Resilience: Why it Matters!

In a crazy week ahead of Spring Break that is full of stressors like exams, presentations and projects, this is a very timely topic to tackle.  The Career Center is talking about resilience which is the ability to effectively cope with difficult situations and bounce back from adversity.

All college students face setbacks: rejection, poor grades, friendship fallouts, etc. Failure and obstacles are a part of everyone’s life, no matter what you do. What’s key is how you respond to those challenges and setbacks. So why is it some people spiral into a depression or question their confidence and self-worth while others seem to take things in stride and persevere? It has to do with one’s outlook and ability to cope. And the best part is that resilience is a trait that can be learned and enhanced. So here are a few ways I which you can build upon your resilience.

1. Build positive relationships

Ever know some Debbie Downer that complains about everything and is a half glass empty type? Those people can weigh you down too! Supportive people boost your mood and energy and outlook on life so surround yourself with those positive types! Your support network has the greatest affect on your outlook and ability to become resilient.

2. Find meaning when facing difficulties

When faced with an obstacle or challenge, see it as an opportunity to learn more about yourself, what you value and how you respond to adversity. In a bad experience you can also try and recognize the silver lining of the situation. Often it’s through our failures, not successes, that we learn the most about ourselves. If you fail an exam, that is an opportunity to reflect. Maybe you recognize that you tend to procrastinate and cram before tests, so perhaps you decide to make some changes in your habits: attend office hours, join a study group and get more sleep before a test. Or maybe you didn’t get into the honor society you applied to. You can examine your motivations and expectations… there are other organizations you can join that have a strong reputation and opportunities for the service and leadership you want!

3. Have an optimistic mindset

It’s perfectly natural to have negative emotions and feel doubtful or disappointed. But you don’t want to succumb to those harmful thoughts, so it’s important to consciously manage difficult emotions. Try and focus on optimistic thoughts and envision a positive future. Resilient people experience setbacks but instead of being overcome with negative thoughts, they bounce back and shake off the negative experiences knowing they can try again and pursue a new path or goal.

Consider these steps as you learn to confidently face challenges and build your resiliency!