How Positive Thinking Builds Resilience


If you are resilient, it doesn’t mean that you’re immune to adversity and life’s challenges, but you will bounce back and learn from them. There are a number of things that help us build resilience, and positive thinking is one of them.

Positive thinking is not about denying reality, but when you work on developing an authentic positive mental attitude, it can be a great tool in your arsenal for when adversity does come along.

Here’s how positive thinking builds resilience.

Why positive people are more resilient

  • They have more faith in themselves and their ability to overcome challenges.
  • They expect things to turn out well and see setbacks as temporary and changeable.
  • They treat setbacks as a learning opportunity.

Negative emotions exist for a reason

Thinking positively is not about never having a negative thought. Negative thoughts and emotions do serve a purpose. We feel emotions like fear for a good reason; it protects us from harm. This is an evolutionary instinct that has ensured our survival.

But often fear and negativity can hold us back and close our minds to creative problem solving and good decision making. We end up having such a narrow view of what’s going on that we only focus on the problem, which causes us to spiral into negativity and helplessness, and this seriously affects our resilience.

Learning the art of positive thinking can help us see things differently and deal with adversity much better when it comes along.

The benefits of seeing the glass half full

Positive thinking stops you feeling helpless

Because you believe that even the direst situation can improve, you’re more likely to feel able to take positive action to solve the problem.

Positive thinking helps you develop stronger relationships

If you’re an optimist, people will look to you in tough situations to guide them and help them feel hopeful. If you have the support of others, this will help you feel even more positive and resilient in turn.

Positive thinking is great for wellbeing

Studies have shown that optimistic people have better mental and physical health than pessimistic people. Better emotional and physical health equals better resilience.

How to think positively and build resilience

Just like building resilience, positive thinking is something that can be learned and intentionally developed. Here are some good strategies to help you to start thinking more positively;

Challenge negative thinking

Realising that you are in a negative spiral is the first step to challenging negative thinking. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, try to find evidence to the contrary.

If you’re telling yourself ‘I can’t handle this!’ is this true, and is it useful to think in this way?

Instead, you might say ‘Well I’ve handled something much worse before and it was hard but I got through it.’ This is a more positive and useful way to think, especially if you’re in the middle of a crisis. You’re reminding yourself that you are resilient and that you’re able to deal with the challenges that this situation may bring.

Surround yourself with positive and supportive people

This can make a world of difference when you’re trying to think more positively. Misery loves company, as they say, so instead, surround yourself with positive people who see the solution not the problem.

Be grateful

When times are tough, it can be difficult to forget or even outright ignore what’s going well, or those little moments of joy in your day that you don’t always allow yourself to experience. At the end of each day, write down three things you are grateful for and I guarantee, this will shift your perspective to a more positive and resilient one.

Do you want to learn how to think more positively and build resilience?

Then book a discovery call to see how I can help.

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