Stress Management Management Techniques How to Cope With Stress and Become More Resilient By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD Twitter Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. Learn about our editorial process Updated on November 19, 2019 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Carly Snyder, MD Medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Klaus Vedfelt/Taxi/Getty Images Emotional resilience is partially inborn, but it can (and should) be learned and developed. If you’d like to be able to handle life’s challenges (both major and minor) with greater ease, to grow from adversity, and to turn potentially negative events into positive ones, the following steps can help you to become more resilient to stress. Develop the Right Attitude Resilient people tend to view life’s difficulties as challenges and respond accordingly with action, rather than with fear, self-pity, blame or a "victim mentality." While life can be very challenging, an important step in becoming more resilient is to develop positive self-talk and to remind yourself that you are strong and can grow stronger and wiser as you handle life’s challenges. Become Aware Part of resilience is emotional awareness; it’s important to understand what you’re feeling and why. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed with their emotions, and this frightens and immobilizes them. Knowing why you feel upset can provide valuable information about what needs to change in your life. It’s also important to do research on how to meet the challenges you face. Maintaining a journal can help you explore your inner world and come up with a plan of action. Develop an Internal Locus of Control Resilient people believe that they’re in control of their lives, and it’s true: while we can’t control our circumstances, we can control how we respond to those circumstances, and that makes a big difference in our attitudes and in the course our lives take. Fortunately, you can develop an internal locus of control. Cultivate Optimism Being an optimist is more than looking on the bright side (though that helps). It’s a way of viewing the world where you maximize your strengths and accomplishments and minimize your weaknesses and setbacks. Developing a more optimistic world view can help you become more resilient. Rally Social Support While we ultimately face our own challenges, a supportive friend or group of friends can help lighten the load. Those with strong networks of social support tend to stay healthier and happier throughout life and tend to cope well with stress. Conversely, those with little support may find themselves more vulnerable, and those with conflicted and unsupportive relationships tend to fare even worse. Maintain Your Sense of Humor If you’re able to laugh at life’s frustrations, you can have increased immunity, if you will, to stress and adversity. Those with a sense of humor about life tend to experience life as less stressful, are able to bond with others during difficult times, and experience the numerous benefits of laughter. If you can take a step back from difficult situations long enough to maintain your sense of humor, you will be more resilient, too. Exercise Exercise has been correlated with stronger levels of resilience. This may be due to the effects of endorphins on one's mood, or the physical health benefits to those who exercise, or both. Regardless, adding a regular exercise habit to your lifestyle can benefit you in more ways than one. Get in Touch With Your Spiritual Side Studies have shown that those who are more spiritual tend to be more resilient as well. This doesn't mean that you can't be resilient if you are atheist or agnostic. But if you are open to it, reconnecting or strengthening your connection to your spiritual side can provide you with strength. Note, this means different things to different people. That could mean meditation or yoga to connect with yourself, going on a quiet and reflective walk in the park, or dedicating yourself to another ritual in your life. Don’t Give Up While many people know of coping strategies that can help with stress, as with diets and exercise programs, the most successful individuals are those who maintain the effort for the long term. Don’t give up on your situation; don’t stop working toward getting through it. Trust the process. Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Bonanno GA, Galea S, Bucciarelli A, Vlahov D. What Predicts Psychological Resilience after Disaster? The Role of Demographics, Resources, and Life Stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. October 2007. Southwick SM, Vythilingam M, Charney DS. The Psychobiology of Depression and Resilience to Stress. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2005. Bonanno GA, Galea S, Bucciarelli A, Vlahov D. What Predicts Psychological Resilience after Disaster? The Role of Demographics, Resources, and Life Stress. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. October 2007. Southwick SM, Vythilingam M, Charney DS. The Psychobiology of Depression and Resilience to Stress. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2005. By Elizabeth Scott, PhD Elizabeth Scott, PhD is an author, workshop leader, educator, and award-winning blogger on stress management, positive psychology, relationships, and emotional wellbeing. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Stress Management Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.