How can you help someone build resilience

Learning resilience: 6 tips for more resilience + test

Our own resilience shows how we deal with crises and how we emerge from them. Everyone reacts differently to life crises. Resilient people, however, can process these strokes of fate much better and even use them for themselves. Here you can find out what it means to be resilient, whether and how you can learn and train this positive quality ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Meaning: What is resilience?

Resilience is the soul's immune system. In psychology, the term describes the ability to cope with crises, setbacks or losses without being permanently crushed by them. Wikipedia defines resilience as “psychological resilience to cope with crises” and to use it as an opportunity for personal development.

Instead of looking powerlessly and helplessly at one's own life and sinking into self-pity, resilience (pronounced “resilience”) helps to carry on, to overcome the depth and to face the challenges again.

What is a resilient person?

A resilient person is mentally able to get through life crises without lasting impairment. While others react to hardship cases with anxiety disorders, addiction or depression, the stress rolls off them - like an invisible protective shield. And what's more: these people can be in top form again in a very short time. As if nothing had happened.

What is the opposite of resilience?

The resilience is offset by the so-called vulnerability. It is practically the opposite of resilience and describes a person's particular vulnerability. Vulnerable people are highly sensitive or “tender” and are particularly easily injured and pulled down by negative events.

What are the 7 pillars of resilience?

There are seven character traits that speak for a strong ability to cope with stress and crises. Together they form the so-called 7 pillars of resilience or "resilience factors". You can also understand this as a kind of test: the more you recognize these characteristics in yourself, the more resilient you are likely to be.

1. Confidence

Resilient people believe in themselves. Instead of slipping into the role of victim, they prefer to be active. A quality that is becoming increasingly important in our lives and in the increasingly complex everyday business life. Thanks to their high level of self-confidence, they often gain the trust (and admiration) of others.

2. Sociability

Resilient people solve difficulties together with other people. To do this, they actively seek partners who are empathetic, encourage them and remind them of their strengths. Because they manage to correctly interpret the behavior of others (see: emotional intelligence), they often build good and long-lasting relationships.

3. Emotional stability

Resilient people have a great ability to analyze their emotions and their attention. They control their own emotional world in such a way that they perceive high loads not as stress, but as a challenge. So they can act fully again shortly afterwards (see: emotional maturity).

4. Optimism

For the neuroscientist and co-founder of the German Resilience Center in Mainz, Raffael Kalisch, optimism is one of THE pillars of resilience. Resilient people do not generalize when they lose, motto: “I will never make it”, but say to themselves: “This time I was unsuccessful, next time I will.” Resilient people accept the situation as it is, gloss over nothing, but continue to look confidently into it the future. In this way, the crisis is not given a heavy weight at all, but remains a time-limited event from which you can lead yourself out.

5. Action control

Instead of acting impulsively, resilient people react to appropriate behavioral incentives in a controlled and considered manner. This includes deferring immediate rewards in favor of a higher goal in the future. In technical jargon, this ability is called “waiver of gratuities”. This control is also an important component of the aforementioned emotional intelligence.

6. Realism

Resilience means thinking long-term and developing realistic goals for yourself. So you cannot be thrown off balance by temporary turning points in life, such as the death of your parents or an involuntary change of occupation. Because you are already mentally preparing for your life "afterwards", you will master these challenges more confidently and faster. From disaster research (which really does exist) we know today: Resilient people do not see disaster through rose-colored glasses. Rather, they deal constructively with their pain, with the tragedy (see: realistic optimism).

7. Power of analysis

Resilient people are able to leave the beaten path of thought. You can precisely identify and analyze the causes of a negative experience. This helps them to deal with it in a future-oriented way and to recognize alternative and often better solutions (see: Change of perspective).

Resilience test: how resilient are you?

How resilient are you? You can find out with the following free resilience test: How many of the following statements apply to you?

  • I believe that I have my own destiny in my own hands.
  • I get over obstacles, no matter how big they are.
  • I can also accept the negative in my life.
  • Despite failures, I consider myself a valuable person.
  • I have a clear goal in mind for my life.
  • I have a strong belief in my abilities.
  • I have good friends that I can rely on.
  • If something doesn't work out, I just try again.
  • Everyone is the maker of his or her happiness, that is my motto in life.
  • I know my strengths and I am proud of them.
  • I perform well under stress and can handle pressure well.
  • Even in the crisis, I believe that everything will turn out fine.
  • When I have problems, I actively look for a solution - and I find it.

The more times you were able to agree with the above statements, the higher the probability that you belong to the group of resilient people. We also have a detailed dossier on the related topic of "burnout" and a free burnout test.

Resilience research: suffering is part of life

In the past, people would have spoken of “serenity” or “hardening”: “What doesn't kill me makes me strong,” said Friedrich Nietzsche. Or resilience could have been compared to standing up. However, the metaphor leads to the fallacy of inviolability: Fall on your face, get up quickly, straighten the crown and go on ... It's not that simple.

A serious illness, a car accident, the death of a partner or a child, the loss of one's job can crush even the strongest characters. The sociologist Bruno Hildenbrand is of the opinion that the crisis in life is "not the exception, but the normal case". With stoic composure, the ideal of ancient philosophers, you would not get any further. Who kills his emotional life, only trains indifference. A path that psychiatry considers pathologically questionable.

The true art of living cannot lie in denying suffering, in suppressing feelings of pain. Suffering is simply part of life - and we often have to go through it in a kind of roller coaster ride of emotions (PDF). The key difference is: people with resilience do this faster than the rest of us.

Is resilience innate or can it be learned?

Resilience is absent or innate. It develops through positive caregivers and early support. Above all, it takes people who convey security and reliability. Even children can show resilience when faced with loss or trauma. Resilience is an essential quality of our personality. So far, some researchers have assumed that personality traits (see: Big Five) are rigid. Researchers from the Universities of Münster, Mainz and Leipzig were able to prove that character traits change over the course of life.

Above all, important events such as marriage, the birth of a child, strokes of fate or retirement change a personality. For example, young adults become much more conscientious when they take up their first job. If people leave the labor market when they retire, conscientiousness sinks again.

Resilience training: how to strengthen your resilience

Some time ago, the American Psychological Association formulated a kind of “guide to learning resilience” with which you can strengthen your resilience. This includes advice on how ...

  • Accept change as something that is part of life.
  • Don't see crises as insurmountable problems.
  • Believe in your (realistic) goals and your ability.
  • Actively make decisions and leave the victim role.
  • See things from a long-term perspective.
  • Build social relationships.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Think positive about yourself.

6 tips for more resistance

You can do even more yourself to recover faster from a stroke of fate or a crisis and to stay positive:

  • Reflect on previous crises
    Even the smallest, like lovesickness in adolescence. Through self-reflection you will learn which challenges you have already overcome in your life, but also how and above all: THAT you can do it. The analysis makes it clear to you which resources and strengths you bring with you, and your confidence increases.
  • Write everything from your soul
    Many people find writing down a wholesome and positive process. It helps to cope with the crisis or a stroke of fate. By writing, they gain clarity about thoughts and feelings. Studies at the Pennsylvania State University with more than 50 subjects have shown that ten days are enough to literally write your worries off your mind.30 days after the study participants had noted what worries them every day, they felt even better than the control group without any grief.
  • Accept failure
    Things and life don't always go the way we plan and would like. But that is not an evil force that is directed against you and only you. It just happens. The sooner you accept that, the more likely you are to recognize opportunities in defeat.
  • Focus on solutions
    Those who concentrate on looking for a way out are better able to cope with the problems that lie ahead. Then the solutions become goals to work towards.
  • Build stable relationships
    Those who have a caregiver are more resilient. This positive anchor can be in the family, but other people can also be considered, such as a good friend, teacher, or mentor. It is also important that you are ready to accept help from these people in difficult times.
  • Look for new challenges
    Those who continuously develop in their lives gain new experiences, expand their own spectrum and prepare for coming crises. In short: resilience always expects to develop further. In addition, every challenge you master increases your belief in yourself - and thus your resilience in the event of future setbacks.

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