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Resilience, or grit, is the ability to overcome and draw strength from difficult situations. It consists of protective factors and processes that help a person cope with stress or adversity.

  • ADAPT to new situations

  • PERSEVERE and overcome obstacles

  • WORK collaboratively and in teams

  • BUILD social connections and seek support

  • STEP OUTSIDE their comfort zone

  • DEAL with anxiety and stress

  • AVOID depression and burnout

Resilience skills when learned and practiced help any individual thrive and flourish through a situation rather than just getting by. Resilience brings out the best qualities in a person and activates desirable behaviors. Students practicing resilience are able to tolerate uncertainty, stress, change and other adversities more effectively than those who do not practice resilience.

Resilience is a collection of skills that anyone can learn, develop and practice. While some individuals naturally may show more signs of resilience, this does not mean that it is a trait anyone is born with. Resilience is learned made through dedicated practice and determination.

  • Sticking out a challenge until the end

  • Learning from positive and negative experiences

  • Building strong relationships with others for support

  • Understanding that difficult situations can be a turning point

  • Utilizing humor and realistic optimism in the face of adversity

  • Developing and utilizing environmental supports

  • Negativity bias is the idea that bad experiences have greater impact on neuropsychological development than positive experiences. Resilience skills can help offset the effect of negativity bias.

  • Denial in a difficult situation blocks the success of resilience

  • Seeing ones self as a victim. If you view yourself as a victim in a difficult situation, you become passive to improving or changing it.

  • Blaming others

  • Comparing yourself or your situation to that of others in a way that promotes negativity

  • Avoiding a situation or stressor in a way that blocks out all support or resilience skills 

  • Think of three good things

    • Positive experiences build inner strength. Every day for a week write down three good things that happened to you, why it happened, what it means to you and how you can have more of it. (University of Pennsylvania’s Resiliency Project)

  • Practice mindfulness/meditation

    • Mindfulness has been found to be one of the top ways to develop resilience, and college students around the world find it a helpful resource. Practice mindfulness meditation for one minute a day—for just a week—and better sleep, less stress and greater self compassion should result. Koru mindfulness is directly targeted at college students and provides free guided meditations: korumindfulness.org/guided-meditations

  • Become NUMB to negative thoughts

    • N otice the negative thought

    • U nderstand why it is occurring

    • M anage it, using ACT—active intervention, calm intervention, talking intervention; i.e. Run around the block, mediate, talk to a friend

    • B uild on positive emotions

    • (The Numb technique was developed by Dr. Ileana Boniwell)

  • Nourish your happy experiences

    • Have a good experience

    • Enrich it, sealing it into long term memory

    • Absorb it focusing on the experience

    • Link positive and negative experiences

  • Identify and apply your strengths

    • Recall good and bad experiences

    • Focus on the strengths that brought positivity or overcame challenge

    • During future stress or challenge, recall and use the same strengths

  • Find your growth mindset

    • Find ways to remind yourself regularly:

      • The ability to learn is not fixed; it can change

      • Failure and setbacks are not permanent and can be overcome

      • (Identified by Dr. Angela Duckworth)

  • Nurture close relationships

    • Social connectedness is key to protecting against stress. Volunteering and helping fiends and family builds confidence, self-worth and resilience. 

Clemson Student Health 101. (2015 April). True grit: How to push through and move forward. Retrieved from URL