Resilience is a word that is getting thrown around a lot. There is a common perception of resilience to mean that when we get knocked down we get back up and keep going. While this is certainly a part of resilience, even more important is having the tools to help you from getting knocked all the way down in the first place.

Life stressors can include relationship issues, health concerns, financial pressures, and more. Stress is a fact of life, but it’s not always bad. Stress can motivate us to be creative, learn more, or make healthy changes in our lives. Recognizing how we currently respond to stress and then choosing healthier responses in the future can help us build resilience. We don’t have to just try and survive adversity. With resilience, we can actually thrive through stressful times.

One way to build resilience is to have a plan.

The following chart shows how resilience can take you from merely surviving the tough times to thriving.

FROM SURVIVING, WHICH MAY INCLUDE

TO THRIVING, WHICH MAY INCLUDE

Being stressed

Recognizing your automatic responses to stress

Reacting in unhealthy ways to stressors

Choosing healthier responses

Denying or ignoring stressors

Recognizing and exploring your stressors

Isolation or one-sided relationships

Balancing your support network – those you help and those who provide help to you

Doing what you have always done even if it’s not working

Examining your options and making good decisions

Continually battling your personal weaknesses

Identifying and using your strengths

Resisting or feeling unable to make positive change

Committing to growing, learning, and thriving

Waiting until a crisis to find help

Ensuring that you are aware of potential resources

If you want to strengthen your own resilience, check out the complete Plan for Resilience.