How do you respond to setbacks and defeat in life? Here’s a fab piece from Wow Beauty wellbeing contributor Sonia Greyson Newman on what it means to be resilient, how societies perceptions on this may be damaging and some tips on how to build up your resilience ‘muscle’ to help you grow emotionally stronger. 


What does it mean?

Psychology Today describes it this way:

“Resilience is that ineffable quality that allows some people to be knocked down by life and come back stronger than ever. Rather than letting failure overcome them and drain their resolve, they find a way to rise from the ashes.”

 It’s safe to say, resilience can be defined as the ability and tendency to “bounce back.”

Bounce back.“Bouncing back” is what we do when we face disappointment, defeat, and failure. However, instead of wallowing or letting things keep us down, we get back up and continue on with our lives.

Resilient people don’t just bounce back, you don’t want to be back to where you were, you want to have grown and be emotionally stronger than you were before.

We also have to be careful with the notion of being able to bounce back. Society can levy undue pressure to appear to have got it all together when internally you are struggling with a challenging situation. This can lead to issues with our mental health.  If you are experiencing mental and emotional difficulties, do seek help and assistance.

Resilience is like a muscle and not necessarily something that comes to us naturally.  Like any muscle, resilience grows when resistance is placed on it.

Let’s face it, life is not always sunshine and roses and it can deliver some hard punches along the way. Being resilient does not mean that you do not experience challenges and setbacks, It means that you know you can get through it and do not let them define you.

Ask yourself, what is the situation teaching you?

Decide what you can control within a given situation and what you cannot. We have to manage the art of not getting stressed out over things we have no control over.  And where you do have control over a situation, a good skill to develop is to seek a solution rather than dwell on the problem. You also have to be pragmatic, you may just have to walk away and try and find the lessons and opportunities for growth that were presented to you.

Something I believe in, you can either just go through life or you can ‘grow’ through life. Meaning, you can go through life feeling negative about what you have been dealt with or you can, although difficult, grow and become emotionally stronger.

Have a toolbox that you rely on to boost your emotional strength, resilience and general wellbeing:

  • Journal – Journalling is a good way to dig deep into your emotions, thoughts and to breakdown a challenging situation to find a solution.
  • Exercise and movement – When we exercise we release endorphins and happy hormones to help us feel better. Remember, exercise can mean walking, dancing etc.
  • Sleep – Getting enough sleep and sleep hygiene is essential for optimum emotional function.
  • Good nutrition – Is important not just for physical health but for our mental health too. We are what we eat.
  • Self-Love – Don’t beat yourself up or berate yourself when things are not going to plan. Be your greatest cheerleader and tell yourself how wonderful you are and that you will get through the challenge you face. Repeat positive affirmations on a regular basis.
  • Get outside in nature – Being outside in nature refuels us.
  • Gratitude – Being mindful of all the things you do have can change your perspective on life as a whole.
  • Meditation – Start a practice of meditation, deep breathing exercises of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT or Tapping) etc.
  • Effort – Make a concerted effort to create a life you want and feel happy living.
  • Form a positive outlook to life prior to negative incidents occurring.

We may not be able to control how life deals with us, but we can control how we deal with life. Developing resilience and a positive outlook can help when things get tough, protect your wellbeing and live a happy and fulfilled life.


Sonia Greyson Newman is an Award-winning Life Coach, Author, Blogger, Speaker

Sonia supports women to get unstuck, jumpstart their lives and get their sassy back so that they can live the life of their desires. Passionate about supporting women to live their best lives, Sonia is often invited to speak and contribute on a number of radio shows, speaking platforms and articles.