Emotional Resilience for Students


Mental or emotional resilience refers to your ability to cope with difficult situations that occur and how you recover from them. Developing your resilience is a great way to ensure you can adapt to difficulty and face adversity now and in the future. Coming in useful during study, employment, and personal relationships, resilience is a core life skill.

In this blog, we discuss resilience in more detail and suggest some tips to help you develop more of it!

What is Resilience?

Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is called ‘developing emotional resilience’. Resilience is not just your ability to bounce back, but also your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining a stable mental wellbeing. Resilience is not a personality trait – it is something that we can all take steps to achieve.

Activity 1

Here we have created a short quiz to help you identify how resilient you are. On a piece of paper, rate yourself 1-5 against the statements below.

  • 1 = strongly disagree
  • 2 = strongly agree

This is a personal activity and there are know wrong answers! It’s all about you.


  • I’m usually optimistic – I see difficulties as temporary and expect to overcome them.
  • Feelings of anger and discouragement don’t last long.
  • I adapt quickly to change.
  • I’m curious and ask questions.
  • I can find humour in rough situations and laugh at myself.
  • I learn valuable lessons from my experiences and the experiences of others.
  • I’m good at solving problems.
  • I’m strong and hold up well during tough times.

How to interpret your score

  • Add your marks together.
  • The closer your score is to 40, the more resilient you may be.
  • That does not mean if you have a lower score you are not resilient – just that you may benefit from developing greater resilience in these areas.

How to Develop Your Resilience

You can make some changes to your lifestyle that could help you feel more able to cope with pressure and stressful situations.

  • Practise being straightforward and assertive in communicating with others. If people are making unreasonable or unrealistic demands on you, be prepared to tell them how you feel and say no.
  • Use relaxation techniques – you may already know what helps you relax, like having a bath, listening to music, or taking your dog for a walk. If you know that a certain activity helps you feel more relaxed, make sure you set aside time to do it.
  • Develop your interests and hobbies – finding an activity that is completely different from the things causing stress is a great way to get away from everyday pressures. If stress is making you feel lonely or isolated, shared hobbies can also be a good way to meet new people.
  • Make time for your friends – when you have a lot on this might seem hard, but it can help you feel more positive and less isolated. Chatting to friends about the things you find difficult can help you keep things in perspective – and you can do the same for them. Laughing/smiling will also produce hormones that help you to relax.
  • Find balance in your life – you may find that one part of your life, is taking up almost all of your time and energy. Try to focus some of your energy on other parts of your life, like family, friends, or hobbies. It is not easy, but this can help spread the weight of pressures in your life and make everything feel lighter.

Looking After Your Physical Health

Taking steps to look after your physical health can help you to look after your mental health and reduce feelings of stress.

  • Get enough sleep – stress can often make it difficult to sleep. Getting enough sleep can help you feel more able to deal with difficult situations.
  • Be active – being physically active is important for both our physical and mental health. Even making small changes such as going for a regular walk outside may help you to feel less stressed.
  • Eat healthily – when you are stressed, it can be tempting to skip meals or eat too much of the wrong kinds of food. What you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel.

Give Yourself a Break

Learning to be kinder to yourself in general can help you control the amount of pressure you feel in different situations, which can help you feel less stressed.

  • Reward yourself for achievements – even small things like finishing a piece of work or making a decision. You could take a walk, read a book, treat yourself to food you enjoy, or simply tell yourself “well done”.
  • Get a change of scenery – you might want to go outside, go to a friend’s house, or go to a café for a break – even if it is just for a short time.
  • Take a break or holiday – time away from your normal routine can help you relax and feel refreshed. Even spending a day in a different place can help you feel more able to face stress.
  • Resolve conflicts if you can. Although this can sometimes be hard, speaking to a manager, colleague or family member about problems in your relationship with them can help you find ways to move forward.
  • Forgive yourself when you feel you have made a mistake, or did not achieve something you hoped for. Try to remember that nobody is perfect, and putting extra pressure on yourself does not help.

In Summary

  • Build positive relationships.
  • Ask for help and support when you need it.
  • Keep fit and exercise – pushing your mind and body can help build resilience.
  • Be optimistic – keeping an open mind about changing or difficult situations will help build resilience.
  • Perform acts of kindness.
  • Seek challenges.
  • Have an attitude of gratitude!
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Hang on to humour.

Things to Remember

  • Resilience is about being able to bounce back and learn from your mistakes. We can all be more resilient.
  • Rejection is inevitable and important. It gives us an opportunity to find the right fit!
  • It is important to take care of yourself and your emotions. Do things that make you happy!
  • Talking to someone you trust if you are struggling is often a useful way to identify things that are bothering you. Talking can make these things feel more manageable and help you create strategies to cope with them.

Useful Websites