What is Resiliency?

What is Resiliency?

By Vanessa Gonzalez


The last two years have been hard on many. COVID-19, working from home, children attending school virtually, not seeing loved ones as easily, financial hardship, and the list seems endless. Yet here we are, at the beginning of 2022, ready to face it all again each day.


Are you bouncing back strong, or are you falling apart?


The American Psychological Association (2014) defines Resilience as:


“The process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or even significant sources of stress.”


One’s ability to bounce back in the face of hardship is called resiliency. This “superpower” is the ability to adapt to life’s difficulties and harness that inner strength that lies within you to keep pushing through your adversity. However, if you lack that insight to reach that resiliency, you might dwell on the negativity, become overwhelmed, utilize negative coping skills, or feel victimized.


According to Wong (2012), resilience is one’s ability to cope with stress and adversity positively. Either the individual will return to a previous state of functioning or use the experience of adversity to magnify their overall functioning. There are multiple facets to resiliency, such as:

  • Cognitive: How to interpret our situations and how we cope with those situations.
  • Behavioral: How we practice our habits to reinforce and build persistence when faced with adversity.
  • Motivational: A very clear sense of purpose and will to live.
  • Existential/spiritual: There is a larger purpose in life and meaning of life.
  • Relational: There is a sense of social connectedness with others and willingness to engage with others.
  • Emotional: How to cope with and feel negative emotions and the ability to regulate ourselves.


Resilient people are more likely to …

  • Be successful in their academic/work and personal lives
  • Oppose setbacks with positive action
  • Ask for help and support when they need it.
  • Take time to stop and provide themselves s with self-care and prioritize themselves.
  • Maintain positive healthy relationships with others
  • Have a positive sense of purpose and goals for the future

Resiliency cannot be referred to as a trampoline where you are feeling down and can just bounce and feel better in the next moment, as the term bounce back might infer. It’s more like hiking a difficult mountain. It’s not easy, it takes time to practice, and sometimes you might reach a few setbacks. Eventually, you will make your way down the path and be able to see how resilient you really are.


Factors to Build Resilience


Building resilience is personalized to the individual. A combination of factors attribute to one’s ability to face adversity, but many studies suggest some common factors can attribute to higher resiliency.


  • Identifying social supports in times of crisis can support resiliency in individuals
  • A positive relationship with one’s self and higher self-esteem
  • Positive and healthy coping skills and problem-solving skills can keep someone from utilizing maladaptive coping skills such as substance use
  • Emotional Regulation skills gives someone the ability to manage overwhelming and distressing emotions by accepting them and working through them
  • Positive communication skills can help someone ask for help when they need it and utilize resources and supports.
  • Find meaning in your situations. Making sense of what’s going on can be helpful.


Building resiliency doesn’t mean that the hardships automatically go away or that you don’t care about what’s going on. It’s that it makes the load a little lighter and easier to carry so you can move through it effectively and healthily. You don’t have to face things on your own, and asking for help or support can be a crucial part of resiliency as well.


It’s hard to face things when it feels like things are out of your control. Try to face each challenge and problem one step at a time, no matter how small the steps may be. Planning each step to challenge adversity can help you gain control over the things you can, build your resiliency, and give you the tools you need for the next time you need to climb a seemingly impossible mountain.






A psychologist in Palm Beach County can help you understand yourself and your boundaries. We offer counseling in Palm Beach Gardens and counseling in Jupiter including child psychologist Jupiter and child therapist West Palm Beach.

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