Tips to help build resilience

No matter how much you plan, or think positive thoughts, life will inevitably throw you a number of challenges. Physical, emotional, relationship, career, financial - whatever area of life you choose, you will face unexpected obstacles, some of which can seem insurmountable at the time, especially if they come in waves.

So what are the qualities or inner strengths that can help us become more resilient? To help us to recover or find a way to keep moving forward?

According to Resilience and Emotional Intelligence expert and author of books like 'Hardwiring Happiness' and more recently 'Resilient: Find your Inner Strength', Dr. Rick Hanson, PhD says there are certain mental resources that we are all capable of cultivating that will help make us more resilient, and these are all strengths that can be learned.

While you can't necessarily control or find certainty in the world, other people or even your own body, you can rely on these inner strengths, and you have the capacity to 'hard-wire' them into your own nervous system as you intentionally connect with and learn from experiences.

According to Hanson, we all have 3 basic needs, that date back to our ancestral beginnings - the need for safety, the need for satisfaction and the need for connection. And in those ancient times, we could fight, flee or hide in our cave, satisfy our hunger from time to time, and bond with other humans.

He suggests we can now meet our modern basic needs in 4 ways:

1. Recognising what's true

2. Resourcing ourselves

3. Regulating thoughts feelings and actions, and

4. Relating skillfully to others and the wider world

When we apply these 4 approaches to our 3 primal needs, then, according to Hanson, we can grow 12 key inner strengths which can lead us step by step on a kind of 'pathway' to lasting and inbuilt resilience:


1. Compassion - for yourself to begin with. Cultivate feelings of 'being on your own side' which can help you be kinder to yourself and others

2. Mindfulness - Cultivating present moment awareness without judgement

3. Learning - A life long journey, little by little


4. Grit - Dogged tough resourcefulness and endurance

5. Gratitude - Learn practices to give thanks - supports your physical health and helps you see the bigger picture

6. Confidence - Value what you are and silence your inner critic


7. Calm - Learning how to relax and centre yourself, frequently

8. Motivation - Learning the distinction between 'like' and 'want/need' - how to desire without attaching

9. Intimacy - We all need to connect and belong while remaining autonomous