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BLOG: The Art of Bouncing Back : Personal resilience for tough times

“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”  H. Jackson Brown

We might describe resilience as ‘the ability to recover from setbacks, to embrace change, and to grow in the face of pressure and threats’.  And having that ability to ‘bounce back’ has arguably never been more important than now, certainly for a huge number of people.

Action for Happiness maintain that resilience is one of the 10 Keys to Happier Living.  You can find out more about their thoughts and tips on their website here but for now, here are what we believe are six of the essentials when it comes to being able to manage whatever is thrown at you and to continue to move forward towards achieving what you want, and need.

Having a sense of purpose is fundamental.  The stronger your sense of purpose, the better equipped you are to handle challenges and setbacks, and to recover from them.  Ask yourself:

  • Am I clear about my direction and goals?
  • Do I understand the purpose of all the activities I engage in?
  • Do I remain true to my goals and values?

The positive mental attitude component is something of a balancing act between being able to think positively about situations and events whilst being realistic about what can be achieved.  Not naïve false optimism but being able to generate positive thoughts and feelings about situations and challenges.  Think:

  • Do I have the ability to see the positive side of things without creating unreasonable expectations and subsequent disappointment?

People matter to all of us, so building supportive and caring relationships is crucial – connecting with others.  Interpersonal skills and communication are important elements of an individual’s ability to be resilient, based on how they handle difficult situations or times.  It is also essential to be able to offer appropriate help and support to others, and to ask for it, when needed.

Determination is also a good way of measuring our resilience.  Try asking:

  • How good am I at seeing things through?
  • When faced with a challenge do I deal with it by having a ‘can do’ approach and being proactive?
  • Do I keep going in the face of adversity or give up easily?
  • How open-minded and adaptable am I to provide myself with a greater range of choices?


Resilient people are good at taking control of how they think and react.  It’s about understanding your inner self – how you think, feel and react – and controlling this so that you develop positive patterns in the way you deal with different situations and challenges.  So think about:

  • Do I take responsibility for myself and my actions?
  • Can I recognise when situations and challenges are beyond my control and let go of these in order to focus on the things I can actually do something about?

Finally, looking after yourself has a big impact on your resilience.  Caring for your own physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is so important in enabling you to deal with stress, which in turn affects how resilient you are.  Ask yourself:

  • How healthy is my lifestyle?
  • Do I have strategies and tools to help me deal promptly with difficult or stressful situations?
  • Can I relax my body and mind to allow me to see problems or difficult scenarios in a calm and clear way?


Considering the answers to all of the questions above will give you an idea about how resilient you are as a person.  You may then wish to plan how you can become more resilient, because ‘the art of bouncing back’ is indeed a skill that can be learned.  Why not give this worksheet a go (My More Resilient Future – Worksheet) and start your more resilient future today?

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