Practice Resilience To Manage Your Stress

Following on from our last article on Stress, we now look at the importance of RESILIENCE as one of the key factors in managing stress.


A general consensus would reveal resilience is the ability to:


  • BOUNCE BACK – The ability to overcome setbacks/ adversity when experiencing acute stress and trauma.
  • ENDURE ADVERSITY – Based on the idea that, “Whatever doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” (Nietzsche). Individuals who endure adversity and overcome it are able to develop their resilience (Joseph 2013).

It is believed that resilience is not purely an innate set of characteristics. Resilience is developed over a period of time through the process of rupture and repair. Resilience is an inside-out approach, meaning everything we need to increase our resilience is already within us. (Smith 2012)

If we see personal resilience as purely how we bounce back from difficult situations, it might not encompass the true breadth of resilience skills and their many benefits.
To ensure the definition of resilience includes all aspects, let’s modernise the definition to “ADVANCING DESPITE ADVERSITY”

But, what does “advancing despite adversity” mean on a more detailed level? What groups of behaviours, skills and beliefs contribute to resilience? What can we actually measure resilience against? To answer these questions, we investigated many existing models of resilience and combined them with neurological models to better explain resilience…

We are complex beings. Therefore, it makes sense that there are a great many different factors that contribute to resilience including: beliefs we hold of the world, of ourselves and others; information we have access to; biases, skills, and education; mental processes and behaviours.
To make sense of all of these, it’s useful to group related components into 6 domains.


    The most important of the 6 domains. Having vision is about your sense of purpose, goals & how you commit to living. All other domains are guided your vision. Having clarity around your vision allows you to be decisive when facing tough situations. Clarity keeps you focused so that when things get tough, you know what’s important. This in turn aids resilience
    This is about regulating your emotions. Keeping composed in both minor and stressful situations means overcoming your instinctive emotional response which increases your ability to think critically. Positive or negative interpretation of an event/ situation is important to be aware of as this can affect your resilience levels.
    The ability to reason with creative and innovative problem solving is incredibly useful when facing stressful situations. This domain requires composure as well as vision. For this, it’s important to anticipate and plan proactively how things may go wrong so you can take action ahead of time to minimize or prevent impact. Be resourceful with the right people, tools and techniques available while seeing an opportunity in potential change.
    The foundational domain. Good health means looking after your body through a healthy diet, regular exercise and quality sleep. A healthy body provides a strong foundation for your own resilience. Good health is not the ultimate goal but is an enabler in achieving your vision and remaining resilient.
    Persistence is the key. We need to be willing to work hard & smart and stay with a challenge if we want to achieve our vision. It’s important to learn from mistakes and be aware of how we are reacting to mistakes. Find lessons in them and do no define yourself by them. Don’t be naïve but have realistic optimism.
    The brain has a fundamental need for connection with others to be able to thrive. In a complex world, few people can achieve anything alone so it’s crucial to build support networks to call upon and be able to provide support to others. Research shows it’s not the actual available support that matters, but the perception of available support. A key component of collaboration is understanding the context of your interaction, so you know what behaviour is best suited.


These 6 domains have functions on their own, but they also influence each other. Just as strengths in some domains can compensate for weaker domains, so too can weakness in one drag down others. It is worthwhile for us to pursue personal development so that we are strong in all areas and effectively well-rounded.

What’s great about these domains is we absolutely have the capacity to build and improve every domain, and therefore develop our own resilience.

Resilience is a life-long, ongoing journey for us. Our effort here improves our quality of life and directly contributes to the achievement of personal and organisational goals.

As we move along this journey, there are four phases of resilience that we can transition to, as can be seen in the below model.

In developing any skill in life, it’s important to take note of the barriers that can stand in your way of achieving
success in that area.

When it comes to building your resilience, negative mindsets will keep you stuck in patterns from the past and push you back into stress and anxiety.

Some barriers to resilience may include:

  1. FILTERING: Pulling the negatives out of a situation and focusing on them, while not acknowledging any positives.
  2. EXTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL: Personalising every negative thing and assuming that bad things happen because of bad luck, or an outcome of not doing something.
  3. CATASTROPHISING: This involves anticipating or perpetuating the worst. It is jumping to the worst possible conclusion after a minor setback, like believing a mistake at work will lead to being fired. When a situation is upsetting, but not necessarily catastrophic, it might still feel like the midst of a crisis.
  4. POLARISING: This type of negative thinker sees things as black or white. Either a situation is perfect or it is a catastrophe. This type of negative thinking can affect every area of a person’s life. Its effects can be both psychological or physical.


In summary, here are some tips to empower you to “advance despite adversity”:

  1.  Control what is possible and recognise the limits of your control
  2. Embrace meaning and purpose
  3. Ensure you have social support and social connection
  4. Forgive yourself, forgive others and let go
  5. Unlock your passion
  6. Employ bounded optimism
  7. Practice gratitude
  8. Adopt skilled happiness

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