When you resist unexpected or unwanted events, you suffer. Nobody can avoid challenges, and you need resilience to overcome them. Mental flexibility empowers you to get through difficulties and come out the other side stronger and wiser. These 15 quotes on resilience and 10 keys to being more resilient show you how to build inner strength and deal with life’s uncertainties and setbacks.

15 Quotes On Resilience

“Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit.”

– Bernard Williams

“Inner resilience and the ability to bounce back are personal qualities. … Align yourself with someone who has this kind of resilience so that your own can be strengthened. Find another oak to weather the storm with you. Anyone who is in touch with his or her core self will always respond.”

– Deepak Chopra

“Health is wholeness and balance, an inner resilience that allows you to meet the demands of living without being overwhelmed.”

– Andrew Weil

“Resilience is the maintenance of high levels of positive affect and well-being in the face of adversity. It is not that resilient individuals never experience negative affect, but rather that the negative affect does not persist.”

– Richard Davidson

“Developing a diet that is healthful, balanced, and appropriate for your particular caloric needs is easy enough and is absolutely critical to establishing a healthful lifestyle that incorporates proper nutrition, adequate fitness, and mental resilience.”

– Daphne Oz

“Never be afraid to learn. Have a good amount of resilience and enjoy the journey.”

– Willemijn Verkaik

“Joy, collected over time, fuels resilience – ensuring we’ll have reservoirs of emotional strength when hard things do happen.”

– Brene Brown

“When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives.”

– Abdul Kalam

“Bamboo is flexible, bending with the wind but never breaking, capable of adapting to any circumstance. It suggests resilience, meaning that we have the ability to bounce back even from the most difficult times. . . . Your ability to thrive depends, in the end, on your attitude to your life circumstances. Take everything in stride with grace, putting forth energy when it is needed, yet always staying calm inwardly.”

– Ping Fu

“…children have the resilience to outlive their sufferings, if given a chance.”

– Ishmael Beah

“No matter what your current condition, how or where you grew up, or what education or training you feel you lack, you can be successful in your chosen endeavor. It is spirit, fortitude, and hardiness that matter more than where you start.”

– Jack Ma

“The soul gives us resilience – an essential quality since we constantly have to rebound from hardship.”

– Wynton Marsalis

“No one’s life is a smooth sail; we all come into stormy weather. But it’s this adversity – and more specifically our resilience – that makes us strong and successful.”

– Tony Robbins

“Gloom and despondency have never defeated adversity. Trying times need courage and resilience. Our strength as a people is not tested during the best of times.”

– Thabo Mbeki

“True will is quiet humility, resilience, and flexibility; the other kind of will is weakness disguised by bluster and ambition.”

– Ryan Holiday

10 Keys to Being More Resilient When Things Get Tough

1. Consider how to respond

How you respond to tough or unsettling events builds or reduces your ability to bounce back from them. When you react negatively, you lessen your mental flexibility because you focus on an undesirable possibility. Train yourself to respond in positive ways and you’ll become more resilient. You’ll note more choices about what to do for the best, and this will liberate and energize you.

Rather than act defensively when you disagree with a loved one, for instance, you might choose to focus on how to achieve a win-win outcome, one that serves you both and strengthens the relationship.

Likewise, if your physical or mental health is low, you need not focus on unhelpful scenarios that make you feel helpless or afraid. Rather, you can decide to respond by practicing new healthy habits that improve your wellness. Choose your responses to events in all areas of your life, from finances to emotional wellbeing, and make them serve you.

2. Practice kindness

Not practicing kindness blocks your recovery when you meet challenges. You criticize yourself and set your mood on a downward spiral. Learning how to cherish and care for yourself gives you the edge when problems arise. Being kind to yourself helps you stay positive. When you are also kind to others, you build healthy, helpful relationships. You recognize how to negotiate, and this is a useful skill in many potentially negative situations. Knowing you communicate well boosts your morale.

Imagine a friend is moody, for example, and antagonistic. It would be easy to take their demeanor personally and get upset. But not acting with kindness results in disconnection and resentment. You could be kind and think about how you might feel in their life situation. When you consider their possible experience and check in with them about how they feel, you can connect with them.

Likewise, when you feel low, practice the art of self-care. Ask yourself what you need to improve your wellbeing and make positive changes. Do you need fresh air, for instance, or time to yourself? Maybe you’ll benefit from listening to upbeat music or playing with your dog. Listening to your inner pleas and answering them is a terrific resilience tool.

The more you tap into kindness, the easier it is to recognize it’s a major key to becoming more resilient. It helps you problem-solve, when you face social barriers, and build strong relationships and look after your needs.

3. Practice listening skills

When you’re a good listener, your resilience increases. You learn how to be patient and take your time to respond. This is useful in other situations, like when you meet problems that require a thoughtful reaction. You delay judgment, which means you don’t jump to conclusions or act with haste.

When you're a good listener, your resilience increases.
When you’re a good listener, your resilience increases.

When you teach your mind to pause and reflect on what someone says, you learn to stay calm. You no longer panic in the face of adversity. You become more resilient because you get used to taking your time to establish what’s happening and seek ways forward.

4. Be optimistic

Optimism helps with being more resilient since it boosts positive emotions. When life throws you a curveball, you rise to the challenge. You embrace change and seek opportunities to expand contentment rather than languish amid stress and anxiety.

To increase optimism, recall happy memories. They will remind you good things happen to you. Whether you reflect on a happy vacation, cherished time spent with close family, or times when you laughed with friends, your mindset will improve.

Also, think about your positive qualities and strengths. Remember your achievements and what you’ve done that makes you proud. Make a mental list of people who support you, too, and consider what helps you feel terrific. You might benefit from walks among nature, for example, visits to see your favorite people, or reigniting a creative hobby.

5. Bolster a sense of purpose

Having a sense of purpose inspires and motivates you. Without it, life holds less meaning. Purpose gives you direction and encourages you to work through difficulties. As well as driving you to prosper, it makes life feel more valuable. It aids your resilience because it strengthens determination and gives you reason to succeed.

Think about what makes you get up in the morning. You might love your job because it helps people. Or you may want to look after your children. Discover what motivates you. Remind yourself why it’s important to you every morning before you do anything else and you’ll be more resilient.

6. Ramp up gratitude

Gratitude strengthens your relationships and wellbeing. It highlights your blessings and increases feel-good chemicals in your brain and body. When you are grateful, your motivation to overcome challenges grows. You want to maintain and add to what makes you feel terrific, so you travel toward positive outcomes.

Gratitude and life picture quote: "My life isn’t perfect, but I am thankful for what I have."

Notice the small events you’re grateful for like friendly neighbors or the rain watering your flowerbeds. Pay attention to small wonders like birdsong and beautiful skies, and note the pleasure you receive from ordinary daily events most people overlook.

Count your blessings before you go to sleep too. Your nightly ritual will reduce anxiety and help you feel good. As you lie in bed, remember everything you’re grateful to have in your life that makes living easier, more comfortable, or more wonderful and your resilience will inflate.

Life and gratitude picture quote: "Take life day by day and be grateful for the little things. Don't get stressed over what you can't control."

7. Let go of resentment

Misunderstandings and differing views transpire even in healthy relationships now and then. If you mull over them, though, your resilience plummets. You feel weak because you hold a grudge. Grudges are disempowering since they burn up emotional energy and give you the feeling you are a victim. When you are angry or upset with someone, your subconscious receives the message you are helpless and at their mercy.

When you forgive people, emotional burdens lighten. The flow of anxiety stops, and there’s more room in your life to solve any other issues that arise. You no longer imagine you are powerless, and you can take charge of your happiness again.

Letting go of grudges will free up your attention and help you move on with life. The next time you entertain resentment toward someone, stop. Recall your intention to be free of the burden of bitterness. Accede to what has happened and vow to make a positive shift toward freedom and joy. Forgive them knowing this liberates you and means they no longer have power over you. You’ll be another step closer to being more resilient.

8. Be curious about uncertainty

Another key to being more resilient is openness and acceptance of whatever life puts in front of you. Embrace the possibility it might be useful rather than detrimental. Recognize you don’t actually know the outcome yet, so you might as well be curious about what could happen.

Look at what you learn about life when uncertainty continues or ends. Acknowledge the negatives but focus on the positives and they will expand in your consciousness. You’ll be more aware of the ways seemingly adverse events can be helpful.

Challenges might expand your understanding, for instance, and strengthen your capacity to grow. Or they may close off one avenue and reveal a better way forward. Recognize, too, the more difficulties you meet and overcome, the more resilient you are because you come to know you can cope after all. Having been through tough times before and survived, you identify you can do so again.

9. Build a support network

Build terrific relationships. They will help you foster courage and wellbeing. The people who shout in your corner boost your inner strength and ignite joy, both of which make you resilient. Your relationships might be helpful in practical ways, too. It never hurts to have a wide support network full of people with diverse skills and contacts.

There are several ways to increase your social circle and support present friendships. One is to be interested in people. Express keenness to get to know them. Ask them what they want from life and what they’re doing to meet their aims. People love talking about themselves and, as long as they are open to friendship, will be flattered by your attention.

It’s important to stay in touch with people too. Keep friends close. Let them know what’s going on in your life, and find out what’s happening in theirs, and they will have an emotional connection with you. At the same time, be a great friend. Support is often reciprocal, so lend a hand when it’s needed, and you’re likely to receive similar good fortune when you want it most.

10. Create goals

You have something positive to work toward when you create goals. They set your sights on the future and help you think about ways to improve life. They make you more resilient because they give you hope, and as you carry out plans to achieve them, happy hormones increase. You also have less time to dwell on problems since you place your energy on expansion and advancement.

Think of an improvement you want to make like learning a new language, decorating the spare room, or growing healing herbs. Then create small steps toward your goal. They will mark your journey and encourage you to succeed. When you reach each goalpost, celebrate. Bathe in the glow of your achievement and watch your resilience increase.

Practice these 10 keys often. Being resilient is vital for your health and happiness. Mental flexibility gets you through tough times. It gives you the courage to overcome difficulties and provides the motivation to succeed in all areas of your life.

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