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What Are the 5 Skills of Resilience?

7 min.

It can be tough to bounce back from challenges, but learning resilience is possible. Here's how.

By: Charlie Health Editorial Team

Clinically Reviewed By: Don Gasparini Ph.D., M.A., CASAC

May 20, 2023


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Table of Contents

The 5 skills of resilience

Resilience is the ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity, challenges, or difficult situations. While various skills contribute to resilience, here are five key skills commonly associated with developing resilience:

  1. Emotional regulation

Resilient people have the ability to manage and regulate their emotions effectively. They are aware of their feelings, acknowledge them without being overwhelmed, and can respond to them in a constructive manner. Emotional regulation helps people cope with stress, maintain a positive mindset, and make rational decisions during challenging times.

  1. Optimism and positive thinking

Resilient people tend to have an optimistic outlook and a positive mindset. They focus on possibilities and opportunities rather than dwelling on problems or negative outcomes. Optimism helps people stay motivated, find solutions for challenges, and maintain a hopeful perspective during difficult times.

  1. Problem-solving and decision-making

Resilience involves identifying problems, analyzing them, and developing effective strategies to overcome them. Resilient people possess strong problem-solving and decision-making skills. They are resourceful, adaptable, and capable of thinking critically and creatively to find solutions.

  1. Social support and connection

Building and maintaining a strong support network is crucial for resilience. Resilient people can reach out for support when needed and foster healthy relationships with others. Social support provides emotional comfort, guidance, and practical assistance during challenging times, which helps people cope and recover more effectively.

  1. Self-care and well-being

Resilience requires taking care of oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Resilient people prioritize self-care and engage in activities that promote their well-being. This includes maintaining a healthy lifestyle, practicing relaxation techniques, getting enough rest, engaging in hobbies, and seeking professional help as needed.

These skills can be developed and strengthened over time with practice, support, and self-reflection. Building resilience allows people to navigate adversity and challenges more effectively and emerge stronger from difficult situations.

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Examples of resilient behavior

Resilient behavior refers to the ability to adapt, recover, and bounce back in the face of adversity, challenges, or setbacks. It involves a combination of psychological, emotional, and behavioral characteristics that help individuals navigate difficult situations and maintain their well-being. 

Here are some examples of resilient behavior:

Positive outlook

Resilient people tend to maintain a positive mindset, focusing on possibilities and solutions rather than dwelling on problems. They often approach challenges with optimism and see setbacks as opportunities for growth. For instance, let’s say someone doesn’t get a job they applied for. Instead of feeling defeated and demoralized, they might maintain a positive outlook by viewing it as an opportunity to explore other career options, enhance their skills, or find a better fit elsewhere. They might believe that this setback could lead them to a more fulfilling and rewarding path in the long run. This positive outlook allows them to maintain optimism, resilience, and a proactive mindset in the face of adversity.

Emotional regulation

Resilient people are skilled at managing their emotions. They acknowledge their feelings, but don’t let negative emotions overwhelm them. They find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as through relaxation techniques, exercise, or seeking support from others. If a friend cancels plans at the last minute, a person with emotional regulation skills might feel sad but would keep in mind that unexpected changes happen. Instead of acting from a place of sadness or anger and yelling at their friend for canceling, they might spend the night watching a movie and bring up the situation with their friend at a later point.

Flexibility and adaptability

Resilient people are adaptable and flexible in the face of change—if they miss a bus, they take the next one, if the restaurant they want to eat at is closed, they choose somewhere else to eat. They can adjust their goals and plans as needed and are open to new ideas and perspectives. They embrace change as a natural part of life and find ways to navigate through it.

Problem-solving skills

Resilient people have strong problem-solving skills. They can analyze challenges, break them down into manageable parts, and develop practical strategies to overcome them. They are resourceful, creative, and proactive in finding solutions. Let’s say a person is planning a trip but realizes their budget is limited. They will find a way to make the trip more affordable, like booking cheaper hotels, and create a plan to effectively spend their money. 

Social support

Resilient people recognize the importance of social connections and seek support from others when needed. They maintain healthy relationships and build a network of supportive friends, family, or colleagues. They are also willing to support others, fostering a sense of reciprocity and community.

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Self-care and self-compassion

Resilient people prioritize self-care and take steps to maintain their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. They engage in activities that promote self-care, such as exercise, balanced eating, sufficient rest, and leisure time. They also practice self-compassion, treating themselves with kindness and understanding during challenging times.

Learning from failures

Resilient people view failures as learning opportunities rather than indicators of personal worth or ability. They analyze their failures, extract lessons from them, and use those lessons to improve and grow. They have a growth mindset, believing that skills and abilities can be developed through effort and experience. Imagine someone who loves baking but hasn’t been able to cook a perfectly risen cake. Instead of giving up on their passion, they educate themselves on the science of baking. Through their research, they discover that accurately measuring ingredients, properly creaming butter and sugar, and ensuring the oven temperature is correct are crucial factors in successful baking. Armed with this knowledge, they adjust their approach and try again. As a result, their cake turns out beautifully, with a light and fluffy texture they had always hoped for.

Sense of purpose and meaning

Resilient people often have a sense of purpose or a strong sense of meaning in their lives, perhaps from personal relationships, spirituality or religion, or career goals. They have clear goals, values, or beliefs that provide direction and motivation, helping them stay focused and determined during difficult times.

Resilience is not an all-or-nothing trait but rather a set of behaviors and skills that can be developed and strengthened over time. Different people may exhibit resilience in different ways, and it can vary across various contexts and situations.

Resilience and mental health

Resilience and mental health are closely interconnected. Building resilience can have a positive impact on mental health, and good mental health can enhance a person’s ability to be resilient. Here are some examples of how resilience and mental health are related:

Protective factor against mental health problems

Resilience acts as a protective factor against the development of mental health problems. When faced with stress, trauma, or adversity, resilient people are better equipped to cope, adapt, and bounce back. They are less likely to experience prolonged distress or develop mental health conditions like anxiety or depression.

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Coping with stress and adversity

Resilience helps individuals effectively cope with stressors and adversities that can negatively impact mental health. Resilient people are better able to regulate their emotions, problem-solve, and seek support, reducing the likelihood of succumbing to chronic stress or developing mental health difficulties.

Promoting positive coping strategies

Resilient people often engage in healthy coping strategies that support their mental well-being. They may prioritize self-care activities, seek social support, engage in relaxation techniques, or practice mindfulness. These strategies can help manage stress, reduce anxiety, and improve overall mental health.

Building and maintaining social connections

Resiliency often includes social support networks, which are crucial for maintaining good mental health. Social connections provide emotional support, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for positive interactions, all of which contribute to mental well-being.

Developing a positive mindset

Resilience is associated with a positive mindset and optimism, both of which have a significant impact on mental health. Optimistic people are more likely to have better mental health outcomes, including lower rates of depression and improved overall well-being.

Recovery from mental health challenges

Resilience plays a vital role in the recovery process for individuals experiencing mental health difficulties. Resilient people are more likely to seek help, adhere to treatment plans, and engage in activities that support their recovery journey. Their ability to adapt and bounce back enables them to navigate setbacks and setbacks and progress toward improved mental health.

How to build resilience

Building resilience is a lifelong process that involves developing various skills and adopting certain attitudes and behaviors. Here are some strategies to help you build resilience:

  • Practice gratitude and optimism, and challenge negative thoughts or self-talk
  • Participate in community activities or join support groups to connect with like-minded individuals
  • Learn to recognize and manage your emotions using mindfulness techniques like yoga or meditation
  • Break down challenges into smaller, manageable tasks, and develop strategies to overcome them
  • Take care of your physical health by getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and exercising regularly
  • View situations from different angles and maintain a balanced perspective instead of catastrophizing, seeing the worst outcome in every situation

Remember, building resilience takes time and effort—it’s a continuous process of learning and growth. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.

How Charlie Health can help 

Resilience can contribute to better mental health outcomes, but it is not a substitute for professional help when needed. In cases of severe or persistent mental health problems, it’s crucial to seek appropriate support from mental health professionals.

Our personalized virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) provides mental health treatment for teens, young adults, and families dealing with various struggles. In our program, you’ll be matched with a therapist who meets your specific needs. Additionally, you’ll be connected with a group of peers who face similar struggles to help you remember you’re not alone. 

Coping with mental health challenges isn’t easy, but with personalized care and a supportive community, you can develop resilience and grow from your struggles. Help is here now. Get started today.

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