Resilience is “the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences” (American Psychological Association).

This definition given by the APA addresses the personal capacity to cope with adverse events and return to normal life. We are all aware that the creative industries require deep resilience, as there can be significant pressure on an individual to do something else or give from both internal (e.g. your self-belief) and external (e.g. societal expectations) factors.

Inner strengths

Resilience is needed to prevent the damaging effects of stress; resilient people are able to cope better with adverse events than people with little resilience.

There are 8 areas of resilience that we would like to address.

1. Self-Efficacy: This involves a high level of self-confidence and aself-belief that one can meet any challenge. Self-efficacy includes the understanding that, while the world is challenging, one has the ability to succeed despite these challenges.

2. Personal Vision: Resilient people know what they believe in and have a clear idea of what they want to accomplish or create in their life. However blurred it may be, people use personal vision as a guide through life challenges; it provides them with hope for the future.

3. Flexible and Adaptable: Being adaptable and flexible enables people to respond flexibly to unknown challenges by seeking out ways of overcoming events, and being able to adapt to the new reality. This reduces the impact of rigidity in the face of a constantly changing environment.

4. Organised: Creating a structured approach to tasks that need completing add to individual ability to maintain personal control in the face of a seemingly chaotic existence, or uncontrollable external events.

5. Problem Solving: The ability to resolve problems enables people to find causes and solutions to adverse events that impinge on daily life. Those who train themselves to enjoy problem solving will enjoy the challenge that adverse events present.

6. Interpersonal Interaction: A key dimension of resilience is an individual’s ability to understand and empathise with others. Resilient people demonstrate the competencies of emotional intelligence, a high level of self and social awareness and the ability to use this awareness to effectively manage themselves and their relationships with others.

7. Social Connections: This dimension involves the quality of personal and professional relationships. Resilient people have a strong relationship with selected friends with whom they share ideas, problems, solutions, frustrations, hopes, and so forth.

8. Active: Resilient people actively engage in change. Faced with adverse events, resilient people will be assertive in stating their contribution to the changing situation and will maintain personal control through their assertiveness and maintenance of self-efficacy.

Developing resilience is a personal journey. People do not all react the same to traumatic and stressful life events. An approach to building resilience that works for one person might not work for another. People use varying strategies.

Some variation may reflect cultural differences. A person’s culture might have an impact on how he or she communicates feelings and deals with adversity — for example, whether and how a person connects with significant others, including extended family members and community resources. With growing cultural diversity, the public has greater access to a number of different approaches to building resilience.

Many people who have a less-than-ideal start in life manage to turn their lives around, determined not to repeat others’ mistakes. These are the ones who developed resilience. And the good news is that resilience is not a quality only some people are able to develop. Instead, it’s a way of behaving and thinking that anyone can learn. Essentially, it involves an openness to finding your way through a situation and the determination not to see yourself as a victim.

How to bounce back and build your resilience? Here are a few tips & tricks:

View life’s daily problems as opportunities to build resilience. Develop skills in handling rudeness, receiving poor service, being delayed, losing belongings and getting frustrated with co-workers.

 Try to manage your emotions by reacting to setbacks with grace, humour, strength and optimism.

 Take a while to think through the problem to find the best solution, then tell yourself to take the first step.

 Turn to others for support. Simply describing the situation to someone else can help by putting your feelings into words and making it a logical sequence. You may even come up with new solutions as you are describing it.

 Try to keep the problem in perspective. Remind yourself about all the aspects of life that are going well. Recall a funny joke or comment, or turn to a friend, book or film that always makes you laugh.

 Skip forward and imagine telling someone about how you overcame this obstacle. See yourself as that strong, capable person who pulled through with grace and courage.

 When things have settled down, think about what you learned and what you can take from it. This may benefit you in a future tricky situation and make you feel something good has come of your adversity. This ability to look back on tough times and see how you survived, rather than focusing on how you suffered, is a crucial factor in developing resilience.

Are you curious to find out how resilient you are? The following quiz might be the perfect opportunity:

[Add Annex  Resilience Quiz]

Interesting videos on the topic:

The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong | Amy Morin

The Power of Resilience | Sam Goldstein

Cultivating resilience | Greg Eells

Resilience: Crack your shell | Heather Warman

TedX: Why some of us don't have one true calling