What is Resilience

Resilience is the positive way in which we adapt to the adverse challenges we face in life. 

It is more than ‘bouncing back’ when knocked down, it is the ability to adapt to hardship and to build a reservoir of protective factors to counterbalance any risks we might face. 

Resilience building not only applies to the individual it also applies to families, relationships and the wider system, be it schools or communities. 


What Might Being Resilient Look Like? 

In individuals, being resilient might include: 

  • Developing a range of different ways of thinking which include having a positive, ‘give things a go’ attitude and to be prepared to change the direction of thinking if needed, rather than being stuck on one way 
  • The ability to identify, regulate and express emotions 
  • The ability to learn from failure and other setbacks 
  • `Grit’ (Duckworth, 2007) which is described as ‘perseverance and passion for long term goals’ 

Some family resilience factors include: 

  • A focus on providing stability and safety 
  • The provision of positive attachments 
  • Positive regard and recognition 
  • Adapting to shared loss or adversity 

Some community resilience factors include: 

  •  A strong sense of connection through acceptance and unity 
  •  A focus on safety 

Providing tools to enable young people to deal with adversity and a focus on young people who may experience more risk factors is a priority for stem4. 

Some of the challenges we face might be quite specific. For example many young people tell us that they find school and the many elements they have to face – friendships, learning, exams, homework, for example, stressful. 

Building resilience to deal with this at an individual level may be called ‘academic resilience.’ Academic resilience also has a different meaning when applied to schools and education institutions since it then becomes about providing the best environment and support to meet academic challenges. 

Sometimes we also need to build a resilience to distractions and temptations so that we can say no or regulate our behaviour to support ourselves. Digital resilience is an important element in protecting excess or damaging behaviour.