1. Develop a strong support network
Dozens of studies support the idea that surrounding yourself with understanding and supportive friends and family members builds resilience. Resting assured that you have people you can rely on benefits both mental and physical health. If you have trouble recovering from stress or trauma, consider reinforcing your social bonds with loved ones and trusted friends.
2. Hone your problem-solving skills
Bouncing back is twice as hard if you feel totally powerless to change your situation. Cultivating problem-solving abilities has long been a trusted means of shoring up resilience in children, but it can also be beneficial to adults. All people feel inherently empowered when they know they're capable of handling tough situations. Websites like MindTools are fantastic resources for studying problem-solving on your own!
3. Try to get comfortable with change
This is a tough one, but so essential. Human beings resist and fear change, but change is natural and constant. The American Psychological Association says, "Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can alter." Also try to remind yourself that not all change is bad, and that you are flexible and agile, capable of adapting to all manner of changes.
4. Be a quitter
Don't quit everything, obviously! But be aware of your own limitations. Check out this great quote from Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why: "It's a matter of looking at yourself and assessing your own abilities and where you are mentally, and then realizing that it's better to turn back and get a chance to do it again than to go for it and not come back at all." If an activity, person, memory, or force in your life is wearing you down, leaving it behind allows you to grow stronger in the aftermath.
5. Practice gratitude
A 2006 study published in "Behavior Research and Therapy" found that Vietnam War Veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of post-traumatic stress. Other studies showed that gratitude boosted resilience in those who lived through the September 11 attacks. When you're in the throes of trauma, gratitude can feel out of reach. Practicing it daily – listing your personal points of gratitude every morning or evening – builds it as a habit, making it easier to access during trying times.