Resilience - for teens
resilience; relationships; stress; trauma; emotional health; strength;
Everybody has different strengths and that’s what makes us all awesome. Everyone – and we mean everyone - has something that’s interesting and great about them. Working out what your something is can be the ticket to happiness. Coping with everything, keeping on going, and feeling strong is what resilience is all about.
Figure out what your strengths are right now.
The website Reachout has a lot of great information about strenghts, confidence and coping, and how to nuture yourself, in several sections:
Contents of this topic
What is resilience?
Resilience is a person's ability to cope with living in spite of stresses. We cannot always prevent things going wrong, but you can build strengths so that you are more able to successfully face challenges and setbacks. Some people not only face and overcome a difficult situation; they can even be strengthened by it.
Resilience is about coping with problems, and building strengths that protect and promote well-being. If people have a lot of adverse things happening in their lives there will always be some effect on their well-being, but we now know much more about the things that will help protect them.
In any group of young people who have faced big challenges or problems, there are some who grow up able to cope with living and caring for themselves and others who have long term difficulties.
What helps you to become resilient?
Where is it that you get your ‘power’?
- A caring and supportive family
- Caring friends who you can trust
- Being encouraged to try
- Setting yourself realistic goals and reaching them
- Being confident in your own abilities
- Being able to communicate with others
- Successfully using your problem-solving skills
- Managing strong feelings like anger.
How to build up your own resilience
If you have all these ‘power builders’, that’s great! But what if you don’t? You can still build up your own resilience and create the kind of caring support that everyone needs by:
- Getting connected. Make friends, get to know people, join in with teams, clubs and organisations. Talk to and help people and allow them to help you.
- Don’t give up. Everyone has to deal with a crisis from time to time. Remember that things will get better. It isn’t easy, but you do get through eventually.
- Change is here to stay – accept it! Of course, it’s unsettling when you feel comfortable with something, then it all changes. Try to see change as a chance to alter the future, not the end of the world as you know it!
- Get good at making realistic goals.
- Make long-term goals, then work out the steps you have to take to achieve them.
- Set these steps as your short-term goals, and work your way through all the short-term goals that will get you where you want to be.
- Remember that being realistic doesn’t mean accepting that things can't be better. As you reach each goal, you can aim higher.
- Face up to problems. Think about how you can solve them instead of wishing that they would go away.
- Learn from the bad times. Often people find that they have developed better skills, made new friends and got to know themselves better after they have gone through some crisis.
- Trust yourself. Develop your skills [eg. communication, problem solving, conflict resolving] and instincts, and then develop confidence in your ability to use them.
- Look after yourself. Exercise and eat well for a healthy body, and learn to relax.
- Get to know yourself. Some people do this by meditation or writing down their thoughts. It’s helpful to know what your opinions are, and also to reflect on how you handle life, what works for you and what doesn’t.
- Don’t turn every small set-back into a ‘10 act drama!’ Unless of course you are practising to be a stand-up comedian!
- Practise thinking positive thoughts. Always be hopeful of your ability to get through, and that things will improve.
How you can destroy your resilience
All you need to do to destroy your resilience is to look at all the ways in which you could build your resilience then do the opposite!
- Don’t connect with others, allow them to help you, care about yourself, develop skills, be positive, face up to problems or have confidence in yourself.
- Do put yourself down, give up, become a loner, neglect your body and mind, be miserable and unhappy.
Then, like in a video game you will be knocked out by every obstacle and without the ‘power builders’ you will be out of the game.
Learn, adapt and move on
We need resilience to cope with the challenges life throws at us. Looking at how you have managed and survived past events can help you become more resilient at managing future events.
- What were the bad times?
- How was I affected?
- Who helped me?
- Who did I help?
- Did I overcome obstacles and how did I do it?
- What did I learn that would help in future?
- What did I learn about myself?
Every time you face a crisis, or deal with a disappointment, or lose someone or something you love, you use your resilience to help you recover and move on with your life.
“Being a resilient person means sometimes being active and sometimes letting things go, knowing when to step forward and act, and knowing when to step back, relax and allow yourself and others to nurture your inner self.
Having good relationships with adults and peers, knowing how to keep yourself safe, building stress-busters into your life and getting involved in good stuff makes your life meaningful. It also gives you the inner strength or resilience to cope with whatever life throws at you.”
There are many topics in the Relationships category of this site which may help you work through problems and build your resilience.
Lots more info
Kids Helpline - telephone 1800 55 1800:
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor or other health professional.