Factors of Resilience – 7 Pillars (Skills) to Master the Art of Resilience


“Mens sana in corpore sano” – is a Latin phrase usually translated as „a healthy mind in a healthy body.

Especially nowadays we should be more aware than ever how connected these two parts are. The last two years in particular have been challenging and stressful for most of us. And it’s no surprise that any kind of stress or crisis is a massive threat to our mental and physical health. A healthy level of resilience allows us to keep our balance.

The power of resilience makes sure that we don’t lose orientation during these times, it enables us to deal with this stress and to continue to maintain a positive and hopeful attitude.


Seven main factors influence our level of resilience. The model is also known as the seven pillars of resilience and illustrates the most important skills and factors for inner strength and resilience.

Resilient people know how to overcome challenges and how to cope with stress. Once we are aware of what’s necessary we can focus on improving and cultivating these skills to become more resilient.


What is the Meaning of Resilience? Definition of Emotional Resilience


Resilience can be imagined as the immune system of the psyche and mind. While some people have a naturally high level of emotional resilience, others must first learn and train this ability.

Resilient people are considered to be optimistic, solution-oriented, adaptable, and creative. They recover quickly from setbacks, know how to deal with stress and challenges, and turn problems into opportunities. People with high resilience are possibility thinkers and problem solvers.



Definition of Resilience in Psychology


Resilience (from Latin resilire ‘jump back’ ‘bounce’), also adaptability, is the process in which people react to problems and changes by adapting their behavior. This process includes:

  • Triggers that require resilience (e.g. trauma or distress),
  • Resources that promote resilience (e.g. self-confidence, positive attitude towards life, supportive social environment) and
  • Consequences (e.g. changes in behavior or attitudes).

Resilience can make an important contribution to an individual’s ability to recover or respond to challenges and change.


What is Psychological Resilience?


In simpler terms, psychological resilience exists in people who develop psychological and behavioral capabilities that allow them to remain calm during crises/chaos and to move on from the incident without long-term negative consequences.


7 Pillars Of Resilience – A well-known Resilience Concept


The 7 pillars of resilience include optimism, acceptance, solution orientation, breaking out of the victim mentality, a success network, planning for a positive future, and self-reflection.

Let’s take a closer look at each pillar:


Optimism – the glass is half full!


The first pillar of resilience is optimism. Optimistic people always try to see the good and positive sides of a situation. This positive attitude often leads to new ideas, solutions, and positive outcomes.

Optimists are convinced that crises and challenges are only temporary and will eventually be resolved. However, optimism does not mean living in a bubble and being blind to the truth.


There should always be a healthy balance between negative and positive possibilities and perspectives. It doesn’t mean to deny the existence of negative things but rather focus on the positive factors and use one’s energy to find solutions to a situation or problem.

While the glass is half empty for the pessimist, it is half full for the optimist.




Acceptance – Letting go of the Inner Perfectionist


„Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can change; and the wisdom to know the difference.“

Acceptance and letting go relieve stress and make our decisions easier. Many things that affect our lives are simply out of our hands. However, it is well within our sphere of influence how we perceive things and deal with them.

A barrier to this acceptance is often perfectionism. Many people who tend to be perfectionists are completely unaware of this fact They are masters of self-criticism, constantly feel the urge to do everything right, and feel responsible for everything that doesn’t go as planned. Here are 10 tips to help you overcome perfectionism and train to let go.

Resilience in the face of adversity:

Solution Orientation – Become a Possibility Thinker


The third factor of resilience is called solution orientation. Resilient people think about opportunities and solutions rather than problems.

During our life, we will inevitably be confronted with various challenges and crises that keep us awake at night. Resilient people cope better with such situations and have higher chances to find suitable solutions.

The Building Resilience and Managing Stress Toolkit includes a wonderful exercise that helps to become a possibility thinker and solution finder.


Break out of the victim mentality and take responsibility for your life


Another important factor for high resilience is breaking out of the victim mentality. Instead of being passive and feeling helpless, it’s time to step out of the comfort zone and start taking responsibility for one’s life.

We should stop blaming, stop complaining, and take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. We should intend to live in the present moment, use the power of intention and try to stay calm and confident when it gets tough.

One way to accomplish this is to train self-reflection and to challenge and change your attitudes and belief systems. A healthy sense of self-esteem and strong self-confidence also make it easier for us to take responsibility for our life.


A Strong Personal Network is another Factor of Resilience


The fifth factor of resilience includes building and expanding a strong and personal support network. The network could consist of the partner, friends, family members, and other people from our personal and professional environment.
We can turn to our personal network in times of need or crisis, where it will help us to bounce back from challenges and setbacks.

Strong relationships kick in where our capabilities end. It’s a system of giving, receiving, and sharing within a community of like-minded people.


Ideally, the members of our network have different skills that become helpful and useful in times of crisis and challenges.

The good feeling of not being alone automatically increases self-confidence and builds resilience in the event of emerging crises, stress, and challenges.

The exercise included in the Building Resilience Toolkit will allow you to analyze, nurture, and grow your personal support network.


Skills of Resilience: Planning for a Positive Future


Resilient people know that they can shape their future. They work consciously and actively towards their goals and a satisfying life.

Planning for a positive future includes setting (the right) goals and maintaining a good balance (work-life balance). Self-reflection is another essential building block for this pillar.


The Key Factor in Resilience is Self-Reflection and Introspection


The key factor in resilience is self-reflection and introspection. In addition to the mindful perception of one’s thoughts, feelings and actions, this also includes finding the answer to the question “Who am I?”.

What are my qualities, talents, skills, character traits, desires, and needs? How do I want to live and work and how can I achieve this?

Self-reflection can be learned with a little regular practice. It is the art of honestly and critically questioning your thoughts, feelings, and actions, drawing the right conclusions from them, and taking responsibility.


Regular self-reflection and introspection give us invaluable insights by making us aware of our actions, thought patterns, beliefs, strengths, and weaknesses. We recognize how and why we reacted and acted in a certain way in situations and can learn from these observations for the future.

Self-reflection is such an important factor for strong resilience because it helps to identify, understand and successfully cope with problems and challenges. These 11 exercises and tools for successful self-reflection will help to train it.



Three Quotes that Illustrate the Characteristics of Resilience


A crisis is a productive state. You just have to remove the bitter taste of disaster.”
Max Frisch


Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.
Henry Ford


What the caterpillar calls the end, the rest of the world calls a butterfly.
Lao Tse


Here’s a free resilience test pdf for you:

Seven Pillars of Resilience – Conclusion of a Powerful Resilience Model


The seven pillars of resilience illustrate the most important factors of a strong resilience.

However, the pillars or elements cannot be seen apart from each other. They are also not stiff and fixed like a pillar, but flexible and changeable. Regardless of the level of resilience, the individual factors can be trained, adapted, and improved throughout our entire life.


More about Building Resilience:


Building and Training Resilience: 13 Tips and Exercises You Need to Know

15 Impactful Worksheets & Exercises for Building Resilience, Inner Strength, and Managing Stress