15 Simple Ways To Build Resilience (So You'll Never Lose Your Cool Ever Again)

Stay calm and bounce back, stronger than ever.

There is one thing of which we can be sure:  sh*t happens.  The sooner you accept it, the better.

You might be faced with a debilitating illness, a loss, a struggling relationship, a financial setback, or juggling multiple demands. Other times you might be tested on a smaller scale, with something such as a challenging work problem, a screaming toddler, a missed bus, or someone cutting you off. 

In these situations, we can either succumb, push through, or bounce back. 

And it matters less what the actual situation is, but more about how you respond to that event.  What counts is how resilient you are and how you show up.

Resilience may be defined as the ability to cope, to bounce back from difficulties, to continuously adapt, learn and grow, ultimately becoming stronger than ever before.

Why care?

You want to be your best self:  thoughtful, feeling, and responsive.  When you aren’t resilient, you become stuck, and you give up your control.  Your actions then come from a place of reactivity. 

You lose your cool.

Picture your overwhelmed, fuming, cursing, honking response. Or perhaps you retract inward, frozen, depressed, and down a negative spiral.  Over time, these reactions can build to the point where it takes very little to set you off, and your body is in a constant state of fight or flight.

Now, picture waves crashing down around you.  You are a lighthouse and a pillar of fortitude.

Resilient people can stay calm, adapt, recover from adversity, and meet life's challenges head-on.  Would you rather retreat or melt-down, or be confident, willing and ready to handle anything that comes your way? 

What you don’t realize is that you’re resilient right now.  You have what it takes; it just needs to be nurtured.

Here are 15 everyday ways to develop your resilience starting now:

1.       Show compassion for yourself and others.

Instead of mercilessly criticizing yourself, see yourself outside of yourself. You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes. It’s normal to experience overwhelm, to react, to simply feel.  Acknowledge your difficulty, then treat yourself with kindness.

2.       Practice mindfulness.

Set aside time every day to be still, breathe deeply, and let your thoughts come and go without judgment.

3.       Make self-care a priority.

Engage in restorative activities such as walks in nature, massages, and most of all, adequate sleep. Be physically and mentally ready for whatever comes your way.

4.       Take breaks to recharge or gain perspective.

You don’t always have a chance to press the reset button. But you can, step back – even just for a few moments, and re-examine the situation.

5.       Maintain a sense of humour.

Permit yourself to have a light moment or experience joy. Choose to watch a comedy instead of the news.  You can’t laugh and be stressed out at the same time.

6.       Be clear on your values, standards, and boundaries.

You are the most important person in your life.  To be your best you must be true to yourself. So be brave, say “no” if you need to, or “I can do this…”.

7.       Live on purpose.

Have a sense of direction as you go about your life – and each day.  See the bigger picture. When you know where you're going, you won't be deterred by setbacks along the journey. 

8.       Take programs or engage in activities that support personal growth.

Learning opens the mind, so sign up for a class at your local community center, volunteer at a shelter, or pursuit the degree of your dreams.

9.       Sharpen your problem-solving skills.

Before deciding a course of action, brainstorm options and explore possibilities. Avoid old patterns that have not served you.  Stretch your mind.  Ask, “What else could I do?”  Then, break actions down into manageable steps.

10.   Control your controllables. 

Replace negative thoughts with more realistic ones.  Sometimes, you have to say, “It is what it is.” Accept it and move on.

11.   See the silver lining. 

Often the most important lessons come from difficult situations.  Consider something positive that came out of it.

Or, if you’re feeling negative, ask yourself, “What’s another way of looking at this?”

12.   Just do it.

Experiment and fail fast.  Face your fears.  Commit to try something new and put yourself out there. 

13.   Ask for help.

There are times when helping yourself means getting help from someone else.  Put your pride aside.  Build a support system of friends, family members, and trusted advisors. 

14.   Adopt an attitude of gratitude.

Find pleasure in small things.

Every day, give thanks for what you have – your loved ones, your integrity, and the promise of a new day.

15.   Persevere, knowing you can do it.

When you have a goal – small or large, stick to it.  Tell yourself these things:

  • “I am not giving up!”
  • “I can overcome this.”
  • “I’m bigger than this.”
  • “I am resilient.”

Then, hold your head up high and act as if.

Some people seem to have more grit than others.  Or else they show it well. 

If that’s not you, don’t give up. While there is no magic bullet to keeping things together, you can develop your resilience over time and then be prepared for whatever comes your way.  It takes a willingness to practice and to take small and practical steps every day toward a more resilient, enjoyable life.