All About Resilience

Adversity is a fact of life. Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back at least as strong as before. Rather than letting difficulties or failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes. 

Psychologists have identified some of the factors that make a person resilient, such as a positive attitude, optimism, the ability to regulate emotions, and the ability to see failure as a form of helpful feedback. Research shows that optimism helps blunt the impact of stress on the mind and body in the wake of disturbing experiences. And that gives people access to their own cognitive resources, enabling cool-headed analysis of what might have gone wrong and consideration of behavioral paths that might be more productive.

Resilience is not some magical quality; it takes real mental work to transcend hardship. But even after misfortune, resilient people are able to change course and move toward achieving their goals. There's growing evidence that the the elements of resilience can be cultivated.

How to Bounce Back from Challenges

Resilience is about getting through pain and disappointment without letting them crush your spirit. While it isn't always easy, research continues to uncover what resilient people do as they persist after missteps, accidents, and trauma.

For instance, do you attribute personal and professional setbacks solely to your own inadequacy—or are you able to identify contributing factors that are specific and temporary? Do you demand a perfect streak—or are you able to accept that life is a mix of losses and wins? In each case, the latter quality has been tied to greater levels of resilience.

Stories of ordinary people thrust into extraordinarily challenging circumstances prove that disasters can be overcome—and can even make one stronger.


Optimism, Stress, Grit

Why—and How—Failure Can Help Us

To fail is deeply human—as is the capacity to inspect, learn from, and transcend failure. Ultimately, failures are the stumbling blocks on the proverbial path to success: The lessons they teach have implications for humility, maturity, and empathy.

That doesn’t mean, however, that one needs to pretend that it’s pleasant to fail or ignore the frustration that arises when a goal falls out of reach. Instead, accepting the feelings that come with failure, being curious about them, and resisting the urge to judge oneself too harshly are all critical skills to practice.

In addition to cultivating better emotional regulation, such skills may also provide lessons that will stop the failure from repeating itself in the future.


Optimism, Depression, Grit

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