How You Can Become More Resilient

By R. Ryan S Patel DO, FAPA, OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Many students will experience more stress as the semester comes to an end.

Many will also experience other stressful events such as life tragedies, trauma, difficulties with finances, work, relationships, health, emotions, etc.

Practicing and increasing resilience in yourself can be helpful with these situations.

What is resilience?

Resilience has many definitions, here are some useful ways of thinking about resilience:

  • An ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change (1)
  • Emotional resilience is one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations (2).

What are some ways to increase resilience?

The key is to adjust.

The American Psychological Association’s report on Resilience (3) offers 10 methods to increase resilience:

Adjust your thinking

1. Practice developing confidence in your ability to solve problems.  It can be helpful to occasionally remind your self about times in the past where things were difficult and you problem solved through it.

2. Keep perspective.  Take a step back and remind yourself of the big picture, and where your current situation fits. Are you blowing things out of proportion? Or are you being realistic?

3. Keep a positive outlook by visualizing what you want instead of worrying about what you don’t want.

4. Look for solutions.  Stressful things will happen but shifting your focus from worrying about the problem to looking for solutions can be powerful. Just the change in thinking can help you feel better; and the solutions are a bonus!

5. Accept that there will often be change. It can be very helpful to accept the things that you cannot change and shift your energy to the things that you can change.

Act differently:

6. Move toward your goals:

  • Make sure that your goals are realistic.
  • Take a small step. Doing things regularly, even something small, that move you towards goals will help you feel better.

7. Take decisive actions towards problems instead of avoiding or procrastinating. This will also help reduce feelings of frustration.

8. Look for opportunities for self-discovery.

  • What lesson can you gain from the loss or setback?
  • The report goes on to say that many people who have experienced tragedies and hardship have reported better relationships, greater sense of strength even while feeling vulnerable, increased sense of self-worth, a more developed spirituality and heightened appreciation for life.

9. Connect with others:

  • Accept help and support. Counseling at OSU is a great resource.
  • Helping others can also benefit the helper. Some examples include: student organizations, civic groups, non-profit organizations, faith-based organizations, volunteer groups, or other local groups.

10. Connect with yourself:

  • Do activities that you enjoy and find relaxing.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, drugs.

The report also suggests other ways that might strengthen resilience:

  • Journaling your thoughts and feelings
  • Meditation/Yoga
  • Spiritual and/or religious practices

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.