6 Ways To Build Resilience: The Mental Equivalent of a Gym Workout


Mental toughness is the ability to remain positive and upbeat in challenging circumstances, rather than becoming dejected or despondent. It’s widely considered an essential component of personal well-being, with research suggesting that those who frequently display mental toughness are more successful in both their personal and professional lives. Resilience is a component of mental toughness; it’s the ability to bounce back from difficult situations and stressors, rather than crumbling under pressure.

The first step to building resilience is to take responsibility for who you are and for your life. If you’re not willing to do that, stop wasting your time reading this letter. The essence of responsibility is the acceptance of the consequences – good and bad – of your actions.

Eric Greitens

Although we all experience ups and downs in life, increasing your resilience will not only make you less likely to buckle under strain but also help you recover faster from negative experiences. Here are 6 ways to build resilience so you emerge stronger after every setback.

1. Check Your Mindset

Your mental state has a significant impact on your resilience; it’s easy to see how being in a positive, upbeat mood will make you more likely to overcome challenges, while a negative mindset makes you more likely to crumble in the face of adversity. As such, it’s important to check your mindset and make sure it’s conducive to building resilience. When you’re setting goals for yourself, be sure to include elements of resilience. This will help you think about tough situations in a way that will help you get stronger. It’s also important to make sure your mindset is positive, not negative. To do this, identify the negative thoughts that creep into your head and learn how to replace them with more positive and helpful thoughts.

2. Breathe And Relax

Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.

Orpah Winfrey

When you’re under significant pressure, it’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you: you might feel angry, upset, hopeless, or stressed. Although it might seem like the best way to tackle these emotions is to let them out, doing so will actually make it significantly harder for you to remain resilient. You’re best off learning how to calm yourself down, rather than getting swept up in your emotions. To do this, practice the following:

Let go of stress – It’s easy to let your worries about the future, past mistakes, and daily irritations pile up, causing significant stress and making it more difficult for you to remain resilient. It’s important to regularly let go of these stresses both in the moment and during your down time, so they don’t impede your ability to remain resilient.

Breathe deeply – Breathing deeply has a number of stress-relieving benefits, including helping to calm your nervous system. When you’re feeling stressed, take a few moments to breathe deeply and you’ll likely notice your anxiety levels start to go down.

3. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity positively affects your mental health in a number of ways. It helps you to manage your stress levels, improves your mood, and gives you a burst of extra energy. It’s also a great way of releasing cortisol, the hormone responsible for helping your body recover from stressful situations. While it’s easy to assume that you need to be sweating your way through an intense workout every day in order to reap these benefits, this is far from the truth. Even just taking a short walk each day will go a long way towards mentally preparing you for the bumps in the road that daily life will inevitably throw at you.

4. Confront Your Fears

When we let our fears fester, they often grow bigger and more intimidating, making them increasingly difficult to tackle. Although it’s important to avoid recklessly throwing yourself in harm’s way, it’s also important to confront your fears as early as possible. To do this, try to break down your fears into smaller chunks that are easier to tackle. This might mean going skydiving on your next vacation, rather than waiting until retirement to finally conquer your fear of heights.

5. Celebrate Successes

When the going gets tough, it’s easy to become so focused on moving past current problems that you forget to celebrate your past successes. This is a mistake, as it can lead to feelings of negativity and hopelessness, which will definitely make it more difficult for you to remain resilient. To make sure you’re regularly celebrating your past successes, try to implement the following:

6. Think about your wins

Reflecting is a good way to start figuring out how much time and effort you put into a task or goal, no matter how big or small. Take some time to think about what you’ve done when you reach a goal or finish a big task. Then ask yourself the following:

  • What did I like the most about this?
  • What problems did I face, and how did I get past them?
  • What did I do well?
  • Which of my strengths did I use?

Reward yourself

Another way to celebrate your success is to do something nice for yourself! There are many ways to treat and reward yourself. Your body needs rest after you stay up all night to meet a deadline. If you get a promotion at work, you might want to plan a game night with your friends. You might want to cook your favourite meal for yourself. You might need to recharge by taking a break from your phone or computer and going outside. No matter what it is, giving yourself a reward is a good way to celebrate.

Express gratitude.

Gratitude helps you keep things in perspective when you’re in the middle of the hardest parts of working toward a goal. It also lets you show how proud you are of your hard work when you finish a task. Make a list of the things you’re grateful for about the task that helped you finish it. List the things that led to your success, think about how hard you worked, and give credit to those who helped you. Thank the people who helped you on your journey by giving them small gifts or notes you wrote by hand.


Keeping a journal or writing down your answers to the questions above can help you think about your efforts and keep track of what you’ve done. Another journaling prompt that can help you celebrate your success is “In completing and achieving [insert task, goal, or accomplishment here], I am most proud of…” and then listing your efforts and strengths from this experience. Taking just 5 minutes to think about things and write them down will help you get ready for future goals, tasks, and projects.

Tell Someone

No matter how big or small your wins or accomplishments are, you should tell other people about them. Call or text a friend, member of your family, or your Coach to tell them about your success. If someone helped you get where you are now, make sure to let them know and thank them. Your CoFo Coach is proud of you, your hard work, and your successes.

6. Learn From Mistakes

Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.

John Dewey

Mistakes are an inevitable part of life, and there’s little sense in beating yourself up over them. However, it’s important to learn from them so that you don’t make them again in the future. Making mistakes and taking wrong turns along the way helps us become more resilient. To do this, make sure to regularly reflect on your past mistakes and determine what you’ve learned from them. Regularly reflecting on your past mistakes will help you to avoid making them again and will also help you to make better choices in the present.