Resilience – a vital life skill

Posted by Karen in Wellbeing

People who are more resilient than others think and do things differently

Take a moment to consider the statement above and then ask yourself, ‘how do I tend to respond to difficult or challenging times?’

Do you tend to crumble and let your thoughts take you on a downward spiral or are you good at taking knock backs on the chin, brushing yourself off and moving on?

copyright Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes

Let’s face it, we all get our fair share of crises, challenges and difficult situations, some big, others small, but some of us are so much better at recovering from these difficult times and situations. Why is that?

It comes down to resilience – our ability to bounce back from or overcome adversity, illness, and challenges.

Resilience was once seen as a rare human feat – but now, experts realise that within a well-functioning emotion system, resilience can be standard and that people’s levels of resilience are not set in stone, but can be improved through experience and training.*

Indeed, when people ask me what life coaching is, I often say ‘life coaching is about helping people understand and develop resilience tools for their very own ‘life tool kit’. And with greater resilience levels, you will find it easier to stay grounded and to bounce back more readily from difficult situations or set-backs.

Greater resilience cultivates a positive mindstate

Often we can feel the victim when things go wrong. People who are more resilience don’t get hung up on failure. They see mistakes as learning opportunities. When something happens in their life, they review the situation by stepping back and asking themselves ‘what can I learn from this?’ They hold on to hope.

When things get difficult, resilient people are able to pause, take a few deeper breaths and feel grounded again. This creates a gap where they can make a conscious choice as to how to respond to what’s happening, rather than a knee jerk reaction.

People who are more resilient than others also have a more balanced view on any given situation. They recognise and experience life’s challenges at the same time being able to appreciate and enjoy the beautiful, exciting and interesting things.

Being able to cultivate positive mental states by practicing seeing and letting in pleasant things, by practicing kindness to self and others, helps us when things get tough. They are more likely to ask themselves in a crisis situation: what’s the best thing that can happen here rather than expecting the worse which cuts out possibilities and the potentially good stuff.

Resilient people embrace life and all its ups and downs, and when something doesn’t work, well, it’s time to try something else until they find something that does!

I very much enjoy working with clients to help them develop resilience skills. I’m careful to tell them that having resilience skills doesn’t mean that life will be without its fair share of ups and downs, but it does mean that they can stay in the driver’s seat, in control of what’s happening – however tough it is – that they don’t have to move to the passenger’s seat anymore, feel a victim or bury their head in the sand and let life just pass them by.

With resilience comes empowerment.

Fall down seven times, stand up eight. Japanese Proverb

5 tips for resilience:

1. keep perspective and learn to be stoical about life

2. remain hopeful

3. remember to laugh

4. reach out to friends

5. remember ‘this will pass’

If you’re interested in exploring how life coaching can help you develop your resilience skills, book a free taster life coaching session. Email me

Online course in resilience

You can also check out this online course in resilience by my friend and colleague, Chris Johnstone – a psychologist, resilience expert and founder of the College of Wellbeing.

Chris has developed and recently launched this excellent online course: Resilience in One Hour

There’s a 2-minute introductory film and taster.  If you like what you see,  enjoy a launch discount of 40% and pay just £15 for the full course. Do get in touch and let me know how you get on.



*Love 2.0 – Creating Happiness and Health in moments of connection by Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD



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