Resilience: A Work in Progress

As we move through life we will be met with challenges in various forms. The ability to overcome challenges and thrive during difficult times is called resilience. Personal characteristics such as hope, optimism, self-compassion, the ability to problem solve, and the ability to build relationships, can play an important role in resilience. Another component of resilience involves connecting with others and being authentic in your relationships.

What You Should Know About Resilience

  1. Everyone has the capacity to be resilient! Resilience is not something that you are born with or without, and you can work on strengthening it over time. Sometimes we may forget situations in which we were resilient until we take the time to reflect on our past experiences.
  2. Resilience is not the absence of suffering. It is getting through that suffering or difficult time. It is important to remember that negative emotions are not a sign of failure or weakness, they are a sign that something needs attention.
  3. Resilience is a dynamic process. This means that you can feel extremely resilient in one situation, but then, depending on the circumstances, you may not feel as resilient in another situation.
  4. There are many faces to resilience. Resilience will look differently all the time. Each individual will experience resilience in their own way and how they do this may even change.
  5. Resilience is affected by our social environments. This means that our families, communities, institutions (e.g. universities), and societies can support or undermine how resilient we feel. For example, things like accessibility and anti-mental health stigma can impact how safe or connected we feel.

Read more at Wellness & Resilience at McMaster

Practices for Resilience

  • Practice Self-Awareness: Take a step back, look at things from a holistic perspective and think about the way that you are thinking.
  • Check-In With Your Values: Think about the values and beliefs that inform the way that you see yourself and the world around you. Ask yourself if this value or belief is important to you. If the answer is yes, then think about how it impacts your life. Does it improve the quality of your life? Working through this process can help you develop critical awareness.
  • Connect With Other People: Identify the people with whom you feel safe and comfortable sharing your internal world.
  • Remember That You Can Be Resilient: Remember times when you were resilient. Think about what you might be able to apply from those experiences when you are faced with a difficulty or challenge in the future.

Read more at Wellness & Resilience at McMaster