8 tips to strengthen your resilience

How to build a strong mindset and bounce back better
Published April 19, 2021

Ever wondered what makes some people seem able to bounce back from tough times or setbacks faster or easier than others? It’s a quality called resilience.

“Resilience is the ability to fully engage in life, recover from challenges, and increase the capacity to thrive in the future,” says Joyce Marter, LCPC, psychotherapist and author of the upcoming The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life.

“Resilience allows us to bounce back after experiencing difficulty and come out stronger.”

And resilience can help in all areas of your life.

“Resilience is a critical component of succeeding in work and life,” Marter explains, adding that studies have found positive relationships between resilience and good mental health, longevity, greater satisfaction with life, and job performance, which is related to your financial health.

Resilience is also linked to stress management – so it’s important to find tools that help you deal with and release stress.

“If we don’t manage our stress by making healthy choices, practising self-care and accessing support, we put ourselves at risk for experiencing anxiety, depression, substance abuse, clinical burnout, and other mental and physical health disorders,” Marter says. “Managing our stress effectively is also important for our relationships – so we can be our best selves with our partners, children, friends and family. Finally, stress management is critical for job performance and financial success.”

Social connections are also closely tied to both stress management and overall resilience.

“Social support boosts your psychological health, allowing you to become more resilient,” Marter explains. “Our support network and relationships are the keys to resilience and success. Your social capital includes those who can provide emotional, logistical or financial help and assistance during difficult times. Your support network is like a garden of resources that needs to be tended to mindfully by weeding out toxic relationships and planting seeds for making new connections.”

She adds, “Research shows that the most resilient people are those who have experienced high trauma but have high support. I’ve seen this in my practice. People who have moved through challenges by accessing support from others have deep wisdom carved into their being and have greater confidence that they will be able to manage anything life throws their way.”

So how do you improve your level of resilience?

Marter shares the following tips from her new book that can help.

  1. Have a growth mindset. “View challenges as learning experiences instead of obstacles. View setbacks as opportunities for growth and development instead of failures. Understand that progress is not linear,” she says.
  2. Root yourself in the present moment. “Connect with the here-and-now through mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga and connecting with nature. Mindful presence reduces negative thoughts and rumination, enhancing your ability to recover, and bounce back from stressors,” says Marter.
  3. Take responsibility. “Taking ownership of your role in any negative life events, practising forgiveness, and letting go when events are outside of your control helps you move forward with resilience,” Marter says.
  4. Cultivate self-love. “Silence your Inner Saboteur and practise self-compassion, self-forgiveness and self-affirmation. Good self-care practices including proper sleep, nutrition and exercise foster your emotional and physical resilience.”
  5. Develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. “Greater awareness of yourself and others allows you to better adapt to and move through stressful situations,” Marter explains.
  6. Practise gratitude to increase positivity. “Having gratitude helps you in adapting to situations and coping with times of stress. Positive emotions contribute to creative thoughts, strong relationships and flexible mindsets that all build resilience. Thinking positively and taking action helps you persevere and continue to forge ahead.”
  7. Embrace an abundance mindset. “Abundant thinking opens you up to seeing possibilities and solutions when experiencing challenges, making you more resilient.”
  8. Turn to your spiritual practices. “Having a spiritual outlook that includes a sense of greater meaning or deeper purpose in life fosters resilience.”

Bonus tip: Affirm your resilience

If you’re someone who enjoys using affirmations, Marter has a few suggestions for phrases that can help foster resilience.

I made it through challenges in the past and I trust that I will again.

I am growing, evolving and thriving.

I will persevere and prosper.

I trust I will survive and manage all that comes and refuse to succumb to the fear of rejection or failure.

I free myself from the powers of fear and doubt. I choose love, faith and courage as my guides.

How can I share my resilience with others?

If you already feel pretty resilient, great! You can help others in your life build their resilience by sharing what you’ve already got in spades. Marter suggests the following:

Share what you’ve learned through mentoring, teaching, writing and speaking.

Serve as a role model or lighthouse shining the way for others.

Be of service to others, providing support to those in need as you are able.