Last updated on September 24th, 2023.
According to psychologists, a number of factors contribute to an individual’s overall mental health and well-being. One such factor is the resilience of the individual.
Resilience is an attribute that serves to see one through the storms of life. There are seven essential skills for resilience that contribute to a person’s life.
- Awareness of Self
- Ability to Talk
- Being Helpful
- Believe One Can Cope
That is the basis of resilience. Let’s explore this in more depth.
Is Resilience a Skill or a Quality?
Many resilience definitions exist in psychological circles, but most of them boil down to something like “Resilience is the ability or character asset that allows one to deal effectively and efficiently with the trying and difficult times that come with living.” There is some debate on whether or not resilience is a skill or an innate quality.
According to our research, however, the generally accepted notion is kind of an amalgam of both. Resilience is a quality that can be nurtured and strengthened by the development and growth of various skills, seven of which we shall discuss below.
- Maintain an Awareness of Self
- Ability to Talk Through Problems
- Demonstrate Self-Compassion
- Strive To Be Helpful
- Practice a Manner of Acceptance
- Be Forgiving
- Believe That One Can Cope with the Situation
As such, it isn’t really measured or determined by any sort of personality test, but rather on how the structure of our life reveals itself to us over time. Simply put, a person who lives a sheltered, protected life will never have his resilience tested. On the other hand, a person who lives a life of constant struggle will likely build and rely on her resilience to ever greater levels.
The key takeaway here is that resilience can be strengthened. Life will do so naturally through trials and tests. But if we want to take a direct hand in matters, there are skills we can learn and practice to build up our resilience.
Why Is Being Resilient Important?
Resilience is of critical importance to the overall psychological health and well-being of the individual. In a word, it comes down to “survival.” Or, perhaps rather, “psychological survival.”
Resilience is a natural quality given to us to help deal with the stress and pressure of everyday life. When stress comes into our life, we can deal with it if we are resilient. However, if we lack resilience, the stress may knock us down and keep us down.
Maybe it will cripple us. Maybe, it’ll even make us sick. Either way, it could easily devastate our lives.
Think of resilience as a water jug of a certain size and stress as water. As the stress in our lives increases, the amount of water in the jug increases as well. At a certain point, the water will rise to the lip of the jug and overflow. That’s our breaking point. That’s the point at which we can no longer deal with the stress. It will leave us broken and shattered—a shell of our former selves.
The good news is that even though we start life with a water jug of only a certain size, we can increase the size of the jug as we journey through life so that we can continually improve our ability to deal with stress. The bigger the jug, the more water it can hold. The more resilient we are, the more stress with which we can deal.
So, whether dealing with financial troubles, a pandemic, a stressful divorce or breakup, or the extreme pain of a death in the family, it is resilience that helps navigate these troubles and emerge on the other side a stronger person.
Yes, stronger. The more someone uses their resilience, the more it is tested and tried, the stronger it becomes. The water jug increases in size. It can also be increased, as we said above, by our own personal efforts.
Let’s discuss that now.
7 Essential Skills for Resilience
As we said, resilience is, basically, a quality of character, but that does not mean we have no control over it in ourselves. We can develop it by cultivating certain skills. One way to build it up and make it grow could be taking a resilience trainer certification.
In our research, we came across many different skills and techniques an individual can use to do that—far too many to include in a single post. However, we narrowed the list down to just seven such skills and techniques.
What follows is a list and explanation of each of these seven skills.
Maintain A Realistic Awareness of Self
The first skill we need to develop and work on is the ability to maintain a realistic awareness of ourselves.
This means we have made a thorough and accurate assessment of ourselves and our abilities. We know both our strengths and our limitations. We are both self-assured and confident and have a clear picture of our own self-worth.
Additionally, we have a sense of our core purpose and a clear idea of our values. Incorporating such things in our daily life makes decision-making easier for us. We hesitate less and can take actions that bring us a sense of satisfaction and achievement. We know what we enjoy, and we can pursue that with firm resolution.
This skill can be built up and developed by reflection upon these things, by doing an optimistic self-evaluation and setting goals for ourselves to strengthen our weaknesses and harness our strengths.
An Ability to Talk About What You Are Going Through
The ability to talk—not just speak, but really, really talk about important things—is another critical skill that can help us develop our resilience and handle the things we are going through.
Talking is a means of self-expression that helps us connect to our core and release built-up tension caused by undesirable circumstances.
But talking is a game of giving and take. The flip side of the coin of talking is listening. There will be times our friends need someone to talk to, and we can be that someone and provide a sounding board for their troubles. Naturally, they, most likely, will be eager to return the favor.
When we talk, we don’t have to dictate a novel, just speak from the heart and express the concerns that weigh upon us the most. It will help to reduce stress, and the more we do it, the more resilient and capable of dealing with stress we will become.
When we listen, it’s often good to just let the other person vent. We don’t have to interrupt. Maybe we can just say, “Mm-hmm” or nod our head in agreement from time to time.
Demonstrate A Consistent Level of Self-Compassion
Caring for ourselves is a critical part of life, and consistently practicing self-compassion is a critical part of caring for ourselves.
Self-compassion allows us to look at ourselves with an objective eye but without the heavy lens of criticism. We recognize the fact that we are only human. Our failures and inadequacies are taken in stride.
We realize and internalize that no one is perfect. Perfection is only a goal to be strived for, not a destination to be reached. With this notion in mind, we become less self-critical and more well-balanced psychologically. As a result, we are less prone to depression and handle stress far more effectively.
We treat ourselves like we would a great friend. If we need time alone, we take it. If we need to get out of the house, we do that as well. Having compassion is just one of the 7 C’s of resilience, but it is one of the more important ones. So make sure to take your time building it.
Strive To Be a Helpful Person
Helping others can be an emotionally rewarding experience that helps reduce stress and improve levels of self-esteem, thereby increasing our resilience.
By lessening someone else’s pain, we can help mitigate our own and diminish any feelings of helplessness we might be harboring.
After all, if we can affect others for the positive, we have more control, more power and are not fully at the whims of the cosmos.
However, it is recommended that we not focus on this principle too much and make ourselves a martyr to other’s interests. It’s not a good idea to burn ourselves out for the sake of others. We have to save some emotional fuel for ourselves. Otherwise, we won’t be doing anyone any good.
So, we focus on helping others to the extent we can, but we don’t forget the lessons learned about self-compassion. Don’t overdo it!
It is also important to practice acceptance of life and all it throws at us. It is just a fact of life that we are not in complete control of all the things around us. The sooner we recognize that fact, the better off we’ll be.
There is no silver bullet for things out of our control. We just must embrace the uncertainty that exists and learn to engage with the many unknowns of the universe in a creative fashion. Accept the fact that life will hold both ups and downs.
Take pleasure in the “ups” and accept as a necessity all the “downs.” Doing so helps us cope and build our resilience.
Learn to Forgive
Learning to forgive is another quasi-religious principle that will help boost someone’s resilience. This is tied to acceptance, but in a way that relates to other people, particularly those closest to us.
No matter who a person is and no matter how close a bond he might share with another, there will always be some friction–hurt feelings, anger, and resentment.
This is where forgiveness really matters.
Close relationships are the ones that are the most important. They are the ones that can give the most pain and the most joy. In times of trial, forgiveness allows us to smooth over the damage and let in healing.
The alternative is to choke back on the anger and let hate fester in our hearts. That is not only unpleasant, but it is destructive and ultimately not very healthy. The person that learns to forgive genuinely will be a happier person in the end. And a more resilient one.
Cultivate the Belief that You Can Cope
The last skill of critical importance to resilience is the ability to cultivate the belief that we can cope. In difficult times, be it a pandemic or anything else, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the situation. Feelings of helplessness may beset anyone in times like these.
It is important to acknowledge such feelings, but don’t let them win the day. Acknowledge them, witness them, but don’t succumb to them. That is resilience.
Doing this effectively, like anything else, takes practice.
Feel the emotions. Take a breath. Then reassert control. We must assess our strengths and assets and then prepare to approach the problems with a renewed sense of calm. Self-confidence is half the battle here. Even if the problems seem insurmountable, believing we can do it may just do the trick.
Well, there you have it, a brief discussion on the nature of resilience and seven skills that can be learned and implemented to increase one’s resilience for day-to-day living. Increasing one’s resilience is not only advantageous but important as well—especially in times like these. We wish you well in your efforts and hope for your success!