Resilience: A Skill that Can Be Learned (Part 1)

Resilience (or flexibility and toughness) is a skill that can be used to bounce back from stressful situations and to respond to life’s challenges. The United States Army Reserve developed a Resilience Training Program based on research about how to improve resilience. Designed at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, the program is called Master Resilience Training Skills. Army service members are required to dedicate 24 hours to studying this curriculum, which can benefit anyone—including our children.


Check out this video about building up your resilience against shame.

A student we know writes, “I recently had an experience in which I could use some of the skills they teach in resiliency training. A few weeks ago, I failed a big Physics exam. I was so upset and I started to catastrophize (or believing something is far worse than it actually is) and become concerned I wouldn’t do well in the course at all! I stopped to take a moment to look at all the evidence:

  • It was one exam
  • There were more opportunities to do well in the class, and
  • I could still go back and learn the material I didn’t understand!

“I avoided the thinking traps I was letting myself fall into earlier and put the situation into perspective. I practiced problem solving by going back and learning the material, going to my teacher for additional help outside of class, and studying very hard for the next exam. I set a goal for myself that I was going to do better on the next test. On the next exam, I got a 100 percent!

“Now I’m glad I didn’t do quite as well on the first test because it gave me the opportunity to strengthen my resilience. I think I’ll feel more prepared when I encounter another challenge. Resilience is not just something you are born with—we can learn and practice it and it can help us manage depression and anxiety.”

What are some ways you’ve seen your child demonstrate resilience? In what ways do you think your child might benefit from some training in resilience?

If you’re curious about the skills taught in the Master Resilience Training program, check out tomorrow’s post for more.

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