‘I’m a Resilience Expert, and These Are My Top 5 Tips for Bouncing Back From Life’s Challenges’

Photo: Getty Images/Justin Lewis
Life is full of all sorts of challenges, whether financial, professional, health-related, relationship-focused, or otherwise. And some folks have an uncanny ability to handle such periods of life in stride—or even with total ease in some cases. More likely than not, these unbothered, breezy folks have a strong sense of resilience, which is scientifically understood to reflect a “positive adaption despite adversity." It's a key factor in both navigating hardships and bouncing back from them—and, thankfully, there are tips for building resilience if it's not something that comes naturally to you.

Experts In This Article

According to Dinaaz Lentin, a resilience and change coach and speaker, building resilience is an ongoing process that comes with practice—and one that starts with embracing the very inevitability of challenges as an opportunity. “Challenges make you more resilient,” she says. “We have to welcome challenges with open arms, as they give us the life tools to overcome any future obstacles."

“We have to welcome challenges with open arms, as they give us the life tools to overcome any future obstacles." —Dinaaz Lentin, resilience and change coach and speaker

Ready to put in the work? Below are five tips for building resilience that Lentin recommends all folks embrace. While some challenges are certainly bigger and more intense than others, having the foundational tools for handling whatever comes your way can help you cope, making hard times a little easier.

5 tips for building resilience to help you bounce back from any challenge

1. Have an open and patient mindset

First and foremost, having an open and willing mindset is vital to cultivating a sense of resilience. “You need to have unwavering confidence in your mental strength to never give up on what you want to achieve,” says Lentin.

From there, it's important to have patience with yourself regarding the challenge at hand. “Some challenges take years or decades to overcome," she says. "Have patience, take one step at a time, and don’t worry about obstacles along your journey—they’re just detours along the way.”

2. Invest in your personal growth

“You need to grow your knowledge, skills, and experiences to help you reach your desired end,” says Lentin. What this will require depends on the challenge at hand, but whether through reading books, taking seminars, going to therapy, or any other vehicle of personal advancement, there is one commonality of all growth initiatives for building resilience and overcoming challenges: The intention to make progress must start with you. “The desire for personal growth has to come from within you, so don’t expect others to do it for you—because they won’t,” she adds.

3. Avoid procrastination and start addressing it now

Facing hardships and challenges can be scary, but the common defense mechanism of procrastinating or avoiding the situation altogether won't help you. “Whether you’re looking to end the relationship, quit the bad habit, or have any goal in mind, you need to start now—not tomorrow, not next year, not after you’ve finished something else,” says Lentin. “To make a change, you have to start now and keep working on making improvements every single day. Each day is about being just one percent better.”

4. Seek support

Having a good support network is crucial for building resilience and navigating life’s challenges. Having people around you can serve as a reminder that you're literally not alone. And if you can find a community of folks who have gone through a situation similar to yours, you can also be reminded that you're the first person to feel as you do.

“Lean on your friends, and don’t be shy to search outwards,” says Lentin. “There are others who have had similar experiences and garnered knowledge and different skills that may help you. Knock on many doors to ask for help and accept the support they offer.”

5. Be prepared to change

It’s human nature to suffer from metasthesiophobia, aka a fear of change and the unknown. Even so, it's often an inevitable component of navigating life's challenges—and being open to change is a key component of building resilience. As change ensues, Lentin's best tips are to "never lose sight of who you are, stay true to your values, and remember where you want your final destination to be."

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