A resilient body is more resistant to debilitating or incapacitating injuries. Is it any surprise that a resilient mind is crucial for better mental health?
Resilience is one of the most important traits that you can develop, both physically and mentally. It takes daily exercise and training to improve your physical resilience, strengthen your muscles, and accelerate your body’s internal repair mechanisms.
But for mental resilience, it takes the same amount of daily effort—just of a very different sort!
What is resilience, exactly? It’s so much more than just being able to recover or “bounce back” after a hard time—in fact, it actually takes things a step farther. Resilience is about not only recovery, but also adaptability. It enables you to repair the damage in the present and take steps to protect yourself and prevent further damage in the future.
The American Psychological Association  defines resilience as “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress”. It extends beyond just the workplace, but is part of every arena of your personal and professional life.
Some of the characteristics of a resilient person include:
High levels of commitment to their goals
A positive view of change as an opportunity for growth and improvement
A tendency to lean on others for support
A good sense of humor
Faith and belief
Patience and tolerance, even in negative circumstances
Well-established goals, both personal and collective
Connections with others
Adaptability and versatility, even with the new and unfamiliar
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There is even a metric—the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale, or CD-RISC,  that allows you to gauge your resilience by answering 25 simple questions.
The fascinating thing about resilience is that it’s directly linked to your mental health. People with mental illness get a much lower resilience score on the CD-RISC, while those who score higher on this resilience test tend to function more effectively in society and professional workplaces. In fact, people with greater resilience are better able to handle the stresses and pressures of daily life, so they are less prone to stress-related mental and physical health issues.
Resilience is a solution for both the present and the future—it will enable you to stay strong today and strengthen yourself against tomorrow’s problems. Developing resilience is especially important in our modern, fast-paced society.
The question is: how can you become more resilient?
Here are a few things you can try to improve your resilience:
Figure out your “why”. Having a sense of purpose, a reason WHY you’re doing what you’re doing, can make you far more resilient.
Let’s say, for example, that your job is stressing you out and pushing you toward burnout. But, you know that you’re working to feed your family and to set yourself up for a better future. Focusing on that purpose can give you the strength to keep going even when times are tough. It will make you more resilient because it fortifies your resolve and gives you the strength to weather the storm.
Engage with others. A strong network of friends, family, and social connections is absolutely vital for a good life. Not only will it improve your mental health, but it will give you a solid support framework to lean on when times get tough.
Relationships take work and cost a great deal of effort, but they’re absolutely worth it. Those relationships will make you stronger and keep you steady through the hardest of times.
Change your mindset to one of positive thinking. Optimism is a major part of resilience. If you can always see the good in any situation, it will make those situations less stressful and give you greater grace to bear up under the pressure. Positive thinking will also help you to see and embrace the opportunities that arise in the disguise of problems and obstacles.
Embrace change. This goes hand in hand with optimism! Change happens—it’s inevitable and often feels terrible. But it’s also a potential catalyst for amazing things. After all, it’s only when you get out of your current ruts and try something new that you open the door for the “new” in your life.
Many of us spend our whole lives trying to form habits and patterns that we think will make us more effective. Sometimes, getting away from the things we’ve been doing for days, months, or years can actually show us a better way of doing things or a side of the situation we’ve never seen before. Change is inevitable, but it’s also one of the best things for you!
Set goals and take action NOW. Working toward something is one of the best ways for you to stay resilient. Think of it like a sailing ship: if you’re sitting in port, the storms could wash you up on shore or break you against the rocks. But if you’re out at open sea, even if you get blown way off course, you’re still going somewhere. You’re more likely to keep forging ahead to reach those goals even if life gets difficult—and that is a key to being more resilient!
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