February 21, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Psychologists Say Resilience Is A Skill You Can Teach And It Will Help Your Life Immensely

by Trisha Leigh

Source: Shutterstock

If you ask parents what skills they hope their children have as they learn and grow, I think resilience might be pretty high up on the list.

That said, I’m sure plenty of people wonder if it can be learned/taught, or if it’s just something we’re born being capable of (or not).

According to at least a few psychologists studying the topic, resilience is absolutely something you can cultivate over time.

Resilience is the ability to manage stress in effective ways – and that means it’s not something static or something you’re born with, but is instead a set of skills that can be learned (and taught) if it’s a priority.

Like with getting into physically good shape, you have to repeat certain exercises with your mind in order to build strength in the face of adversity.

Source: Shutterstock

Some of the building blocks essential to resilience are things that are outside our control – income, education, and supportive family, to name a few – but others are definitely more accessible to everyone.

You can exercise, cultivate hobbies and activities, and get enough sleep, and all of those things are aspects you can dive into right away.

Others, like nourishing relationships, building skills for tolerating distress and regulating emotions, practicing meditation and less self-criticism, and workin on self-compassion, might take a bit longer to evolve.

And that old idea that difficult lives build resilient humans? It’s not really giving the whole picture.

For example, children with more stressful childhoods often end up with impaired mental and physical health, and with worse outcomes across the board.

Resilience can really flower when you create healthy environments and make sure that you’re in-tune with your own mind and body. Interestingly, a lot of people associate “resilience” with bouncing back quickly after a negative event like a firing or divorce.

Source: Shutterstock

In reality, long-term good mental health relies more on taking the time to really assess your own emotions and to determine how best to learn from those experiences and move forward.

Suppressing, numbing, or hiding feelings are all indicators of worse mental health, not better. Some people who might appear resilient to you might just be coping in unhealthy ways – masking their real feelings or struggles instead of truly being able to grapple with them and move on when they’re ready.

There are places and situations in which resilience can end up being a negative or loaded term. People who have survived trauma, who have been the subject of racism or homophobia, and other serious life challenge might see “resilience” as mere acceptance, as opposed to demanding accountability or real change.

In short, perceived “resilience” by a group of people could perpetuate the insulting supposition that they’re “able to handle it.”

Instead, being on the receiving end of microaggressions can take a physical and mental toll, meaning that your “resilience” to such a life or environment comes at a cost that may be too high to bear.

Source: Shutterstock

That said, some of the building blocks inside a resilient person are good to cultivate. Your physical and mental health will always improve with exercise, good nutrition, loving yourself, and surrounding yourself with people with whom you can be yourself.

So go ahead and get started – once your mind and body and community are stronger, you’re bound to start feeling like you can tackle the more daunting issues in the world around you.

If you enjoyed that story, check out what happened when a guy gave ChatGPT $100 to make as money as possible, and it turned out exactly how you would expect.