What does it mean to be resilient?

Resilience includes the ability to recover and rebound from challenges and setbacks. Resilience is important to help people deal with various problems and recover from trauma. If you want to be more resilient, understand the characteristics of resilient people and when and how to seek help to build resilience.

What does “flexibility” mean?

Being resilient means facing difficulties head-on, rather than falling into despair or using unhealthy coping strategies. Resilience is usually defined as a reserve of mental strength that helps people cope with stress and difficulties.

Resilient people can use this power to respond to and recover from challenges. This is true even if they face major trauma, such as unemployment, financial problems, serious illness, interpersonal challenges or the death of a loved one.

Resilience also means understanding that life is full of challenges. Although we cannot avoid many of these problems, we can remain open, flexible and willing to adapt to changes.

The characteristics of adaptable people

Flexible people understand the situation, their own emotional reactions, and the behavior of those around them. By staying conscious, they can maintain control of the situation and come up with new ways to solve the problem. In many cases, people who have experienced these difficulties will become stronger.

Although the coping skills used by people in the face of crises vary widely, researchers have identified some key characteristics of resilience. Many of these skills can be developed and strengthened to improve your ability to deal with life frustrations.

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Sense of control

Do you think you can control your life? Or do you blame external sources for failures and problems?

Generally speaking, resilient people tend to have what psychologists call internal control points. They believe that the actions they take will affect the outcome of the incident.

Of course, some factors are completely beyond our personal control, such as natural disasters. Although we may attribute some responsibilities to external reasons, it is important to feel that we are capable of making choices that affect our situation, coping capabilities, and future.

Ability to solve problems

The ability to solve problems is critical to resilience. When a crisis arises, adaptable people can find solutions that lead to safe outcomes. In dangerous situations, people with less resilience sometimes have a narrow vision. They did not pay attention to important details or take advantage of opportunities.

Flexible people can look at problems calmly and rationally and imagine a successful solution.

Strong social connections

Whenever you deal with a problem, it is important that someone can provide support. Talking about the challenges you face is a great way to get an opinion, find new solutions, or simply express your emotions. Resilient people have a network of friends, family, colleagues, and online support groups to maintain their social connections.

Survivor mentality

When dealing with any potential crisis, you must treat yourself as a survivor. Flexible people avoid thinking like victims of the environment, and instead look for solutions to problems. Although this situation may be inevitable, they still focus on positive results.

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Emotion regulation

Flexible people can effectively regulate their emotions. Recognizing that they have emotional reactions and the ability to understand the causes of the reactions can help them better manage their emotions and deal with the situation at hand.


People who are resilient are also sympathetic to themselves. They tend to notice when they need to rest and be able to accept their emotions, which is important for resilience. Self-compassion can help improve overall health and adaptability, and ensure that you are prepared for the challenges in life.

How to ask for help

Although resourcefulness is an important part of resilience, it is also important to know when to seek help. During a crisis, everyone can benefit from the help of psychologists and consultants who are specially trained to deal with crisis situations. Other potential sources of assistance include:

  • Books: Reading information about people who have experienced and overcome similar problems can motivate and come up with ideas for coping methods.
  • Online message boards: Online communities can provide continuous support and a place to discuss issues with people in similar situations.
  • Psychotherapy: If you encounter difficulties in dealing with a crisis situation, consulting a qualified mental health professional can help you solve the problem, determine your strengths, and develop new coping skills.
  • Support group: Participating in a support group meeting is a great way to talk about the challenges you face and find a network of people who can provide compassion and support.

Get advice from the VigorTip Mind podcast

This episode of The VigorTip Mind podcast hosted by LCSW’s editor-in-chief and therapist Amy Morin shares how to build inner strength and resilience.

Frequently asked questions

What are the seven resilience skills?

They are ability, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping and control. Pediatrician Ken Ginsberg, MD, created the 7 Cs elasticity model to help children and adolescents build elasticity. However, these skills can be developed at any age.

What does it mean to have no elasticity?

Inflexibility or lack of flexibility usually includes being overwhelmed by difficult or stressful situations, indulging in problems, or using unhealthy coping mechanisms to cope with challenges in life.

What does it mean to be able to withstand stress?

People with strong stress resistance have better strategies for coping with stress. They can recover more quickly from the primary and secondary stressors that occur every day.

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Resilience is important for mental health and well-being. Fortunately, everyone can learn to stay resilient. Although some people may be more resilient by nature, this is a skill you can strengthen.

Practice some common characteristics of flexible people first, and focus on your existing strengths. Don’t get discouraged; it may take time to become more resilient, but the investment will have a huge return on your health and well-being.