What Exactly is Resiliency?
How can some people bounce back from hardship or remain in challenging situations while others get disconcerted and remain affected for a longer period of time? Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy and other significant sources of stress. Research has shown that resilience is ordinary not extraordinary, and people regularly demonstrate resilience. Having strong resiliency skills doesn’t remove challenging or distressed feelings altogether, but rather can help reduce the time it takes to return to “normal” everyday functioning. Luckily, resilience involves behaviours, thoughts, actions and skills that can be learned and developed.
Several achievable factors are associated with resilience, including:
- Having caring and supportive relationships
- The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
- A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities
- Skills in communication and problem solving
- The ability to manage strong feelings and impulses
Developing or enhancing resilience is a completely personal journey. Here are a few general tips  to consider when developing your personal resiliency:
Make connections. Having a good support system involving positive relationships is crucial, as is accepting help from those who care about you and your wellbeing. Read more about improving the quality of your relationships.
Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable problems. You may not be able to control or avoid stressful events from happening, but you can change your outlook and how you respond to these events. Find out how you can maintain your inner strength amidst life’s daily challenges.
Accept change. It is part of life. This may change your course of action or make certain goals no longer attainable. Learn how to deal with the stress resulting from change and how to adapt and respond effectively to changes.
Explore, determine and move towards your goals. Learn the SMART guide to goal setting.
Take decisive actions. Act on adverse situations as much as possible rather than passively ignoring problems and stresses. Check out some tips for great decision making.
Seize opportunities for self-discovery. Learn to meditate or try a new team sport or hobby.
Nurture a positive view of yourself. Read more on constructing confidence and building self-belief.
Maintain a perspective view on things. Avoid making difficult situations a bigger deal than they actually are. View stressful events in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. Being optimistic about the future allows you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Instead of worrying and fearing for the worst, visualize a hopeful outcome. Nourish your inner optimist. Consider using a journal such as the Five Minute Journal  to help you focus on the good in your life.
Take care of yourself. Read more on how to improve your relationship with yourself.
Explore Mindfulness and Meditation at UBC. Consider enrolling in our upcoming programs:
30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge – Free for UBC employees
Two Start Dates: October 16, 2017 and February 19, 2018
Learn the core skills of mindfulness through evidence-based online training. The 30-day challenge does not involve a formal meditation practice, but rather teaches mindfulness-in-action for everyday life.
How it works:
- 5-10 minutes per day
- Online, anytime, any device
- 30 consecutive days
- Invite a buddy or colleagues to join you
Key impact areas:
- Health and wellbeing
- Increased performance
- Teamwork and conflict resolution
Mindfulness@Work – $100 for UBC employees (eligible for PD funding)
Two Start Dates: November 7, 2017 and April 5, 2018
For a deeper understanding of mindfulness and/or to develop a meditation practice, Mindfulness@Work offers an in-person educational program experience that uses the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) model.
How it works
- Six-week, in-person training
- Meet for 1 hour and 15 minutes once a week in a small supportive group led by a mindfulness teacher
- Attend a half day weekend retreat
- Daily home assignments for 15-30 minutes a day
Key impact areas
- Stress reduction
- Physical and mental wellbeing
- Effectiveness, teamwork, communication skills
- Focuses on integrating mindfulness in the workplace
Additional resources on building resiliency:
- More steps to building resiliency in your life
- Tips for balance and talking about resiliency
- Workplace and career resiliency
Photo credit: Melissa Lafrance