4 Resilience-Building Habits

Resilience is our ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. It involves being flexible, bouncing back from stress, as well as growing and learning from challenges. Much of resilience has to do with our daily habits.


The importance of sleep cannot be understated. For most adults, that means somewhere between seven and nine hours a night. People who chronically get less than seven hours per night are at higher risk for mood problems, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, stroke, car accidents, and infection. For young people, sleep is vital for growth and development. During sleep our brains form new neural connections essential to learning and memory. People who get regular sleep have better cognitive function (attention, memory, etc.), and some researchers even think that sleep could be a protective factor against dementia and memory loss later in life. If you’re one of the many people who struggle with poor sleep or feeling tired, see your doctor.


Positive relationships and social support are crucial to our individual and collective well-being. Psychologist Abraham Maslow called these “love and belonging” needs. Studies show that happily married people tend to live longer than single people, and that people with close, long-term friendships are happier. Pets have been shown to enhance our emotional and physical well-being. Try to connect in-person as much as possible, rather than just digitally. Surround yourself with people who are kind and trustworthy. If connecting with others is difficult because of trauma, social anxiety, or other factors, meet with a licensed mental health professional so that you can overcome these barriers and meet your relationship needs.


By “movement” I mean regular physical exercise as well as movement toward your goals. Exercise doesn’t have to mean intense workouts at the gym or running miles every day. When it comes to exercise and goals, anything is better than nothing, and incremental-but-regular is better than intense-but-rare. Go on a short walk every day. Do ten minutes of yoga or mindfulness, guided by YouTube. Get a standing desk. Better yet, combine movement with socializing (such as meeting a friend to walk together weekly) to help motivate you and keep yourself accountable. Set goals that are achievable and realistic rather than trying to force a major change overnight. For example, if you’d like to cut back on your sugar intake, replace your favorite treats with healthier alternatives rather than trying to cut sugar from your diet altogether. If you’re struggling with an addiction, seek help from a licensed substance abuse counselor or a 12-step program.


Human beings need to feel a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives. We yearn to become the best version of ourselves. This could come from belonging to a religious community, practicing some form of spirituality, or just having a personal philosophy or mission that guides our actions at work and at home. If you’re feeling a lack of meaning or direction in your life, think about what you enjoy and what you’re good at. Recall your favorite memories and think about how to make new ones. Find a way to contribute, however small. For example, try volunteering, advocating for causes you care about, donating to charity, or cleaning up litter in your neighborhood. Your presence matters. If you’re having a difficult time believing that, seek out a licensed mental health professional. If you’re having suicidal thoughts, call the national hotline at 988.


Our goal is to tackle tough mental health issues head on and to be the go-to resource for people that are struggling with depression, anxiety, and more.

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