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Building resilience

3-minute read

Resilience is the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life. It’s not always possible to prevent stressful or adverse situations, but you can strengthen your capacity to deal with these challenges.

What is resilience?

Resilience is your ability to cope with tough times by applying your inner strength and engaging support networks. Resilience can not only enable you to face difficult situations, but often provides an opportunity to further develop your coping skills.

Coping with challenges

Stress and setbacks are a part of life, and you can’t avoid them. A series of small challenges, or a traumatic situation, can be hard to deal with. If you know you can cope with adversity, that can give you the confidence to get through tough situations.

Coping strategies can enable you to deal with stress and maintain a sense of control in your life. There are many different ways of coping with stress and everyone is different, so it’s about finding something that works for you. Anything that is not harmful to your health and wellbeing could be worth a try, such as:

  • taking time out to relax
  • exercise or meditation
  • breaking a challenge down into small, achievable goals
  • celebrating achieving your goals
  • keeping a journal
  • thinking about the big picture.

Strengthening resilience

Resilience enables you to better cope with challenging situations, and helps with your mental wellbeing. You probably already have skills and support networks that help you be resilient. You can build these up even more, making it easier for you to cope with life.

You can build your resilience by:

  • knowing your strengths
  • building your self-esteem – have confidence in your abilities and the positive things in life
  • build healthy relationships
  • knowing when to ask for help
  • managing stress and anxiety levels
  • working on problem solving skills and coping strategies.

Where to get help

If you need help, talking to your doctor is a good place to start. If you’d like to find out more or talk to someone else, here are some organisations that can help:

  • SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) – call 1800 18 7263
  • beyondblue (anyone feeling depressed or anxious) – call 1300 22 4636 or chat online
  • Black Dog Institute (people affected by mood disorders) – online help
  • Lifeline (anyone having a personal crisis) – call 13 11 14 or chat online
  • Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) – call 1300 659 467


Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: October 2017

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