• Resilience is how well you’re able to adapt: an individual with a lot of resilience can adapt well in the face of struggle, while someone with little or no resilience cannot.
  • A resilient mindset is important as it helps you bounce back from difficult losses and maintain positivity even when things don’t go your way.
  • You can become more resilient by building a reliable support system and looking at life through rose-colored glasses—that is, looking for the good.
  • Welcoming change and prioritizing goal-setting can also help you achieve greater resilience: as we all need to be challenged in order to build upon our strength.
  • Finally, you should practice self-care: fulfilling your needs and engaging in truly enjoyable activities will help you achieve a resilient mindset.

Adolescence is, in one word, challenging. These are the prime developmental years from childhood into adulthood—we’re still evolving physically, mentally, and emotionally. And it shows when we’re faced with the many challenges of teenhood. For me, one of the toughest challenges was applying to colleges… and accepting when I didn’t get into one of my top schools.

When I told my parents the bad news, they first comforted me and then offered some advice: “This isn’t the end of the world, it’s just a minor setback. Be resilient,” they said.  And so (after googling what resilience was), I adjusted my negative attitude and accepted the loss. I looked forward to hearing back from the other schools I applied to and was excited to find out I got into my other top pick. My resilient mindset helped me bounce back and saved me from weeks of rumination. Moving forward, I decided I would continue to practice resilience—and you should, too.

What Is Resilience?

Resilience is a scale of adaptability: someone with a lot of resilience is able to adapt well in the face of adversity, while someone without a lot of resilience struggles. Furthermore, someone who rates high in resilience can bounce back more easily and with less stress when confronted with relationship trouble, an issue at work, or another challenge. Licensed Psychologist Ashley Smith explains further:

“A resilient mindset is all about how you respond to setbacks, failures, mistakes, and hardships. Someone with a resilient mindset tends to view these types of events as temporary, isolated, and external. For example, if a college student fails a test, she could respond to that by thinking: ‘I failed this test because I’m stupid (internal). I’m going to fail out of school (generalized). I blow everything (permanent).’ That’s not a very helpful, or resilient, mindset because that perspective is likely to tank her future efforts.

In contrast, the student with a resilient mindset might think: ‘I usually do really well on tests, but that one was really hard. I know how to study now for this class, so I’m sure I’ll do better on the next one.’ That mindset, which views the one failing grade as just that—ONE failing grade—leads to an increased sense of self-efficacy and is likely to result in increased study efforts and an improved outcome.”

Smith’s example details the struggles of a college student but is meant to reflect the effects of resilience in any given individual. In summary, a resilient mindset can help you overcome obstacles and excel in your life.

How Can I Adopt a Resilient Mindset? 5 Tips

Being resilient doesn’t mean that you don’t face adversity—it means that you’re able to handle these adversities well and come out on the other side okay. If you think you could improve your resilience, consult these tips:

1. Build meaningful relationships.

It’s important to build healthy, meaningful relationships that provide support. This support might come from family, friends, or even local volunteer groups and will offer many benefits that help you improve resilience.

2. Wear rose-colored glasses.

Have you heard this saying before? Basically, you should always aim for a positive attitude. Look at the glass as half-full and when problems do arise, find the silver lining. Think forward to better times and identify how you can get there.

3. Welcome change.

Change is the only constant—it’s time you accept it as such. Stop despising or avoiding change, and welcome it instead. Doing so will help you to challenge yourself, build your resilience, and achieve greatness.

4. Set and work toward goals.

Goal-setting is vital to a happy, successful life. You should constantly be setting and working toward goals that make you feel good, even if they’re small goals like reading a few pages of your book each day.

5. Practice self-care.

And don’t forget to take care of yourself. In fact, make self-care a priority. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, fulfill your basic needs, and spend some time engaging in an activity that makes your heart happy. Self-care will further enable you to handle situations with resilience.