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Darcy Sterling Ph.D.
Darcy Sterling Ph.D.

5 Tips To Increase Resilience

5 Quick Tips To Develop Resilience

Recently, a friend of mine had the following quote on her Facebook wall:

"Life's not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain."

- Vivian Greene

The quote got me thinking about a concept called resilience, which is to say, our capacity to deal with discomfort, challenges and adversity.

I'm forever telling my clients that life is about how we respond to situations, because the situations themselves (the storms) are beyond our control. Wait for a peaceful moment and you'll likely find none. Decide that everything is fine right now and soon the sun will follow. It's an amazing principal that I continue to test out in my own life and which never fails to prove true.

Thankfully our ability to bounce back from pain boils down to more than just genetics. Sure, some of us are hardwired to lean forward in life, to triumph through adversity, but studies show that the rest of us can absolutely learn how to increase our resilience.

Resilient people understand that pain, misfortune and failure are not end points. They understand that although Americans are given the right to the pursuit of happiness, there is absolutely no guarantee of happiness; and if we happen to be blessed with happiness, it is just one of many positive and negative emotions that we will experience. It is a feeling; a mood. Not a destination.

Below are 5 tips to boost resilience:

  • Find Meaning in Adversity. Every pain contains a lesson. Find a lesson that makes you feel better and align with it.
  • Build a Community of Support. Equally important, decide that the support you're currently getting is good enough. Be grateful for it.
  • Be Hopeful. Hope, like hopelessness, is actually a choice. We all periodically feel hopeless. Resilient people know who they are ~ and they do not define themselves by their momentary emotions. Choose hope.
  • Focus on Gratitude. Keep a gratitude journal, or better yet, start a Gratitude Blog with a small group of friends. It takes ‘training' to see the glass as half full. Begin your training right now. What one thing are you grateful for today? The blog that you're reading for free?
  • Accept & Anticipate Change. It's part of life, folks. And as humans, we do not heart change. Take this principal a step further and also accept and anticipate pain, rejection, misfortune and loss. If your goal is to cope effectively instead of avoiding such experiences, you'll indeed have built up the very important trait of resilience.

Do you have more tips for resilience? I'd love to hear from you. Email me at

About the Author
Darcy Sterling Ph.D.

Darcy Sterling, Ph.D., is Executive Director of Alternatives Counseling in New York City.

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