9 signs you’re emotionally resilient and bounce back from setbacks gracefully

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a situation that you’ve wanted to give up? Were you able to gather the resolve to bounce back? 

Let’s face it, obstacles and setbacks are an inevitable part of life. It’s how we respond that fundamentally defines us as people. Emotional resilience takes guts and determination, and once you master it, you thrive. 

In this article, I’ll take you through 9 signs you’re emotionally resilient and bounce back from setbacks. Let’s get into it!

1. You maintain a positive outlook 

Here’s the thing, many people tend to break as soon as the stress becomes too much to handle. Fortunately, you’re not one of these people. 

You understand and fully accept that life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Life can be gritty. 

Therefore you’ve developed the ability to look at the glass as half full when obstacles come your way. 

You know that with every struggle comes a new lesson. And what you can learn from it is as profound as any MBA. 

You’re able to maintain a positive mindset since you’re aware that worrying needlessly over something out of your control is pointless. 

This is resilience in a nutshell. 

You keep your cool and focus on yourself and the things that bring you joy. Speaking of which…

2. You practice self-care 

When it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, the easy option is to give up. 

But “giving up” isn’t in your vocabulary. You don’t spend your days merely existing, you take control. You keep on keeping on!

This means having a self-care routine. You know that combating external stresses takes work so you make it a point to prioritize your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. 

You get adequate exercise and sleep and maintain a balanced diet. Being invested in your self-care will put you in a better position to tackle your problems. 

When I’m overwhelmed by stress, I always try to work out. 

At times, it can be difficult to get motivated, but once I get those endorphins flowing, I emerge clear-headed, far less anxious, and ultimately more resilient

Instead of feeling like the world is caving in, the benefits of exercise (and self-care) have allowed me to take a step back and say “Hey this isn’t so bad, I can handle this!”

3. You have supportive relationships

I’ll tell you this much: no man (or woman) is an island. When faced with tough times, you can seek comfort in the fact that you aren’t alone. 

Whether it’s with your romantic partner, friends, or family, you have a solid foundation of support. 

When I was up to my neck in debt during the pandemic, I tried paying it off alone while painstakingly seeing my savings dwindle each week. 

Eventually, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I asked my family for help–something that I put off for as long as possible. 

To my surprise, my family was fully supportive. 

They not only came to the rescue by helping me pay off my creditors but also provided me with some much-needed reassurance: that it wasn’t my fault, that I was no longer alone, and that these things happen, especially during a global pandemic. 

I’m so grateful for having an encouraging family during my darkest hours. All I needed to do is reach out.

4. You practice gratitude

Speaking of being grateful, it might be wise to keep a gratitude journal. 

A gratitude journal makes us pay attention to the good things in life we might otherwise take for granted.

As a resilient person, you’re likely mindful of your priorities

If you have food on the table every day, a family to go home to, and a roof over your head, you’re already better off than most people. Don’t forget this. 

This way of thinking helps give you a greater perspective. And you know from experience that this shift in perspectives is what separates the truly resilient from everybody else. 

5. You are adaptable

When things don’t go your way, you’re able to keep your cool and pivot effectively

The ultimate curve ball was Covid–people lost their businesses, livelihoods, and their lives. 

But you don’t just wave the white flag when faced with unexpected challenges, you do what you can to adapt

You take proactive steps to improve your situation instead of passively waiting for it to go away. 

Let’s say you ran a few Airbnbs during the pandemic. With tourism being one of those most hit industries, you were on the verge of bankruptcy. Instead of accepting that fate, you did what you could to survive. 

Maybe you tied up with aspiring food entrepreneurs to repurpose your apartments for food delivery. Your margins may not have been as robust as before, but the cash flow helps you stay afloat as Covid restrictions ease up. 

Being adaptable in a tough situation is a testament to your emotional resilience

6. You have a sense of humor

When dealing with taxing circumstances, it pays to have healthy coping mechanisms–this includes having a sense of humor. 

Laughter is a powerful thing. Not only does it release endorphins in the brain, but being able to laugh empowers you to reframe situations, giving you a more optimistic overall mindset. 

And once you get your mindset in order, then you’re way better off. 

Think about it. Lying in bed wallowing in anxiety and fear all day won’t improve your situation. 

But cracking a funny joke during a difficult time ultimately speaks to your emotional resilience and determination. 

You’re literally laughing in the face of adversity. How badass is that? 

7. You practice self-compassion

While you have no problem owning up to your blunders and learning from them, being too hard on yourself can enhance your feelings of worthlessness and anxiety. 

Just remember, there’s no such thing as a perfect person and that mistakes are often a necessary means to growth. Forgive yourself and let it go

Sometimes, we even tend to take too much responsibility and blame ourselves for things that were mostly bad luck. 

When I was struggling during the pandemic, I was so angry at myself for my business problems. 

Having accountability is one thing but this cycle of self-loathing and self-blame became toxic. 

I was in a pretty bad place, often on edge. My relationship suffered.  

Now I realize that my outlook during this time was dangerous. 

Eventually, I learned to be kind and gentle to myself during difficult periods. I stopped blaming and started growing. Anything less would have been counterproductive. 

8. You can regulate your emotions 

Let’s face it, our emotions have power. As an emotionally resilient person, you don’t get engulfed by your own emotions when in crisis. You don’t panic.

You have the ability to control your thoughts and feelings during tough times.

This calm and collected attitude allows you to make the right decisions even when the pressure is mounting, at a time when most people fold. 

You move forward with a clear mind, not one overcome with doubt or apprehension.  

You’ve gained this confidence because you know what you bring to the table, like a knack for problem-solving. This leads me to my final point… 

9. You’re a skilled problem solver 

The last sign that you’re emotionally resilient is your ability to solve problems. You have the talent for breaking down an issue and then fixing it methodically.

Desmond Tutu once famously said, “You can’t eat an elephant in one bite.” 

What he meant is that when life is daunting, even the seemingly impossible can be accomplished if you work diligently and smartly, taking on a little at a time. 

When you have a problem, you first identify it clearly. Then you come up with a number of solutions. 

Once you’ve chosen the best one, you act, slowly but surely. 

Soon enough, after taking manageable steps, you notice improvements. You’ve successfully chipped away at your problem with determination, grit, and planning. 

Final thoughts

In short, being emotionally resilient in today’s fast-paced, constantly changing world is an absolute asset.

If you’re fortunate enough to have this quality, then don’t let up and positively influence those around you.

If you feel you’re still not quite there, then that’s alright too. Use the items on this list as a guide.

Remember to take things in stride, learn from your mistakes, and maintain positivity.

Once you’re dedicated enough, I’m willing to bet you’ll get to where you want to be real soon.


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