Ten steps to build Resilience

The concept of resilience first appeared in 1970, based on research in psychiatry and psychology on the impact of risk factors, on children growing up in adverse socio-economic conditions (e.g. poverty, abuse, mental illness of parents), and who were at high risk of developing psychopathology (Lakioti, 2011). In these studies, it was observed by several researchers that about 1/3 of these children were able, despite the negative circumstances, to grow normally and not develop psychopathology in adulthood (Masten & Wright, 2010; Lakioti, 2011).

Therefore, this term is directly related to various forms of adversity or crisis and reflects the ability of the individual to recover from emotionally difficult or traumatic experiences, while adapting in a flexible and functional way to the demands of stressful events. Forms of adversity relate either to permanent difficulties in which a person will be born and raised (e.g., poverty and adverse family environment), or to unexpected and painful traumatic events (e.g., illness, accidents, loss of loved ones; Stalikas et al., 2008).

After a stressful and negative event, our thoughts and feelings are intensely unpleasant and put us in a state of anxiety and sadness. In order to be able to recover, we need to mobilize our resilience, which can be based on the following ten smaller steps:

  1. Humour: “I will get over it laughing. I will be with people who make me laugh. I will make fun of myself and move on.”
  2. Reconstruction of perfectionism and anxiety: “I will not let it ruin my relationships. There are people around me who care about me and I care about them and that is the important thing.”
  3. Distraction: “Let me take a break. I need to turn my attention elsewhere.”
  4. Seek help: “I need to talk to someone I trust and know can help me.”
  5. Hope: “I know it’s difficult, but I can also find positives.”
  6. Positive reflection: “I have learned something through this and I will continue to learn through my experiences.”
  7. Acceptance: “Now it is done. Let’s see what happens.”
  8. A different perspective: “It’s not the end of the world. There are other things I can focus on.”
  9. Flexibility of thought: “This thought of mine, although unpleasant, seems right. But I do not get stuck, there are other things to think about.”
  10. Action: “What can I do about it? “I can definitely help myself in some way.”


Micaella Kourouna
Licensed Clinical Psychologist (R.No. 780)



Λακιώτη, Α. (2011). Η έννοια της ψυχικής ανθεκτικότητας. Στο Α. Σταλίκας και Π. Μυτσκίδου (επιμ.). Εισαγωγή στη θετική ψυχολογία, 117-136.

Σταλίκας, Α., Κουδιγκέλη, Φ., & Δημητριάδου, Ε. (2008). Θετικά Συναισθήματα, Ψυχολογική Ανθεκτικότητα και Μάθηση. Στο Ανάπτυξη της συναισθηματικής Νοημοσύνης μέσα από το Συνεργατική Μάθηση, Κυπριακός Σύνδεσμος Συνεργατικής Μάθησης.