Factors that Help Build Resilience to Cope with Tough Times

By Jude Wall, Public Health Nurse | Posted: Friday April 17, 2020

What is Resilience? Resilience is the way we cope with, and then adapt to, new situations that are difficult or challenging for us. Your levels of resilience will reflect your personality, background and unique experiences. It involves thoughts, perspectives, actions and behaviours that can be learned and developed over time. Although resilient people will still get stressed and distressed at times (hello, human), it will be easier for them to manage and to cope with whatever life throws their way

Developing strengths in the following areas will help build resilience:


• The ability to make positive friendships and keep friends. 

Support Circle 

• Understanding it is okay to get support from others. 

• Can identify who they can go to for help and support. Including family, whānau, friends, professionals, or other caring adults.

• Know how to give help and support to others, as well as accept it. 


• Feel positive about self. 

• Good self-esteem and confidence in own abilities. 

Sense of Competence

• Able to identify own abilities, skills, talents, and special interests.

 Life Skills 

• Able to problem solve and make decisions

• Communication skills 

• Self-control – able to manage strong feelings and impulses

• Assertiveness (ability to stick up for yourself) 


• Able to adjust to change. 


• Use creative ways to express thoughts and emotions. 

• Can find creative solutions when problems arise. 

Sense of Humour 

• Use humour to laugh at things and see the brighter side of life. 

• Ability to put things into perspective. 


• Give things a go and to keep trying. 

• Reflect on and learn from set-backs and keep going. 

Self Care 

• Actively working to care for own needs. 

• Building strength and resources through nutrition, rest, sleep, exercise, stress relief. 


• What events or situations have they been hard for you before? How have they affected you? 

• What was helpful at that time and why? 

• What was unhelpful and why? 

• What people were in your support circle? What role did they play? 

• What did you learn about yourself and others that will be helpful to know in the future? 

• What obstacles in the past have you managed well and why? 

• If you had to remind yourself of a few key ideas when times get tough, to help you to be positive and hopeful, what would they be?