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What is resilience? 

Resilience is defined as the ability to recover quickly from difficulties- basically the skill of bouncing back. Resilience is particularly important for rare disease patient groups as challenging circumstances such as health and limited resources can make everyday tasks harder and situations more uncertain. Although some people naturally have more resilience from different life experiences, it is not a fixed trait but rather a skill that can be worked on and developed and the following pages outline some ways of doing so.

Build a supportive environment? 

Build a supportive environment. Having people around you who will support you can help you to bounce back from setbacks faster as they will be there to help and support you through difficulties.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Resilience doesn’t have to mean toughing things out on your own. Ask for help and guidance from others and learn from their experiences as well as your own.

Deal with setbacks productively

Reflect on past setbacks. Think of the last time you faced a personal challenge, what emotions did it generate and how did you get through it? Did you overcome it, ask for help or give up? Reflecting on past experiences can help to understand what can be done better next time to get you back on your feet.

Try to view difficulties as challenges. Resilient people view difficulties as challenges and respond to them with action.  If you view problems as things with solutions rather than barriers to success you will be better equipped to deal with challenges in a constructive way.

Choose to take situations critically rather than personally. Often when we receive criticism or things go badly for us, we take it personally and think that we are not good enough and therefore should not bother.  However If you adapt to a more critical perspective on these things you are more likely to look at the concrete things you can change to do better next time. This means you stop viewing setbacks as a reflection on yourself but rather as an ordinary part of life that can be worked through and learnt from.

Be proactive at developing yourself

Self-awareness is key. It is important to know yourself, know your strengths and weaknesses, know what makes you feel down and what empowers you and builds you up. Work on your weaknesses and reward yourself with something that feels good. On days when you don’t feel up to it, don’t force it and work on things you know you are good at and can do well.

Be proactive. It is important to pre-empt and prepare for disasters with contingency plans but don’t let the fear of failure or problems stop you from proactively taking action and seeking new opportunities. Having resilience means you are more prepared to take risks and step out of your comfort zone as you know you will be ok if something doesn’t work out.

Celebrate failure. Things don’t always go to plan, but they can always be learnt from. Failing simply means you had the guts to try and that’s always a good thing.

Learn to deal with CRAP 

In his Ted Talk, ‘8 secrets of success’ the analyst Richard St John said that to be a resilient individual you had to learn to put up with CRAP: