Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend. Bruce Lee.

Resilience is your ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilient people don’t wallow or dwell on failures – they acknowledge the situation, learn from their mistakes and move on. Resilience doesn’t mean being tough – you can be resilient and still show emotion. The characteristics of resilience refer to your capacity to deal with discomfort and adversity and are traits that enrich your life. Look at these 12 traits of resilience:

1 Stay flexible. Challenges happen on a daily basis and when life swipes you round the face like a proverbial wet kipper and certain goals aren’t possible, you need accept the circumstances that cannot be changed while focusing on circumstances that you can influence.

2 Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem unachievable, identify what you can do today that will help you move in the direction you want to go.

3 Use challenge as opportunity. The more you can leverage challenges as opportunities to grow and evolve, the more resilient you are likely to be. Look at the problem to find solutions and learning curves. This behavior will build confidence and the mindset of moving toward the challenge instead of away from it. This learner mindset is fuelled by ‘question thinking’ a method of problem solving developed by psychotherapist Marilee Adams. ‘Question thinking’ encourages people to approach challenges and situations with ‘learner questions’ which are neutral, nonjudgmental questions e.g. what is useful here?  or what are my available choices? as opposed to ‘judger questions’ such as what’s wrong? or who’s to blame? Learner questions are empowering, and promote more expansive thinking and acceptance. You can’t change the fact that stressful events happen, but you can change how you interpret and respond to these events.

4 Keep things in perspective. Even when facing painful events consider the stressful situation in a broader context and keep a long-term perspective.

5 Make connections for support. Good relationships with family members, friends or others are important. Accepting help and support from those who care about you and will listen to you strengthens resilience.

6 Take decisive actions. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from adverse situations. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it. Think about what you can do to improve your situation, and then do it. Resilient people work on solving a problem rather than letting themselves get paralyzed by negativity.

7 Look for opportunities for self-discovery. We often learn something about ourselves through adversity and you are likely to discover that you have grown in some respect as a result of your struggle.

8 Nurture an optimistic view of yourself. Developing confidence in your ability to solve problems and trusting your instincts helps build resilience. Resilient people are characterized by an ability to experience both negative and positive emotions even in difficult or painful situations. They  mourn losses and endure frustrations, but they also find redeeming potential or value in most challenges. The resilient person isn’t papering over the negative emotions, but honouring them and allowing them sit with other feelings. You can challenge your self-talk. Thoughts trigger emotions, so in order to change emotional patterns; we need to reframe faulty thinking into positive thinking. Our brains are wired to pay more attention to negative events than positive ones. However in reality, we experience positive events more often. One key to building resiliency lies in noticing and appreciating those positive experiences with more frequency. Your positivity ratio is how you characterize the balance of positive and negative experiences in your daily life. Research suggests that, at minimum, we need a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative experiences to build resilience, thrive and be optimally productive. An optimistic outlook enables you to expect that good things will happen in your life. Visualize what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future.

9 Take care of yourself.  Taking care of yourself helps to keep your mind and body primed to deal with situations that require resilience. Include physical activity in your daily routine. For example, relate to people who nourish you, getting plenty of sleep, spend time outdoors, eating a healthy diet and practicing relaxation techniques. Our physical resilience also depends heavily on our baseline mental and emotional well-being and one of the best ways to nurture that, says Carol Orsborn, PhD, author of The Art of Resilience: 100 Paths to Wisdom and Strength in an Uncertain World is to take regular mental breaks. Research shows that our brains are  surprisingly active in moments when we appear to be doing little. PET and MRI images of the brain ‘at rest’ show that, in fact, there is significant activity in the brain regions associated with decision-making, memories and the processing of emotionally significant events. When active, this ‘default network’ uses up to 30% more caloric energy than other parts of the brain. Researchers surmise that energy is being used to process all the experiences and information we’ve taken in, and to develop new synaptic connections. In turn, those synaptic networks improve our ability to solve and respond to problems. Mental breaks and relaxation also help keep stress chemicals at bay, reducing the likelihood of feeling, or becoming, overwhelmed and reactive.

10 Helping other. Being of service to others is a powerful way of stoking resilience. In studies, researchers found that serotonin, the neurotransmitter associated with feelings of happiness and well-being, is used more efficiently by people who have just engaged in an act of kindness.

11 Humour. Laughing in the face of adversity can be healing for body and mind. ‘Playful humor enhances survival for many reasons,’ writes resiliency authority Al Siebert in The Survivor Personality. ‘Laughing reduces tension to more moderate levels.’ And psychologically, choosing levity can be incredibly empowering. ‘Playing with a situation makes a person more powerful than sheer determination [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][does],’ Siebert explains. ‘The person who toys with the situation creates an inner feeling of ‘This is my plaything; I am bigger than it – I won’t let it scare me.’

12 You’re a survivor not a victim. Self-perception makes us who we are. A victim feels helpless and hopeless and remains passive and re-active. A survivor is assertive, pro-active, trusts their instincts and knows they have the ability to find out what they don’t know in order to be able to help themselves (or another).



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