How to build resilience

How is it that some people get knocked down by the smallest setbacks whereas others seems to emotionally sail through the biggest crises? The answer is resilience.

Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt and bounce back in the face of stressful events or when things don’t turn out as planned. To be resilient means to move forward after a difficult experience rather than dwell on failures and problems.

To some people this seems to come naturally, but it is, in fact, learned behaviour. And it’s never too late to learn how to build resilience. You can change your brain for the better. It’s a bit like training a muscle.

Here are 8 strategies that will help you to build resilience

      1. Look after your physical and mental health

This includes everything from getting enough sleep on a regular basis to eating well and exercising frequently. If your body and mind are well rested and get the right nutrients and enough exercise, you are better equipped to deal with whatever life throws at you.

      2. Take regular breaks

Take sufficient breaks throughout the day but also do something fun and relaxing at weekends. And take holidays. Whether you go away or plan a staycation, recharging once or twice a year is important for your mental health.

From short 5-minute mental breaks to holidays, these times away from work will help you to revitalise and boost your mental strength, helping you to be mentally stronger than trying to tough it out by working non-stop.

      3. Have strong relationships

Whether it’s family members, friends or work colleagues who you can reach out and talk to in tough times, doesn’t matter. But creating this kind of support network is important for building your resilience. This is why support groups are so powerful as they give people a chance to talk openly about difficult issues. Receiving emotional support but also physical comfort such as hugs can boost people’s resilience.

      4. Watch out for internal dialogue

We are often our own worst enemies by how we react internally. If other people treated us the way we often treat ourselves, we would not stand for it. In case of a crisis remind yourself that it’s not permanent (“this is the end of it”), it’s not personal (“I’m such an idiot”) or pervasive (“this always happens to me”) but come up with more productive statements such as “I can improve this tomorrow”, “I made a mistake on this occasion” or “This happened today. I now know what to do differently”.

      5. Learn from your mistakes

We all make mistakes, that’s how we learn. The next time we know what to avoid or try a different approach. If we gave up after the first failed attempt, we’d still be crawling as adults, as it takes a lot of falling over before we learn to walk when we’re little.

When we’re adults we expect to be able to do everything at first attempt and get discouraged if it doesn’t happen for us. Stop doing that to yourself. After a setback, ask yourself “What can I learn from this? What can I do better next time?” and then put your newly found knowledge into practice in your next attempt.

      6. Choose a better response

Often, it’s not what happens to us but how we respond that makes us feel miserable. Embrace change as an opportunity to grow and learn new skills. Setbacks or problems don’t have to be met with panic and negativity, you can choose to react calmly and logically.

If you’ve experienced a tragedy or trauma, allow yourself to feel bad for a while, grieve, if necessary. We have to go through this to heal and it takes different amounts of time for different people. This is also where a strong social network can help you to deal better with what’s happening to you.

      7. Reward your accomplishments

Learning to be kind to yourself can also go a long way towards building resilience. Finishing a task, making a decision, doing something you said you would, are all little things that we simply do and move on. Instead, give yourself a small reward every time you accomplish something, even if it’s just saying “well done” to yourself.

      8. Use Mindfulness

You can use regular mindfulness meditations to become more resilient. This works by making you aware of any unhelpful thought processes as they happen. This way you can then take actions to change your thinking patterns to more supportive ones.

To that effect, I’m going to be running an eight week course in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) from October 2018.

The Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) was developed by three scientists in the 1990s, as a way to help patients prone to depression by building resilience.  It has been shown to prevent the recurrence of depression by 50%.  Not only those with a history of depression can benefit from participating in the course. It is intended to help you strengthen your ability to manage stress, anxiety, or low mood and cultivate balance, calm, and resilience through the practice of mindfulness and the acquisition of skills to better manage stress and as well as your thoughts and feelings.

For more details about the MBCT course, please click this link.

How the WorkWell Practice can help

We offer workshops on building resilience. Please see here for more details.

In addition, we can conduct a wellbeing audit for your business, create an action plan and follow it up. We also provide a wide variety of workshops and talk to your employees about ways to cope with stress. If you would like to find out more, why not get in touch? You can phone Sam at 075 222 777 22 or you can email .

To book your complimentary strategy call please leave your details here.


Disclaimer: As with most practices, mindfulness may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any existing mental health conditions or past trauma, you should discuss these with your GP or mental health professional and these should also be disclosed prior to enrolling in a class.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *