Spending time with friends is one way to build resilience, laughter is another.

6 Ways to Cultivate Resilience

Challenges can make you stronger, but they can also sideline you with stress, depression, and anxiety. The good news is that you can strengthen your resilience by learning new ways to cope with change, allowing you to thrive no matter what life sends your way. Here are some ways to bolster your ability to bounce back.

Nurture Your Network

Our family, friends, and faith community are rich sources of support. Lean on someone who cares about you, and ask for help when you need it.

Practice Self-Care

For good mental and physical health you need to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. It’s even more important to take care of these needs in tough times.

Work on Acceptance

Change is part of life, and some things are out of your control. Accepting what you can’t change saves your energy for what you can.

Cultivate a Positive Outlook

Research shows that an optimistic outlook protects you from many of the negative consequences of stress. And some studies have even found that looking on the bright side sets you up for success. When confronted with a negative situation, try to consider what positive things might come out of it in the long run. Or look for the positive aspects of your life that balance it out. For example, you might be experiencing money problems but have made new friends. Remind yourself that you deserve happiness and expect good things to happen.

Let Laughter Heal

Find the funny in the everyday, whether it’s a child’s antics or an online cat video. Seek out humor wherever you can; watch funny movies, listen to late night roasts, subscribe to funny podcasts, whatever tickles your funny bone. Schedule lighthearted get-togethers with friends; there’s nothing like a game night or late night gigglefest to get you in a better mood. Even in the most difficult times, give yourself permission to smile with friends.

Think Resilience

It’s now how many set-backs we face, it’s how we bounce back from bad times. Becoming more resilient doesn’t mean you won’t run into obstacles, but it gives you self-protective strategies for riding out the bumps without lasting bruises.

Melanie Haiken writes about health, wellness and fitness for national magazines and websites. She specializes in discovering and reporting the latest research on diet, nutrition, fitness, weight loss and other health-related topics. Her award-winning stories have appeared in Fitness, Shape, Health, Forbes, and other respected magazines. She also contributes health stories to numerous Kaiser Permanente newsletters and other publications.