9 habits of people who stay strong, even when life doesn’t go to plan (according to psychology)

Life can be unpredictable, can’t it? One moment everything’s going according to plan, the next, it’s all topsy-turvy. What separates the resilient from the rest is how they handle these unexpected twists and turns.

Hi there, I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit. I’ve spent a lot of time studying psychology and how it impacts our daily lives. A key aspect I’ve noticed that sets resilient people apart is their habits.

In this article, I’m going to share with you nine habits of individuals who stay strong, no matter what life throws at them. These aren’t just random tips, but grounded in psychology.

Let’s dive in.

1) Embrace the unexpected

Life’s unpredictability can knock the best of us off our feet. But not those who are resilient.

In the face of uncertainty, these individuals don’t panic or retreat. Instead, they embrace the unexpected with open arms. They see every curveball as an opportunity to learn, grow, and adapt.

This is rooted in the psychological concept of cognitive flexibility – the ability to switch between thinking about different concepts or to think about multiple concepts simultaneously.

Resilient people are masters of cognitive flexibility. They understand that change is a part of life and rather than resisting it, they adapt and evolve.

So, next time life throws you a curveball, don’t duck. Instead, catch it, learn from it, and throw it back with more force. Remember, it’s not just about surviving the storm, but learning to dance in the rain.

This isn’t just a feel-good mantra; it’s a habit rooted in psychology that can help you stay strong when life doesn’t go according to plan.

2) Practice mindfulness

As an expert in Buddhism, I, Lachlan Brown, can attest to the power of mindfulness in building resilience.

Mindfulness is a vital practice in Buddhism. It’s about being fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.

Resilient people have this habit of staying mindful even in the face of adversity. Instead of getting swept away by the chaos of a situation, they ground themselves in the present moment. They take a deep breath, observe their surroundings, feelings, and thoughts without judgment, and then respond accordingly.

This practice allows them to maintain control over their reactions and make thoughtful decisions rather than impulsive ones. It minimizes stress and promotes a sense of inner peace, even when the external circumstances are less than peaceful.

3) Cultivate a positive outlook

Here’s something I’ve personally noticed in resilient people: they maintain an optimistic perspective, no matter what.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about pretending everything is unicorns and rainbows when it isn’t. It’s about looking for the silver lining in every cloud and focusing on what can be done rather than dwelling on what’s gone wrong.

During my own ups and downs, I’ve found that maintaining a positive outlook can make an enormous difference.

It gives you the motivation to keep going, the belief that better days are ahead, and the strength to face whatever comes your way.

When you’re faced with a challenging situation, remember to look for the positive. It’s not just a ‘feel-good’ habit; it’s a psychological strategy that can help you stay resilient when life takes an unexpected turn.

4) Practice non-attachment

One of the key principles in Buddhism, and something I delve into in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego, is the concept of non-attachment.

Resilient people understand this principle well. They know that clinging too tightly to possessions, people, or outcomes can lead to suffering. Instead, they practice non-attachment, understanding that everything is transient and subject to change.

This doesn’t mean they don’t care about their goals or relationships. Rather, they focus on the process instead of fixating on a specific outcome. They accept that despite their best efforts, things might not always go according to plan. And when that happens, they’re mentally prepared to let go and move on.

In my book, I offer insights into how you can incorporate the principle of non-attachment into your daily life. It’s a practical guide that can help you navigate through life’s ups and downs with grace and resilience.

When you find your happiness hinging on a particular outcome or person, try practicing non-attachment. It’s a powerful habit that can help you stay strong when life takes an unexpected turn.

5) They allow themselves to feel

Now, this might seem counterintuitive, but hear me out. Resilient people don’t suppress or ignore their feelings. Instead, they allow themselves to feel – even if those feelings are uncomfortable or painful.

In fact, research in psychology suggests that acknowledging and experiencing our emotions can actually help us recover more effectively from stress and trauma.

Resilient individuals understand that it’s okay to feel upset, angry, or scared when life doesn’t go to plan. They don’t shy away from these emotions; they sit with them, understand them, and eventually, they learn from them.

It’s okay to feel. It’s okay to admit that you’re hurt or scared or overwhelmed. It doesn’t make you weak; it makes you human. And ultimately, it’s this acceptance of our human emotions that allows us to heal, grow stronger, and weather any storm life might throw our way.

6) They live in the present moment

A cornerstone of Buddhism, and a habit I’ve noticed in resilient individuals, is the practice of living in the present moment.

Buddhism teaches us to focus on the here and now, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This is something that resilient people do exceedingly well. They understand that the past is unchangeable and the future is unpredictable. The only thing they can truly control is how they respond to the present moment.

By focusing on the present, resilient people are able to fully engage with their current circumstances. They can respond more effectively to challenges and setbacks because they’re not distracted by what-ifs or should-haves.

When you find your mind wandering to past regrets or future anxieties, try bringing your attention back to the present moment. It’s a simple habit, rooted in Buddhist teachings, that can help you stay strong and resilient through life’s ups and downs.

7) They prioritize self-care

Here’s a personal little nugget of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way: Resilient people make self-care a priority.

I’ve found that taking care of my physical, mental, and emotional well-being is crucial, especially during challenging times. For me, this could mean going for a run, meditating, or simply taking a few moments to enjoy a cup of tea.

Resilient individuals understand the importance of self-care. They know that they can’t pour from an empty cup. They ensure that they’re nourishing their bodies with good food, engaging in regular physical activity, getting enough sleep, and taking time to relax and recharge.

Self-care isn’t selfish. It’s essential. And it’s a habit that can help you build resilience and stay strong, even when life takes unexpected turns. Go ahead, take that bubble bath or turn in early tonight – you’re just strengthening your resilience muscle.

8) They ask for help

This might seem counterintuitive, but resilient people aren’t afraid to ask for help. We often think of strong individuals as being entirely self-sufficient, but the truth is, no one can do everything on their own.

Resilient individuals understand this. They’re not threatened by the idea of reaching out to others when they need assistance or support. They understand that everyone needs help sometimes, and there’s no shame in admitting it.

In fact, asking for help can actually make you stronger. It allows you to build a supportive network around you and gives others the opportunity to contribute and feel valued.

When you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out. Remember, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of resilience and wisdom.

9) They practice compassion

At the heart of Buddhist teachings is the principle of compassion. And it’s a principle that resilient people embody in their daily lives.

Compassion, both for oneself and others, plays a crucial role in resilience. When we’re compassionate towards ourselves, we allow ourselves to make mistakes, to learn, and to grow. This self-compassion fosters resilience, as it helps us bounce back from failures and setbacks.

At the same time, compassionate individuals tend to be more understanding and forgiving towards others. They recognize that everyone faces struggles and challenges. This empathy can foster stronger relationships and support systems, which in turn can help us weather life’s storms.

So whether it’s being kind to yourself when you make a mistake or lending a helping hand to someone in need, practicing compassion is a powerful habit that can help you stay strong when life doesn’t go according to plan. It’s a habit deeply rooted in Buddhism and one that has the potential to transform your life.


Resilience isn’t about avoiding life’s challenges or bouncing back quickly from setbacks. It’s about developing habits and mindsets that help us navigate through life’s uncertainties with grace and strength.

These 9 habits, deeply rooted in psychology and Buddhist principles, can help you develop resilience and stay strong, even when life doesn’t go according to plan.

I delve deeper into many of these principles in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s a practical guide that can help you further understand and incorporate these habits into your daily life.

Remember, the journey of resilience is a personal one. It’s about learning to dance in the rain, not just waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about living with maximum impact and minimum ego. And it’s a journey that I’m honored to be a part of with you.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

7 ways highly disciplined people structure their daily routines

If you really want to be a happy and joyful person, say goodbye to these 8 habits