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Characteristics of resilient people
I'm able to adapt to change easily.
I feel in control of my life.
I tend to bounce back after a hardship or illness.
I have close, dependable relationships.
I remain optimistic and don't give up, even if things seem hopeless.
I can think clearly and logically under pressure.
I see the humor in situations, even under stress.
I am self-confident and feel strong as a person.
I believe things happen for a reason.
I can handle uncertainty or unpleasant feelings.
I know where to turn for help.
I like challenges and feel comfortable taking the lead.
Credits: Based on the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC), Connor K.M., Davidson J.R. ©2003. Adapted by Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.
Tips to improve your resilience
Use these tips to help become more resilient:
Get connected. Build strong, positive relationships with family and friends, who can listen to your concerns and offer support. Volunteer or get involved in your community. "A sense of connectedness can sustain you in dark times," Dr. Creagan notes.
Use humor and laughter.
Remaining positive or finding humor in distressing or stressful situations doesn't mean you're in denial. Humor is a helpful coping mechanism. If you simply can't find humor in your situation, turn to other sources for a laugh, such as a funny book or movie. (When my son went through a major depression in middle school, he really got a lot of relief from renting comedies, watching comedians and even read about becoming a comedian.)
Learn from your experiences. Recall how you've coped with hardships in the past, either in healthy or unhealthy ways. Build on what helped you through those rough times and don't repeat actions that didn't help.
Remain hopeful and optimistic. While you can't change events, look toward the future, even if it's just a glimmer of how things might improve. Find something in each day that signals a change for the better. Expect good results.
Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings, both physically and emotionally. This includes participating in activities and hobbies you enjoy, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, and eating well.
Accept and anticipate change. Be flexible. Try not to be so rigid that even minor changes upset you or that you become anxious in the face of uncertainty. Expecting changes to occur makes it easier to adapt to them, tolerate them and even welcome them.
Work toward goals. Do something every day that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Even small, everyday goals are important. Having goals helps direct you toward the future.
Take action. Don't just wish your problems would go away or try to ignore them. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan to do it, and then take action.
Learn new things about yourself. Review past experiences and think about how you've changed as a result. You may have gained a new appreciation for life. If you feel worse as a result of your experiences, think about what changes could help. Explore new interests, such as taking a cooking class or visiting a museum.
Think better of yourself. Be proud of yourself. Trust yourself to solve problems and make sound decisions. Nurture your self-confidence and self-esteem so that you feel strong, capable and self-reliant. This will give you a sense of control over events and situations in your life.
Maintain perspective. Don't compare your situation to that of somebody you think may be worse off. You'll probably feel guilty for being down about your own problems. Rather, look at your situation in the larger context of your own life, and of the world. Keep a long-term perspective and know that your situation can improve if you actively work at it.