Health / Mental well-being

4 Ways to Build Your Resilience

Illustration of person with flowing hair

For many of us, the pandemic has taken a toll on our emotional well-being—and that makes this an important time to talk about resilience. Our healthcare experts at BCBSRI recently created a video series that explains resilience and gives you activities you can do at home. Watch the Rhode to Resilience.

What is resilience?

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from challenges. Think of it like a tree in the wind. It bends but returns to its normal position. At BCBSRI, we think of resilience as having four elements:

  • Perspective
  • Connection
  • Sense of purpose
  • Gratitude

Here are four tips to help you build your resilience. Remember, these are practices, like playing a piano. Give yourself the gift not only of learning but of taking the time to practice. 

1. Change your perspective.

As the pandemic has shown, we can’t always control the things that happen to us. But we can control how we react to them. Being resilient means we’re able to embrace healthy, positive thoughts, and that mindset can help us through tough times.

Try this
Think about a difficult experience you’re facing and how you feel about it. Now try using your name, as though you’re talking about someone else. For example, ask yourself, “Why does Jane feel this way? What are the underlying reasons for her feelings?” Spend three minutes reflecting, writing down your thoughts if you’d like. It feels odd to write about yourself this way, but it can help you confront difficult feelings without becoming overwhelmed by them.

2. Connect with people.

This pandemic has forced us to be physically apart from people we care about—for our protection and theirs. Consciously or not, our lives revolve around connections, and they are an important part of resilience, helping us to better handle the challenges we face through our lives. Remember that you don’t have to face your challenges all alone.

Try this
Create a bucket list of social activities you’d like to do. Are there old friends you want to re-connect with? Is there a group you have been meaning to join? Keep your list someplace you will see it and act on it. Each time you look at it, think about how each of those actions helps you build connections. Even virtual connections are important.

3. Find your purpose.

Having a sense of purpose makes it easier to bounce back from challenges by providing perspective, stability, confidence, and determination. It’s much harder to be defeated by challenges in your life when you are passionate about what you’re doing. And you just might find a sense of purpose if you step back and look at the impact you already have on other people.

Try this
Ask yourself these questions to get you moving toward your own sense of purpose:

  • What things would you do even if you didn't get paid for them?
  • What do other people say you're good at?
  • If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?

4. Practice gratitude.

Being grateful doesn’t erase whatever pain we’re feeling or the struggles we’re experiencing. Instead, it helps us appreciate what is good in our lives—even while acknowledging that bad things happen. For example, many of us are working from home now, and that can be stressful. We can focus on the problems that causes, or we can find little things to appreciate—like not having to commute, more dinners at home with our family, or the opportunity to take a walk at lunchtime. 

Try this
Start a gratitude journal. Some people set aside a specific time each day to write down what they are grateful for. Others write one item each day or keep a running list they add to whenever something makes them feel grateful. By actively writing these down, you are consciously choosing to focus on the good. That can help to reframe your perspective and give you the energy to keep pushing forward … in other words, to become more resilient. 

Use These Resilience Resources

Your Blue Store Studio
Join the Your Blue Store Studio Facebook group for video classes like “Facing Tough Times–Resiliency” and “Stress Management Is Medicine.” 

Your BCBSRI membership includes discounts on dozens of health and well-being tools, including at-home meditation and mindfulness classes. See the savings at

Your BCBSRI benefits
If you need help coping with stress, speak with your primary care provider or download the BCBSRI Drs. Online1 app on the App Store or Google Play2 or visit and schedule an appointment with a therapist. Medicare Advantage members can use Doctors Online for $0. 

Learn more 

Many organizations have written about resilience, and we have listed just a few of the articles that may help you.

8 Strategies to Stay Resilient During the Pandemic
Psychology Today

Self-care has never been more important
American Psychology Association 


1In the case of an emergency, you should always call 911. Doctors Online is not intended to replace these services and should not be used in those circumstances. Doctors Online is a telemedicine service provided by American Well®, an independent company that administers Doctors Online on behalf of BCBSRI. 

2Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Google Play is a trademark of Google Inc.