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  • Writer's pictureJan Johnson

How to Build Your Resilience

female boxer protecting herself

Resilience means the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties. It is an important character trait that we all need to employ from time to time. Recent personal events have called into question my own scope of resilience, which led to levels of anxiety and emotional turmoil I found difficult to control. This experience has prompted me to look closer at ‘resilience’ – Why is it so important, how do you build it, and how do you know if you are resilient enough?


Resilience is our mental armour protecting us against challenging experiences. It provides the emotional flexibility to withstand and adjust to life’s downturns and bounce back stronger as the problem recedes. However, a resilient person may not simply bounce back from a traumatic event. They may not effortlessly recover, but will often be changed by their experience and embark upon a new pathway with changed priorities of life. A person lacking resilience will become overwhelmed by adverse situations or hardships and may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms.


You have only to watch the news to see that life isn’t easy! Some will need to cope with war and famine, while closer to home, there may be illness, financial instability or bereavement. Resilience appears in three forms:

  • Emotional – dealing with a crisis through realistic optimism.

  • Physical – the ability of the body to adapt to changes and challenges of disability.

  • Community – The response of groups of people to react and recover from natural disasters and violent acts etc.


In my work as a reflexologist, I have researched the effects of stress upon our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Over time a consistently stressed state has a damaging impact on the body. Having resilience can protect an individual from the ramifications of stress, boosting their ability to regain control. Resilience isn’t a single skill but a combination of factors. If you think you are a little low on your reserves of resilience, here are a few recommendations that may help:

  • Be hopeful – Being open to change makes it easier to adapt when challenged.

  • Learn from your experiences – Think about what has helped you cope with tough times in the past.

  • Build your support network – Build strong relationships with family friends and community groups to help guide and support you during bad times.

  • Don’t ignore problems – Be proactive, set goals and plan your way through setbacks.

  • Practice self-care – Manage your stress with relaxing activities such as reflexology, meditation or yoga. Get plenty of sleep by following calming pre-bedtime rituals. Eat a healthy diet and include some daily physical activity.

  • Do things that make you happy – A laugh and smile are priceless when facing challenging times.

  • Get help – When times are tough and you feel you aren’t making progress, you may wish to seek professional help to improve your resilience.


I will certainly be including more of these points into my life in the future and hopefully, the next time life throws me a curve ball, I will be much better equipped to catch it!

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