What Is Resilience And Why Is Resilience Important? (2024)

Why Is Resilience Important?

Welcome to blog ‘Why Is Resilience Important?’

What Is Resilience?

Research acknowledges that resilience is influenced by various factors, encompassing individual traits, environmental conditions, and a learned capacity honed through experience.

While the ability to rebound from life’s challenges is undeniably a crucial aspect of resilience, it can manifest in diverse, adaptive ways that challenge conventional interpretations of the concept, as articulated by Michael Neenan in his work on Developing Resilience.

The notion that resilience solely entails bouncing back likely stems from its origins in the physical sciences. In materials science, resilience refers to the capacity of a substance to return to its original form after deformation. For instance, consider a bridge spanning a turbulent river, retaining its structural integrity despite enduring strong winds.

So there are countless ways to define resilience.

One of my favourite definitions is:

“our ability to maintain cognitive, emotional, and behavioural flexibility when confronted with life disruptions or prolonged periods of stress, ultimately emerging from adversity with increased strength, wisdom, and capability.”

This lovely quote comes from Pemberton’s insightful book, Resilience.

This for me is what many of us are striving for, and a foundational answer to the question why is resilience important.

We are all going to face adversity – as an individual, as a family, as a community – and therefore we all need to build a set of tools and skills (as well just a physical body) that allows us to maintain cognitive, emotional, and behavioural flexibility so we can come out the other side stronger, wiser and more capable.

Sounds pretty important to me!

We can also break resilience in to four key areas: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Physical Resilience

At its core, physical resilience involves maintaining and enhancing our physical well-being, enabling us to endure and recover from physical stressors and ailments. Regular exercise, proper nutrition, and sufficient rest are fundamental components of physical resilience. As research suggests, regular physical activity not only strengthens the body but also enhances cognitive function and improves mood, contributing to overall resilience.

Mental Resilience

Mental resilience relates to our cognitive processes and ability to cope with stress, uncertainty, and adversity. It involves developing skills such as problem-solving, emotional regulation, and optimism. Cultivating a growth mindset, where challenges are viewed as opportunities for learning and growth, is key to building mental resilience. Additionally, practices like mindfulness and meditation have been shown to bolster mental resilience by promoting greater self-awareness and reducing stress.

Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience entails the capacity to navigate and regulate our emotions effectively, even in the face of intense stress or distressing events. It involves developing healthy coping mechanisms, building supportive relationships, and fostering emotional intelligence. Research indicates that individuals with high emotional resilience are better equipped to manage stress, maintain positive relationships, and experience greater overall well-being.

Spiritual Resilience

Spiritual resilience goes beyond religious beliefs and encompasses a sense of purpose, meaning, and connection to something greater than oneself. It involves finding inner strength and peace amidst life’s challenges, drawing on values, beliefs, and practices that provide guidance and solace. Spiritual resilience can be nurtured through practices such as meditation, prayer, reflection, and engagement with one’s community or faith tradition.

Why Is Resilience Important?

In today’s fast-paced and unpredictable world, resilience is more important than ever. It serves as a protective factor against the negative effects of stress, adversity, and trauma, buffering individuals against mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Resilient individuals are better equipped to adapt to change, overcome obstacles, and persevere in pursuit of their goals and aspirations.

Furthermore, resilience fosters personal growth and development, enabling individuals to emerge stronger and more capable in the face of adversity. It promotes a sense of empowerment and agency, reminding us that we have the ability to shape our own lives and navigate life’s challenges with courage and resilience.

So let’s look at 10 basic resilience skills

10 Resilience Skills

It’s important to first appreciate that there is no single skill that supports resilience in individuals.

Instead, it is the development of a resilient body and mindset, a set of tools and skills to manage challenging times, and the creation of a supportive and growth-minded environment. Throughout The Resiliency Program I share tools to build resilience in all areas of life ranging from a resilient gut microbiome (yes there’s science on that, and it’s important to have if you ever need to go on a course of antibiotics!) through to family resilience.

Anyway, let’s look as some more general skills to build resilience.

Effective communication

I genuinely believe that one of the most powerful ways to improve our health and build our resilience is to learn how to effectively communicate (something I have needed A LOT of work on, and am still working on).

This involves learning to express needs and feelings clearly and assertively and actively listening to others. Without wanting to offend anyone, most of us are terrible listeners (sorry!).

Emotional regulation and stress management

As emotional regulation pertains to the skill of effectively managing and controlling one’s emotions in a healthy manner, various techniques can be employed to achieve this.

These techniques encompass practicing relaxation methods such as mindfulness and deep breathing exercises, reshaping cognitive perspectives to perceive challenges and pressures as growth opportunities, and incorporating physical activity into one’s routine.

In The Resiliency Program Gavin Andrews from Heartmath is going to speak about emotional regulation and the Heartmath system.

Building a social support network

We are social creatures. It is in our DNA. This skill entails cultivating and nurturing a strong support network comprised of close friendships, familial bonds, and reliable connections with trusted individuals. Unfortunately I think this is becoming increasingly hard to do with our increasingly secluded and increasingly busy lives.

Practicing self-care

Self-care activities should promote physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, including getting adequate sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and finding time for relaxation and hobbies. Some research actually suggests that our physical resilience lays the foundation for our mental, motional and spiritual resilience. We will be diving in to pysical resilience in module of The Resiliency Program. You can learn more about the program here.

Developing meaning and purpose in life

This involves finding purpose and meaning in life, whether in work, relationships, or other personally fulfilling activities. A powerful exercise to do is to find a list of values (this can simply be googled), and to spend some time identifying yours. What’s important for you in life? Adventure? Safety? Wealth? Health? Authenticity? Courage?

If we don’t know what our values how, we can’t make decisions based on what’s important to us in our lives. It’s like not having a north star, navigating life blind.

Adopting a positive outlook

Nurturing an optimistic perspective and embracing a mindset of continuous development could involve engaging in gratitude exercises, centering attention on life’s positives, reshaping pessimistic thoughts, viewing challenges as chances for personal evolution, and sustaining a hopeful stance towards the future

Improving self-awareness

In his great book Resilient, Rick Hanson discusses how developing self-awareness is a kind of pre-requisite for becoming resilient. It includes learning to become aware of, and understand, our thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. By doing so we can improve our response to stress and adversity and recognise when support is needed.

Adopting effective coping strategies

Effective strategies for managing stress and challenges could encompass constructive self-affirmations, imaginative visualisation, physical activity, goal-oriented mindset, social connections, mindfulness practices, and methods for relaxation.

Resilient individuals often demonstrate adaptability, embrace novel situations, and maintain a constructive outlook by reframing setbacks as valuable learning opportunities

Physical Exercise

It might seem like an obvious one by physical exercise is hands down one of the best ways we can build resilience – it not only builds our physical resilience but also our emotional and mental resilience, and I’d argue our spiritual resilience too. A paper entitled Promoting Resilience In The Face Of Ageing And Disease put it best:

Our oldest patients deserve the dignity of our urgent resolve to remember the mission of medicine: the assertion and the assurance of the human potential. Exercise medicine is core to this mission.”


Problem-solving is the ability to identify, analyse, and break down problems and generate potential solutions. The most effective ones are then chosen and implemented.

Over the last few decades, comprehensive research into resilience has found several protective and promotive factors that make some individuals more resilient. They include self-regulation skills, effective schooling, good parenting, genetics, mindset, and community resources (Lopez et al., 2021).

The most resilient people are likely to have benefited from a combination of these basic human protective systems.

It is worth noting that resilience is not a fixed trait, but can be developed and grown over time.

Let’s look at how to improve resilience.

Why Is Resilience Important?

In conclusion, resilience encompasses various dimensions of our lives, including physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. By cultivating resilience across these domains, we can enhance our ability to cope with adversity, thrive in the face of challenges, and lead more fulfilling lives. As we continue to navigate the complexities of the modern world, investing in our resilience is not just advantageous—it’s essential for our well-being and success.

However, resilience is so much more than our ability to adapt, to bounce back, and to succeed.

I think resilience is about getting to know oneself, one’s true self. It’s about being grounded, strong in our roots, which allows us to move through life with grace, fluidity, and a sense that there is something far greater than ourselves at play.

Resilience is about being able to communicate effectively. It’s about being able to support others. It’s about setting goals and smashing them. It’s about setting goals and having to adapt them when life throws you a curve ball, as it inevitable will, time and time again.

Resilience is about taking control of this human experience, while simultaneounsly knowing you have little control. It’s about having the skills to handle the curve balls with ease (or at least with more ease).

Resilience is everything.

True resilience fosters well-being, an underlying sense of happiness, love, peace.

And it can only truly be cultivated within community. There is no such thing as a really resilient hyper-independent human.

And it’s for these reasons why I created a course. :0)

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