Seven ways to improve your resilience

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do.” – Robert H. Schuller

We have undoubtedly been knocked by a tremendous blow. Hurricane Dorian visited our beautiful country and left massive destruction in its wake. One thing I know for sure is this: Hurricane Dorian, as with storms of all kinds, gave us the ability to test the presence of an all-important trait called resilience.

Resilience refers to how well you can deal with and bounce back from the difficulties of life.

It is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress; “bouncing back” from difficult experiences. Why do some people bounce back from adversity and misfortune? Why do others fall apart?

According to the book “The Resiliency Advantage”, “Highly resilient people are flexible, adapt to new circumstances quickly, and thrive in constant change. Most importantly, they expect to bounce back and feel confident that they will.”

Research has shown that while some people seem to come by resilience naturally, these behaviors can also be learned. listed 10 techniques you can focus on in order to foster your own resilience. I have listed my favorite 7 below. I trust that these keys would resonate in some way with those recently affected in storm Dorian.

1. Find a sense of purpose in your life. After her 13-year-old daughter was killed by a drunk driver who was freshly out of jail on bail for another hit-and-run drunk driving accident, Candace Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). Upset by the driver’s light sentence, Lightner decided to focus her energy on creating awareness of the dangers of drunk driving. “I promised myself on the day of Cari’s death that I would fight to make this needless homicide count for something positive in the years ahead.” In the face of crisis or tragedy, finding a sense of purpose can play an important role in your recovery. This might mean becoming involved in your community, cultivating your spirituality or participating in activities that are meaningful to you.

2. Be optimistic. Staying optimistic during dark periods can be difficult, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of resiliency. Positive thinking does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are temporary and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it’s important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.

3. Develop a strong social network. It’s important to have people you can confide in. Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one won’t make your troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, get support, receive positive feedback and come up with possible solutions to your problems.

4. Embrace change. Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilize these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

5. Nurture yourself. When you’re stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Focus on building your self-nurturance skills, even when you’re troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy. By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life’s challenges.

6. Establish goals. Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Brainstorm possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable steps.

7. Keep working on your skills. Resilience may take time to build, so don’t get discouraged if you still struggle to cope with problematic events. Everyone can learn to be resilient and it doesn’t involve any specific set of behaviors or actions. Resilience can vary dramatically from one person to the next.

As we face the months of recovery ahead, additional ways of strengthening resilience may be helpful. If any of these tips resonated with you and you would love to learn more, email me at

• Keshelle is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, corporate and business trainer and the chief executive officer of the Training Authority. She is the former executive director of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce, Chamber Institute and an internationally recognized speaker and author. She is the creator of popular personal and professional development programs including Excel School, The Dreamboard Party Experience, The Planners Retreat and more. She has helped thousands of people fulfill their vision, obtain mastery and become more productive in their lives. To comment on the article or join her list for free monthly training tips, email

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