5 Key Characteristics of a Resilient Person

We all have that one friend or colleague that never seems to get knocked down by life, or at least never stays down long. Maybe we are that person. 

They don’t seem to complain and aren’t known for giving up on anything. They look at difficulties as learning opportunities and always appear to be in control of their lives. 

They seem stronger every time you see them. What is it that lets them resist so many of life’s curveballs? Let’s find out just what makes up a resilient individual.

1| Perspective

Every time we deal with hardship, we get to choose how we interpret its meaning. With enough hardship, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that we are meant to suffer because of who we are, whereas others are just lucky. The truth is that resilient folks do not let suffering become any part of their identity, no matter how much life throws at them. 

It is a temporary part of their evolving story and often serves a higher purpose. Try your best to zoom out. Everything bad looks worse up close. Once we can get some time and distance from an event, it seems far less imposing. Recall an ordeal from childhood and how you thought it was the worst possible thing that could happen. 

Can you laugh at yourself now? Resilient people maintain that perspective in the heat of the moment. They are able to say: “I’ll laugh about this one day.”

2| Internal Regulation

Beneath our conscious mind, there is a world of sensations, emotions, and other subtle impulses running through our body and mind. We often ignore this information because it’s not immediately vital for our day-to-day functions. If we do this for too long or ignore an important signal, the results will be disastrous or drain us invisibly over time. 

Resilient individuals are tuned into this inner world. They can listen to their body’s subtle clues and shifting moods to figure out what is going on beneath the surface. They recognize when their responses are based on emotion, which enables them to get to the root of their unconscious reaction. 

Once they find it, they can reprogram their response by weaving a new story into their minds. Over time, this allows them to develop an understanding of their internal patterns. If you can’t even see what’s going on inside yourself, how can you reprogram your own mind for more resilience?

3| Locus of Control

Psychologists sometimes talk about a concept called locus of control. Those with an internal locus of control believe they have agency and that events in their life are largely determined by their own actions. This is naturally opposed to people who believe that almost nothing they do impacts the outcome of a situation. 

Resilient individuals believe in their empowerment, and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You can’t really control everything in your environment, but there is an upper limit to the influence you can have, and resilient people live right near that limit.

4| Supportive social network

No matter what kind of problem you’re facing in life, social support will always make your situation easier to handle. Even the most resilient people falter, and doing it alone is always more challenging than having help. Just talking to someone about a problem is often enough to take most of the pressure off. 

You can also find new perspectives and solutions you may not have realized on your own. An extensive network is great, but having variety is vital. Different types of people accel at dealing with different kinds of problems. 

They’ve each gone through their own unique ordeals and can share insights and emotional support based on their varied experiences.

5| Problem solving

For some of us, when a crisis hits, our thinking becomes foggy and slow. We act on our instincts which may not always serve us. Those with resilience are capable of maintaining a clear mind when things get too intense. 

They focus on the problem and hold a sharp mind until a solution emerges. With this clarity, they notice details that are overlooked by others who are locked into a tunnel vision. Panic will lead us to worsen the problem, while those with resilient minds will step up as leaders in these moments.

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