10 Tips to Build Resilience

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10 Tips to Build Resilience

What are some tips that can help you learn to be resilient? As you use these tips, keep in mind that each person's journey along the road to resilience will be different - what works for you may not work for others.

  1. Get support
    During difficult times it is important to connect with friends, talk with your parents or even speak with a counselor. Don't be afraid to tell your story, express your opinion and share your emotions.
  2. Be Kind to Yourself
    When something bad happens in your life, the stress of whatever you're going through may heighten daily stresses. (Your emotions might already be all over the map because of other things going on in your life at the same time.) Be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to do what is best for your well-being.
  3. Create A Stress-Free Zone
    Make your dorm room or apartment a "stress-free zone" that reflects who you are and what you value. Your home should be a space that makes you feel comfortable and is a safe haven from stress and anxiety.
  4. Stick To The Program
    During a time of major stress, try to stick to your usual routine. You may be doing all kinds of new things, but don't forget the routines that give you comfort, whether it’s going to the gym, or having a nightly phone call with a friend.
  5. Take Care of Yourself
    Be sure to take care of yourself - physically, mentally and spiritually. Try to get 8-9 hours of sleep each night, get your body moving with exercise, limit your use of alcohol, and eat balanced meals. You can also learn some relaxation techniques, whether it's thinking of a particular song in times of stress, mediation or just taking deep breaths to calm down.
  6. Take Control
    During stress you can move towards your goals one small step at a time. Sometimes, just getting out of bed and going to class may be all you can handle, but even accomplishing that can help. Challenging times make us feel out of control - grab some of that control back by taking decisive action.
  7. Express Yourself
    Stressful times can bring up a lot of conflicting emotions, but sometimes, it's just too hard to talk to someone about what you're feeling. If talking isn't working, do something else to express your emotions, such as writing or creating art.
  8. Help Somebody
    Nothing gets your mind off your own problems like solving someone else's. Try volunteering in your community, on campus or help a friend.
  9. Put Things In Perspective
    Remember that everything changes and difficult times in our lives do end. If you're worried about whether you've got what it takes to get through this, think back on a time when you faced up to your fears. How did that feel? Reflect on the things in your life that are always constant, that you can rely on, even in times of difficulty. Don’t forget to reflect on all the positive people, things and times in your life.
  10. Turn It Off
    Try to limit the amount of television you watch. Sometimes the focus on the sensational aspects of our culture, as portrayed on TV, can just add to the difficult feelings you are facing and may increase your sense of loneliness. TV often adds to stress and contributes no new knowledge.

You can learn resilience. But just because you learn resilience doesn't mean you won't feel stressed or anxious. You might have times when you aren't happy - and that's OK. Resilience is a journey, and each person will take his or her own time along the way.

You may benefit from some of the resilience tips above, while some of your friends may benefit from others. The skills of resilience you learn during really bad times will be useful even after the bad times end, and they are good skills to have every day. Resilience can help you be one of those people who has "bounce."

Adapted from: American Psychological Association, last accessed October 20, 2007 http://apahelpcenter.org/featuredtopics/feature.php?ch=2&id=40