What Does Resilience Mean

What Does Resilience Mean & Why Does it Matter?

Does the word "resilience" have a whole new meaning to you in 2020? You're not the only one!

In fact, stress levels among Gen Z adults are at an all-time high in the United States. And it's no surprise with all of the new challenges we've faced this year.

On top of health issues, a number of other new stressors are more prevalent than ever. Americans are learning to deal with working from home, homeschooling, quarantine and isolation, and much more. Just turning on the news this year is enough to make anyone's head spin!

But with higher stress levels also comes a reminder of just how important it is to enhance our resilience to life's stressors. At the same time, it's a good reminder of how resilient we already are!

Before we get into exactly how being resilient can benefit you, let's talk about what it means in the first place.

What is resilience?

Think of resilience as your ability to recover from setbacks. The more resilient you are, the better and sooner you can "bounce back" from adversity.

Another way to think of it is being able to adapt to difficult circumstances. It doesn't necessarily mean you are able to change those circumstances, but you establish new ways of dealing with them.

This flexibility and adaptability can mean you experience less downtime after adversity. At the same time, it can also mean the mental and emotional effects of trauma and challenges are less extreme.

Resilience is a skill

That's not to say it means you're weak if you have a hard time coming back from these challenges. Rather, it's a nudge to work on this skill.

After all, resiliency really is just that–a skill!

And when you think of resilience, someone who is particularly skilled this way probably comes to mind. Maybe it's a personal friend or a public figure who has overcome tough circumstances.

You might also wonder why they seem to bounce back from these challenges while it's trickier for you.

While some of us are naturally more resilient than others, some people also spend time building this skill. We cover 10 powerful ways to do just that in this post, including embracing change, setting attainable goals, and surrounding yourself with good people.

There are also times in life where it's more evident your ability to be resilient could use some work, including:

  • During mental or physical health challenges
  • During significant life transitions, including the breakdown of relationships
  • Navigating unprecedented situations (including a global pandemic!)

Now that we know what resilience is and that it can be developed, let's talk about WHY it's important to do so.

The benefits of developing your resilience

Many of the benefits of developing your ability to be resilient have to do with stress. In turn, the ability to cope with stress is closely related to resilience.

That means many of the benefits of better managing your stress are the same as developing your resilience. Here are three of those benefits.


When you have the psychological strength to effectively cope with stress, the benefits can extend far beyond how you feel in this moment. In fact, this skill is associated with an increased lifespan!

It's true–studies show resilience is a major contributing factor to longevity for people of all ages. Further, those benefits are even greater as age increases!

According to the study: "Nonagenarians aged 94–98 with better resilience have a 43.1% higher likelihood of becoming a centenarian compared to nonagenarians with lower resilience." Pretty impressive, right?

And if a longer life isn't a good enough reason to work on this skill, let's look at a few others.

Improved mental health

Other studies on resilience show that it is closely associated with mental health. Those same studies suggest that a lack of resilience is associated with an increased need for psychosocial support during treatment for somatic illness.

While there is certainly no shame in needing additional support, it goes to show that developing your ability to be resilient can also mean you have better built-in coping mechanisms for the psychological effects of certain hardships.

That same study discusses Wagnild and Young’s Resilience Scale. This scale includes 25 items and a 7-point Likert-type scale and the items positively correlate with physical health, morale, and life satisfaction. They also negatively correlate with depression.

The scale uses these five characteristics that are then assessed using other sub scales:

  1. Purposeful life
  2. Perseverance
  3. Self-reliance
  4. Equanimity
  5. Existential aloneness

To see this scale and fill it out for yourself, visit this link.

Enhanced overall well-being

Last but not least, being more resilient can also mean your overall well-being benefits too!

Those who are more resilient tend to have a more positive outlook on life. And with that positive outlook can come things like less stress, better sleep, and a brighter mood. Not to mention, you just feel better!

And improved well-being and the ability to overcome life's challenges come with many of the same benefits. When your well-being is improved, your resiliency tends to follow suit and vice versa.

If this year has shown us anything, it's that we have the ability to adapt, even when the circumstances are far from ideal. But when we give ourselves the tools to adapt with more ease, we will experience benefits far beyond feeling better in the moment.

As we work hard to stay in good physical health, it's equally important to care for our mental health and well-being, including working on our ability to be resilient!

Vagus nerve stimulation is a useful tool that more and more people are choosing to promote their well-being and building their resilience at the same time.

Are you interested in learning more about the role Xen by Neuvana headphones can play in helping you be more resilient? Don't miss this post on how tuning into your body can promote resilience. Or, to learn more about the science behind vagus nerve stimulation, click here.

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