Using Coping Strategies to Build Resilience

After any kind of traumatic event, it’s common to experience grief, sadness, disruption, and loss. And if you face a succession of challenges, these emotions can become even more debilitating.

At times like these, it’s important to know about individual resilience.  

You can develop individual resilience by learning ways to manage your behaviors, thoughts, and actions in a way that promotes personal well-being and mental health. These strategies can help you develop the ability to withstand, adapt to, and recover from stress and adversity—and maintain or return to a state of mental health.

By developing these strategies, you are better prepared to work through pain, disruption, and stress and begin rebuilding your life.

What can you do to build resilience?

  • Develop a support network. People who have the support of family and friends are more likely to receive help during tough times—and enjoy nurturing relationships during everyday life.
  • Learn to manage strong feelings and impulses. People who can manage their emotions are less likely to get overwhelmed, frustrated, or aggressive. While they can still experience sadness or loss, they are more likely to find healthy ways to cope and heal.
  • Develop good problem-solving skills. Thinking, planning and solving problems in an organized way contribute to feelings of independence and self-competence.
  • Ask for help and seek resources. After a disaster, many people may feel helpless and powerless. Resourceful people know how to ask questions, are creative in their thinking, are good problem solvers, and have a good social network to reach out to.
  • Take control. After the chaos of a disaster, it can be helpful to engage in activities that help others regain a sense of control. This supports the healing and recovery process. Being able to see yourself as resilient, and not as helpless or a victim can help build psychological resilience.
  • Cope with stress in healthy ways. People who find positive and meaningful ways of coping lift their spirits and sense of self-worth. These positive and meaningful ways of coping are more beneficial than harmful ways of coping, such as drinking or relying on other substances.
  • Help others and find positive meaning in life: Positive emotions like gratitude, joy, kindness, love, and contentment can come from helping others. Acts of generosity can add meaning and purpose to your life, even in the face of tragedy.

If you would like additional help in developing coping skills or managing life’s challenges, contact your Assistance Program for confidential support.

Sources: This information was compiled from two articles on your member portal: “Individual Resilience: Better ways of thinking about life’s challenges” and “What are the characteristics that support individual resilience?”