9 Power Tools To Help You Build Resilience In The Face Of Adversity

Because there is always a way through difficulty.


Megan Flemmit |

Hands up if 2020 is not turning out the way you expected. To say COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the work of life would be putting it mildly. We’ve all been affected to some degree. Some have lost people close to them, while others have lost their jobs.

Getting up and starting over after experiencing hardship is tough enough without the threat of the pandemic staring us straight in the face. But there are tools out there to help you build resilience during difficult times. As the American Psychological Association states: “While these adverse events, much like rough river waters, are certainly painful and difficult, they don’t have to determine the outcome of your life. There are many aspects of your life you can control, modify and grow with.”

Related: 11 Questions About The Coronavirus And Your Mental Health, Answered By A Psychologist

We all process grief and hardship in different ways. It’s why we’ve gathered this wide range of books, podcasts and Ted Talks to help you build regardless of your circumstance.

1. Podcasts

1. The Imperfects

The Resilience Project works with schools in Australia to offer them practical and positive mental health strategies to build resilience and happiness. Their podcast, titled ‘The Imperfects’ delves deep into the lives of well-known Australian personalities. Hosted by Hugh van Cuylenburg and Ryan Shelton, the two interview different people about the struggles they faced and how they were able to overcome them. By listening to these stories you’ll realise that we’re all imperfect. And while there’s isn’t a solution that will work for everyone, it’s good to be reminded that we all struggle.

Listen on Spotify Podcasts.

2. Resilience Unravelled

Life is messy and complicated. This pandemic has confirmed that. In this podcast, Dr Russell Thackerey speaks to a wide range of people about the difficulties they’ve faced over the years and how they managed to overcome it. From a radio producer who developed MS to a former substance abuse addict who overcame addiction to help others with theirs. Beyond being inspirational these stories show that there’s more than one way to make it through adversity.

Listen to it here.

3. Being Well Podcast: Introducing Resilience

In the first episode of season two of the Being Well Podcast, Dr Rick Hanson discusses exactly what resilience means. He discusses the key challenges people face and how you can change your brain for the better. He also looks at the difference between resilience positive thinking and why we tend to about negative impacts instead of positive ones.

Listen to it here.

Related: 7 Podcasts You NEED To Listen To If You’re Having Trouble Reaching Your Fitness Goals

2. Ted Talks

4. The Three Secrets of Resilient People by Lucy Hone

Resilience expert Lucy Hone’s main quest in life was to take what she learnt from her scientific research and make it applicable to people. After an earthquake hit her hometown, Christchurch, she put her studies on hold to help her community make it through. But despite all her research, nothing could prepare for the personal tragedy she experienced a few years later. By using the principles she discovered during her research, she found that there was a way for her to rise up and move beyond her grief. In this talk, she delves into what worked for her and how you can use those tools when you’re going through a hard time.

5. How Failure Cultivates Resilience by Raphael Rose

Researcher and Clinical Psychologist Raphael Rose has worked with space agency, NASA, over the years on stress and resilience. While NASA firmly believed that failure is not an option, Rose says that failure is a requirement in building resilience. He says that bouncing back from trials and setups not only builds resilience, but enriches our lives. In this talk he explains the importance of learning from our mistakes and outlines how leaning into our setbacks will teach us how to value what’s good in life.

6. Resilience, The Up Side of Down by David Donaldson

“We are complex and adaptive beings, constantly growing and evolving,” says David Donaldson. In his talk, Donaldson digs into the neuroscience behind resilience, looking at which parts of our brain are involved when we build resilience.

“Sometimes we’re up for a challenge and other times we aren’t,” he explains. He shares that it’s precisely our complexity as humans that enable us to overcome adversity in some circumstances, while struggling in others. He also shares his own personal stories about how he built resilience, sharing that it’s something that takes many of us a lifetime to build.

Related: Use These 4 Mindfulness Apps If You Can’t Get Rid Of Your Anxious Thoughts

3. Books

7. The Stress Code by Richard Sutton

If there’s one thing that’s been consistent about this pandemic, it’s the constant stress of having to deal with all the uncertainty. Research has shown how constant stress can negatively affect our health. In this book, Richard Sutton, discusses coping mechanisms to deal with everyday stressors and how to build resilience by harnessing stress as a force of good.

Buy it here.

8. Unbeatable Mind by Mark Divine

“None of us can get where we’re going alone,” says Mark Divine. It’s also true that none of us can get through hard times by ourselves. Using the wisdom he’s learnt over the years from all of his mentors, Mark’s written this book to help other facing adversity and show them how to build resilience. It’s filled with tools to help you develop mental clarity when making difficult decisions under pressure as well helping you build an awareness of your inner-self.

Buy it here.

9. Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back by Andrew Zolli and Ann Marie Healy

While most of us question how to bounce back after facing adversity, in this book authors Andrew and Ann delve into why we do.  They question what part of human nature allows us to move on and overcome adversity. By looking at situations all over the world, the authors discover why and how we’re able to face tough times and come out stronger.

Buy it here.

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