How Resilience Can Help You Cope with Change

Currently, the United States is in what psychologists refer to as a mental health crisis, which means the level of resilience individuals have is being put to the test.  Resilience is something that everyone has. However, the way each individual chooses to focus and practice their resilience differs. (Source: Linda Crane)

Well-developed resiliency can help people handle changes that occur in their life.  Resilience is not a Selfmagical answer to problems. However, it does help you to use coping strategies to get through challenging times. 

This article will learn about resilience and how it impacts how individuals handle stressful situations in their life both professionally and personally. 

How does Change Affect Us?

Change is a part of life, but it is one of the most difficult things for most people to accept.  Sometimes, change can be planned for, while other times, the change can catch you off guard.  When dealing with change, there are often feelings of fear because of the unknown, even with planned change. 

The majority of people placed in situations of change will often meet the change with a level of resistance.  This resistance is often felt because people have an innate sense of fear when there is a risk of losing something or the unknown that lies ahead. 

(Source: Liquid Planner)

How do you build resilience?

Resilience is something that all individuals have. However, the development of resilience differs greatly among people.  It is important to know that resilience can be built and strengthened with practice and time. 

Self Care

One of the most important things you can do is practice regular self-care.  You will often hear this term when things around you become stressful.  Self-care is very difficult for people because there is always something else to do or something that needs our immediate attention.  Some things you can do to practice self-care are:

  • Don’t overbook your schedule
  • Find time to do things you enjoy
  • Laugh every day
  • Focus on listening 
  • Take time to sit in silence for a few moments each day
  • Read a good book
  • Practice yoga 
  • Take time to work on a hobby you enjoy

As you can see, self-care can take many different forms.  The ultimate goal of self-care is to focus your full attention on something just for you and nobody else. Not only will this help build resilience it also allows an outlet when things become chaotic. 

(Source: Everyday Health)

Giving Back

There is a lot of satisfaction that comes when you can help others less fortunate than yourself.  These acts of giving don’t need to be huge to be satisfying.  Research has shown that giving back can help lower depression, boost your mood and give a sense of well-being. (Source: Parent and Teen)


Ensuring that your body is fueled with proper nutrition will help you build a sense of resiliency. When we are stressed, our body’s natural reaction is to crave immediately satisfying food.  While this may provide temporary comfort, it opens up our body for physical attack from germs.  When we are stressed, our immune system doesn’t work either, which means overall health is in jeopardy.  

If cooking highly complex meals each night isn’t a possibility, there are other things you can do to help encourage healthy eating. The most important thing is not to spend your entire eating plan. Allow yourself some comfort food, but be mindful of when and how often you choose to eat it.  You also need to make sure that you are focused on healthy foods, with many fruits and vegetables.  

(Source: Right as Rain)

Share Your Feelings

When individuals are stressed out, there are typically two responses: bottling up emotions or exploding from emotional overload.

Bottling up emotions: for many individuals, it is common to bottle all of their emotions up instead of sharing them.  Often, people may feel like they are a burden for sharing or even view it as complaining. Because of this, people will often suffer the result of bottle-up emotions.

  • Isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Physical ailments

can be to your well-being as well. 

Emotional explosions are very common when people bottle up all of their emotions.  There will come a time when the individual can no longer hold the emotions in.  When this happens, the smallest thing may set them off into a rage. Again, this is detrimental not only to the individual but to those around them as well. 

(Source: Health Shots)

Why is Resilience Important?

Resilience is important because it helps you maintain a healthy outlook and a sense of overall well-being.  When an individual lacks resilience, it seems that the cards are always stacked against them, and small changes quickly escalate to huge emotional roller coasters. Many professions rely on individuals with strong resilience to keep the profession going.  

If you have spent any amount of time in the workforce, you know how quickly things change.  Some careers that require a high degree of resilience are:

  • Medical profession
  • Education
  • Real estate
  • Marketing
  • Stock or financial analysts
  • Engineering
  • Science

There is a certain degree of resilience required in all professions, but those listed above likely require an individual with strong resilience to handle the many changes thrown their way.  This is in no way saying other careers don’t require resilience.  

What does Resilience Look Like?

You may be wondering what exactly resilience looks like in action.  You may picture an individual that is constantly stoic in the face of change or adversity.  While this may characterize a resilient individual, you are more likely to see these characteristics in a truly resilient person. 

Self Awareness:  A truly resilient individual is going to have a very strong sense of self-awareness.  They will know how their emotions are driving them by the minute.  They can take stock of a situation and determine how they need to handle it emotionally and physically.

A self-aware individual will know when to step away to evaluate a situation properly and when it is appropriate to jump into something.  Having self-awareness does not mean this person is overly cautious; it just means they evaluate the changes occurring and react in a more positive way that will impact both their physical and emotional well-being. 

Motivation: When you are faced with changes and adversity that may be out of your control, it is important to have intrinsic motivation.  Internal motivation will help push through the weeds of change and help you come to the other side unscathed. 

Calmness: If you have ever been in a situation where things seem to be falling apart all around you, you likely remember or know how difficult it is to remain calm, cool, and collected.  An individual with a strong sense of resilience will stay calm and focused on the goal amid change.  It is important to note that although an individual remains calm in a situation, it doesn’t mean they are weak. 

Flexibility:  Resilience can be characterized by an individual’s ability to remain flexible in any circumstance.  Instead of pointing out flaws or what could go wrong in a situation, they are willing to adjust and try something new.  

(Source: Medium)

4 Types of Resilience

It may appear that resilience is referring to one trait or characteristic that an individual possesses.  It is important to know that there are four distinct types of resilience you may encounter.  Some people have more resilience in one area than others. 


Just as the name implies, this type of resilience focuses on your physical state and well-being. When you are put in a position to accept or undertake change, it can be very stressful and will likely take a toll on your body.  Once the change has taken place, and the adrenaline has subsided, it is important to allow your body to rest and regain your strength.

When an individual is physically resilient, they know when it is time to step away from a project and allow their body to recuperate. If a person cannot complete this important part of resilience, they are likely going to be more susceptible to sickness and injuries.  Your body can only fire on all cylinders for so long before it needs a break. 

(Source: Martha for Lines)


Mental resilience is an extremely important part of the puzzle.  When you are dealing with constant stresses and changes, you need to take in and process everything.  When you are mentally resilient, you can see things at face value and maintain a positive attitude.  Few mentally resilient individuals cannot adapt to change or change to impact the way they view themselves. (Source: Positive Psychology)


Social resilience is how an individual views changes and learns to adapt to them successfully.  Social resilience follows a rather complex process.  Encompassed in social resilience, you have an individual’s ability to appropriately process and react to changes to make the best of a situation.  (Source:


This type of resilience is directly correlated to how well you handle the stresses and changes you are presented with within a mental capacity.   Emotional resilience depends on your age and experiences you may have had to help shape you as a person.  Individuals with fewer experiences and a lower age will likely struggle with emotional resilience more than older and more mature individuals. (Source: Very Well Mind)

When do You Use Each Type of Resilience?

After looking at each of the four types of resilience, you may be wondering when you would use each of them.  The unique thing about resilience is that it isn’t categorized.  Although there are specific types of resilience, they will likely work together when facing a stressful situation.  Each of the types gleens a bit from the others.  

While you may be extremely emotionally resilient, you may struggle with mental resilience. This is where the concept of self-awareness is extremely important.  You need to know when you will struggle and when you will be able to maintain control in an upheaving situation. 

Factors in Resilience Development

As you can see, resilience is extremely complex and full of moving parts.  While it would be refreshing to think that you can wake up with super resiliency, that isn’t the case.  The only way to develop a strong sense of resiliency is to practice each part at different times.  It can take years to achieve strong resiliency, and there may be areas you aren’t quite as strong as others, and that is okay.  You must have the self-awareness to know your weak areas. 

Developing resilience takes time and effort on your part.  There isn’t a textbook that you can pick up and read to develop your resilience.  You need to work with trial and error as well as practicing.  Some things you can do to help develop your resilience are:

Social Support

When you find yourself in situations that can be both mentally and physically exhausting, you need to make sure a support network surrounds you. This network can be colleagues, friends, or mentors.  Regardless of who they are, it would be best if you were willing to lean into them when things get tough and you are ready to throw in the towel.  

Depending on your profession, it would likely be helpful to have a support network of individuals that can directly relate to what you are going through.  For example, if you are an intensive care nurse, it may be tough for someone outside to understand the changes and stress you are facing. 

Realistic planning

Changes can make you go into a tailspin when it comes to planning. Suddenly, you have lost control of a familiar situation and maybe grasping for normalcy. Often, when this happens, it is easy to start making plans that can be borderline irrational as you try to claw your way back to what used to be.

Setting manageable goals and timelines will help you as you progress through the changes you are facing.  If you keep your mind focused on a realistic end, it will be easier to move beyond your face’s challenges. Keeping things in perspective and focused on reality will help you to transition to the new normal.

Emotional regulation

You must be able to understand and control your emotions.  When change is involved, it can be a very emotional situation.  Having a strong self-awareness of yourself and how your emotions present themselves will help you move through a stressful situation. 

Communication skills

Whenever there is change involved, communication is going to be a valuable part of the challenge.  When changes occur, lines of communication must remain open because  A lot can get lost in translation if you choose to sever communication during a stressful time of change.  

Not only will this help you to move beyond the change, but it will also keep you in a good state of mind as you do. 

If you can maintain a fluid conversation, you will likely not only approach the idea of change more easily, but you will be able to navigate your way through the change as well. 

Coping skills

You have likely heard the term coping skills applied to many other areas of life.  When you are trying to strengthen your resilience, you need to have coping skills.  These skills help an individual face a change with grace and motivate to move beyond the change, no matter how difficult it may be. 

You need to have the self-awareness to know when to step away from a situation and when to move forward.  These coping skills also help determine how you approach a situation, either with calm and ease or stress and tension. 


Strong self-esteem is going to be key to how you handle and develop your resilience. When changes occur, it is very easy to blame yourself for the change or question your abilities.  If you don’t have strong self-esteem, it will begin to impact you both physically and mentally. 

Resilience and Professional Burnout

Now that you know what resilience is, you may be wondering if this is the cause of professional burnout.  You have likely seen reports of professions that lack individuals to fill roles, which may or may not be tied back to burnout.

Some professions with a relatively high burnout rate are: 

  • Social workers
  • Medicals professionals and Emergency Responders
  • Lawyers
  • Educators
  • Administrators
  • Law enforcement

(Source: Love to Know)

Each of the professions listed goes through a series of changes more often than we know.  Because these professions are such high-demand jobs, there are always eyes on the individuals employed.  If an individual doesn’t have properly strengthened resilience, it can be easy to walk away from the job.  Professional burnout isn’t always tied to resilience, but it is likely a factor to consider. 

Final Thoughts

Developing a strong resilience is something that will take time and practice. However, once developed, it will pay dividends in both your personal and professional life.  It is important to remember that resilience is not something that is just found or learned. You need to devote time to develop.

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