Important Things to Know About Resilience
1. Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stressful circumstances.  It is one of the most important qualities that a physician can have.

The Road to Resilience (American Psychological Association)

Adapted from American Psychological Association
Qualities of resilience

  • Healthy coping and problem solving skills
  • Taking positive action
  • Persistence
  • Adaptability, flexibility with change, able to compromise
  • Self-knowledge
  • Learning and accepting who you are, identity doesn’t depend on externals
  • High self-esteem, self-respect
  • Motivation/personal meaning
  • Sense of values and purpose, that life is worth living
  • Optimism
  • Sense of hope – ability to believe there is a solution in adversity
  • Sense of enjoyment of life
  • Strong relationships
  • Support from family and friends
  • Good social skills
  • Able to ask for help
2. Remember that resilient people do experience stress, but are adaptable and positive in response to change and adversity.

Adapted from the American Psychological Association

10 Tips to Build Resilience

What are some tips that can help you learn to be resilient? As you use these tips, keep in mind that each person's journey along the road to resilience will be different - what works for you may not work for others.

  1. Get Together. Talk with your friends, classmates, family members, and whomever you feel supported by. Get connected to your community, whether it's as part of a church group or a high school group.
  2. Cut Yourself Some Slack. When something bad happens in your life, the stresses of whatever you're going through may heighten daily stresses. Be prepared for this and go a little easy on yourself and those around you.
  3. Create A Hassle-Free Zone. Make your room, apartment, or special place a "hassle-free zone" – the goal is not to isolate yourself from others but to create a haven free from stress and anxieties.
  4. Stick To The Program. During a time of major stress, map out a routine and stick to it. You may be doing all kinds of new things, but don't forget the routines that give you comfort, whether it's the things you do before class, going out to lunch, or have a nightly phone call with a friend.
  5. Take Care Of Yourself. Be sure to take of yourself - physically, mentally and spiritually. And get sleep. If you don't, you may be more grouchy and nervous at a time when you have to stay sharp. There's a lot going on, and it's going to be tough to face if you're falling asleep on your feet.
  6. Take Control. Even in the midst of challenges, you can move toward goals one small step at a time. During a really hard time, just getting out of bed and going to school may be all you can handle, but even accomplishing that can help. Difficulties may, at times, make us feel out of control - grab some of that control back by taking decisive action.
  7. Express Yourself. Stress and challenging situations can bring up a bunch of conflicting emotions, but sometimes, it's just too hard to talk to someone about what you're feeling. If talking isn't working, do something else to capture your emotions like start a journal, or create art.
  8. Help Somebody. Nothing gets your mind off your own problems like solving someone else's. Try volunteering in your community or at your school, cleaning-up around the house or apartment, or helping a friend with his or her homework.
  9. Put Things In Perspective. The very thing that has you stressed out may be all anyone is talking about now. But eventually, things change and bad times end. If you're worried about whether you've got what it takes to get through this, think back on a time when you faced up to your fears, whether it was asking someone on a date or applying for a job. Learn some relaxation techniques, whether it's thinking of a particular song in times of stress, or just taking a deep breath to calm down. Think about the important things that have stayed the same, even while the outside world is changing. When you talk about bad times, make sure you talk about good times as well.
  10. Turn It Off. You want to stay informed - you may even have homework that requires you to watch the news. But sometimes, the news, with its focus on the sensational, can add to the feeling that nothing is going right. Try to limit the amount of news you take in, whether it's from television, newspapers or magazines, or the Internet. Watching a news report once informs you; watching it over and over again just adds to the stress and contributes no new knowledge.
3. Resilience Can Be Learned

You can learn resilience. But just because you learn resilience doesn't mean you won't feel stressed or anxious. You might have times when you aren't happy - and that's OK. Resilience is a journey, and each person will take his or her own time along the way. You may benefit from some of the resilience tips above, while some of your classmates may benefit from others. The skills of resilience you learn during stressful and challenging times will be useful even after the bad times end, and they are good skills to have every day. Resilience can help you be one of the people who've "got bounce."

Resilience Resources
Lessons for Healthcare Trainees
The Happy Doc
Steps Forward

Resilience Activities

Three Good Things