Linda Lewis Griffith

Are you resilient? 8 ways to know

Saint Paul Pioneer Press

Patrick Downes and Adrianne Haslet both sustained horrific injuries in the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb blasts. Yet they returned to run the race using prosthetic limbs in 2016.

Patrick and Adrianne define resilience — the emotional strength to cope with and recover from life-altering events.

People with resilience are inspirational. They make us ask ourselves, “How did they do it?”

We secretly wonder whether we’d show the same determination if we’d been in their unfortunate shoes.

While people differ greatly in their ability to respond to crises, resilient people tend to demonstrate specific psychological characteristics.

For instance, they have a positive view of themselves and their abilities. They are able to make and follow through with plans. They feel empowered to successfully change their situations.

Resilient people also have good communication skills and are able to express what they want and feel.

They see themselves as fighters rather than victims. They can manage strong feelings and impulses. And they feel supported by friends and loved ones.

Even if we’re not in crisis, resilience plays an important role in our lives.

It helps protect us from depression and anxiety. It decreases the effects of past psychological trauma, such as child abuse or being bullied.

It also has a positive impact on our health, decreasing stress and worry and promoting healthy aging.

Linda Lewis Griffith is a local marriage and family therapist. For information or to contact her, visit

Wondering if you’re resilient? Gauge yourself

  • Once I set goals for myself, I’m good at reaching them.
  • I feel my life has meaning.
  • When something bad happens, I tell myself, “Don’t worry. I can get through this.”
  • I have some rock-solid friends I can rely on.
  • If I’m overwhelmed, I can usually figure out why and do something about it.
  • I have a belief system that sustains me.
  • I’m able to laugh when things get tough around me.
  • I can adapt to change.

If six or more of these statements accurately describe you, then your resilience is an asset. If five or fewer were applicable, you could use some pointers.

Here’s how to become more resilient

  • Find a sense of purpose. Create a reason to get up in the morning. For instance, you may want to regain your health so you can watch a grandchild grow up.
  • Develop a plan. Decide what your new life will look like, then create a map for making it happen.
  • Focus on your strengths. You have lots to offer the world. Decide where you can shine.
  • Overcome obstacles. View roadblocks as challenges instead of reasons to throw in the towel.
  • Embrace change. Allow the events of your life to direct you in new, uncharted ways.
  • Develop a social network. Share your experiences with others. Listen to their feedback. Revel in their attention and support.
  • Take care of yourself. Resilience requires energy. Keep yourself fueled by eating healthy meals, getting adequate rest and exercising regularly.
  • Be optimistic. Negative thoughts sap your mental and physical strength. Stop them in their tracks when they crop up.