart illogical or otherwise deleterious trails of thought before they start to affect your overall wellbeing.

The APA also recommends journaling as an effective method of building resilience. Not only does journaling give you an outlet for your most private thoughts, but it will also give you the ability to review other points in your life when you were faced with serious trauma and survived. This Harvard Business Review article and this Observer opinion piece both offer advice on how to be resilient. Also, if you or someone you know is feeling emotionally overwhelmed, immediate help is available.

Read Some Books

Resilience, and how to build up resilience, has been the subject of a variety of different books. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand is the best-selling biography Louis Zamperini, an Olympic athlete and World War II veteran who survived two and a half years living in a Japanese prison of war camp. In addition to being a riveting read, Unbroken takes an in-depth look at how Zamperini was able to endure and move past his experiences.

Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven is a novel that chronicles the lives of a troupe of actors and musicians as they struggle to adapt to life after a plague has devastated the world. Though broadly a science-fiction novel, Station is a nuanced and quietly profound examination of how to cope with the most catastrophic of circumstances.

Eric Greitens’ Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, William Bridges’ Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes and Wayne Mueller’s Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood are all widely regarded as being great self-help books that are resilience-centric.