Resilience is one of the most useful skills there is. Having bad things happen to me and being able to bounce back without getting caught up in negative thoughts? Where do I sign up for that?
But even though we talk about “resilience” like it’s one thing, it might be more accurate to say that resilience is a collection of different coping skills. The more of these coping skills we accumulate, the more resilient we become.
It’s hard to just become more resilient but adding new coping skills to your resilience toolbox one at a time is a less daunting task.
For example, one skill to have in your resilience toolbox might be going out of your way to treat other people with kindness and generosity when you’re feeling down. Doing so builds resilience because even on days when negative things are happening in your life, you can still bring positivity to other people’s lives, which will make you feel good and in turn bring some positivity back to your life.
Similarly, you could work on building resilience by finding activities that create meaning in your life. You might discover that the more you have stable things in your life that give you a sense of ongoing purpose, the less you’ll be able to get blown off course by other bad things that happen to you.
Which coping skills turn out to be the most powerful tools in your resilience toolbox will be unique to you, so a little trial and error is called for. If you try as many different resilience-building coping tools as possible, you can keep the ones that work for your toolbox and throw out the rest.
So where do I find these resilience-building tools anyway? Not to worry. Ask the Therapists Marie Hartwell-Walker and Daniel J. Tomasulo have your back.
In this video, they describe several coping skills for developing resilience. Watch the video below, and visit Psych Central’s YouTube channel for more Ask the Therapist videos.