All of us have the capacity to face difficult events and carry on but for some of us this feels harder than it should.

Learning to understand your resilience, recognising where it is weak and taking steps to build it will help you overcome stressful situations.

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Learn more about resilience

In this guide we explain resilience; what it is and why it’s so important to maintaining good mental health. We then provide some straightforward advice and steps you can take to develop your own resilience.

  • What is resilience?

    Resilience isn’t; pushing through, taking control or carrying on regardless of how you feel, but is about developing strategies that help you manage when facing situations you find stressful.

    But we all respond to stressful situations differently. You may be someone who can carry on without a second thought, or perhaps you're someone who finds quite minor difficulties overwhelming. Having an ability to respond well to, and learn from, stressful situations is what we think of as resilience.

    So, a good way to think of resilience is; your ability to cope with, or recover from, stressful and even traumatic experiences.

  • How our resilience develops

    Resilience isn’t something you’re born with, it develops and changes over time in response to your experiences, your environment and the social interactions you have.

    Throughout your life you’ll have experienced things that you felt you couldn’t control and sometimes these situations will have made you uncomfortable. Things like; a tough day at school, moving away from your friends, a relationship breakdown, or starting a new job.

    These personal experiences and how you respond to them each contribute to your resilience. For example you may use your sense of humour to help you get by, while for others it will be a belief in their ability to face difficult situations, or you may have strategies that help you manage your emotions. All these things are part of your personal resilience toolkit that you draw on when you need.
  • Signs you may need to develop your resilience

    As low resilience can mean you are more easily affected by stressful situations, the signs and symptoms are broadly similar to those you might see if you're affected by stress, anxiety or depression, and can include:

    • getting angry or irritated quickly
    • constantly becoming ill
    • increasingly being dependent on family or friends
    • isolating yourself from other people
    • experiencing mood swings throughout the day
    • over reacting to normal stress levels
    • weaker memory
    • engaging in risky behaviour
  • Why you should try and become more resilient

    There are always going to be times when you can’t control a situation, and that's OK, but you can always control how you respond to it. By taking action to build up your resilience you're taking action to protect yourself from the negative effects of stress.

Next steps

Take a moment to create your personal action plan with our easy to follow advice and recommendations about the ways you can develop your resilience.