Developing Resilience as a Young Adult

Students everywhere have been impacted by the pandemic, school disruptions, and a variety of related challenges. To bounce back, it’s important to know how to develop resilience.

According to the experts, “resilient” adolescents or young adults are those who have managed to cope effectively, even in the face of stress and other difficult circumstances, and are poised to enter adulthood with a good chance of positive mental health.

Several factors promote resilience in adolescents. Among the most important are caring relationships with adults and an easy-going disposition.

However, you can also develop several strategies, including exercising regularly, to reduce stress and promote resilience.

The following tips can help you develop resilience, especially after a hardship or other traumatic event:  

  • Talk about it. One of the most helpful things to do is to connect with others. Don’t isolate yourself. Talk with someone about your sadness, anger, and other emotions, even though it may be difficult to get started. Find a peer who will understand and accept your feelings, or a trusted professor, counselor, faith leader, or resident assistant. Call home to talk with your parents.
  • Take care of yourself. Rest when you need to. Eat healthy meals and snacks when they are available, and drink plenty of water. Use deep breathing, simple stretching, and walking to process stress and calm yourself. Avoid using alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
  • Get back to your daily routines. If you’ve experienced some type of disaster, take breaks from watching the news coverage. Do the things you would normally do, even if you don’t feel like it. It’s a good way to regain a sense of control and help you feel less anxious.
  • Get Involved in your community. Engaging in positive activities like group discussions and candlelight vigils can help bring you comfort and promote healing. These activities create a sense of connection and meaning and help you realize you are not alone.
  • Know when to seek additional support. If the trauma was caused by a violent act, it is common to be angry at people who may have caused the pain. Know that nothing good can come out of more violence or hateful acts. Be honest with yourself and accept your feelings—even if you have a sense of uncertainty. Things may seem off balance for a while, but most people start to feel differently after a week or two, especially if they get back to regular routines.

However, if you continue to experience emotional distress for 2–4 weeks after a traumatic event, consider your Assistance Program for additional resources and confidential support.

Sources: This information was compiled from two articles on your member portal “Positive Adolescent Mental Health: Resilience” and “Tips for College Students: After a Disaster or Other Trauma.”