Strengthening Resilience: Navigating Unpredictable Challenges

Change is constant and we face unprecedented, unpredictable challenges, the ability to navigate such circumstances is paramount….

In a world where change is constant and we face unprecedented, unpredictable challenges, the ability to navigate such circumstances is paramount. Cultivating a strong sense of resilience is an essential skill that can serve as a protective factor to manage change, challenge and adversity. By definition, “resilience refers to both the process and the outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences” (APA).

Strengthening resilience is not merely about ‘bouncing back’, it involves behaviours, thoughts and actions that can be learned and developed. In this article, we highlight various strategies, mindset shifts and practices that can support development of this indispensable quality.

woman climbed a mountain after strengthening resilience


Maintaining a positive outlook that maintains hopeful can enable one to expect good things to happen. It can help keep perspective contributes positively to promoting mental well-being.

Support systems

Humans are commonly referred to as ‘social beings’, where connection with others is an inherent and fundamental aspect that shapes individual lives and broader societies. Through connections with others, individuals can find meaning, purpose, and identity. Within this, two aspects can be highlighted (1) being able to ask for help when needed, and (2) assisting others in times of need. Surrounding oneself with a supportive network is a beneficial strategy in resilience.

Growth mindset

A Growth Mindset is where people believe that they can develop their abilities and skills through hard work and effort. It fosters a learning culture and resilient attitude. Shifts in thinking go from “failure means I can’t do it” to “failure means I’m learning” and “I don’t like challenges” to “I embrace challenges as a chance to grow”. These three suggestions can support the development of a growth mindset: (1) valuing the process over the result, (2) acknowledging and embracing weaknesses (3) replacing the word ‘failing’ with the word ‘learning’.


“We cannot always control everything that happens to us in this life, but we can control how we respond” (Lional Kendrick). This shift may be in viewing highly stressful events as challenges rather than insurmountable problems. Looking beyond the present to how future conditions may be better, can help keep a positive perspective.

Finding positive ways to reduce stress

Emotional regulation and stress management are valuable skills that can enable maintaining composure and making informed decisions even amid intense emotions. Healthy coping mechanisms to maintain stress levels include practicing mindfulness, physical exercise, going for a short walk, getting quality sleep, sharing with trusted confidants, and breathing techniques.


Strengthening confidence in one’s abilities to solve problems and cope with stresses can build resilience. This can show up through nurturing a positive view of oneself, trusting one’s instincts and cultivating a sense of empowerment.

Developing resilience is an ongoing process of adaptation, growth, learning and overcoming adversity. Although multi-faceted, cultivating a growth mindset, keeping perspective, remaining optimistic, and having a strong support network are a few ways that resilience can be strengthened. Cultivating the valuable skill of resilience can support one to effectively navigate the complexities of an ever-changing environment.




van Zyl

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