What is Resilience?

Fall seven times, stand up eight– Japanese proverb.


It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. Resilience has been described as “the capacity to cope with change and challenge and bounce back during difficult times.”

Being resilient does not mean that a person doesn’t experience difficulty or distress. Emotional pain and sadness are common in people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives. In fact, the road to resilience is likely to involve considerable emotional distress.

Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have. It involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed in anyone.

A combination of factors contributes to resilience. Many studies show that the primary factor in resilience is having caring and supportive relationships within and outside the family. Relationships that create love and trust provide role models and offer encouragement and reassurance help bolster a person’s resilience.


What Influences Resilience


Factors that influence how someone experiences a challenge or trauma include:


  • Personal capacities and coping skills
  • The degree of the trauma or stress
  • Support and resources available to the individual
  • Timing and context of events
  • Presence of other circumstances or additional stress present at the time of the event
  • The capacity to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out.
  • A positive view of yourself and confidence in your strengths and abilities.
  • Skills in communication and problem solving.
  • Supportive and stable family relationships
  • Having positive expectations or being optimistic
  • Sense of self worth
  • Participating and contributing to social and or community activities
  • Having a sense of belonging and good friendships
  • Personal attributes such as problem solving abilities and communication skills
  • Positive relationships with an adult outside of the family
  • Strategies for Promoting Resilience
  • The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses.
  • All of these are factors that people can develop in themselves.