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What are the five pillars of resilience?

If you were to define a resilient person, they might meet a few common attributes that can be put into five categories: emotional wellbeing, inner drive, future focus, relationships, and physical health.

It is important for organisations to help their staff to develop personal resilience as it will encourage an underperforming, overworked, or even an underworked employee to gain a fresh and objective perspective on the situation, which is sometimes all that’s needed to make lasting positive changes.

With that said, here are our definitions of the five pillars of resilience...

Emotional wellbeing

The first and most fundamental pillar of resilience is emotional wellbeing. This pillar of resilience is about how a person understands and manages their emotions. This can include seeing things from multiple perspectives, being able to solve conflicts with one’s self and others, and healthily expressing emotions.

Resilience is imperative in times of both stress and conflicts and it is vital when responding to situations rationally.

If something is upsetting or frustrating, we recommend to try this four-step approach:

  • Take a moment to think about the emotions you're experiencing
  • Remind yourself that emotions are temporary and, but your action/response won’t be
  • Try to single out exactly what it is that’s upset/frustrated you
  • Explore ways to handle the situation in order to reach the most positive outcome

Future focus

Another pillar that supports a resilient person is future focus - being ready for change and new challenges that someone might face.

Although nobody can predict the future, it is possible to be prepared to successfully handle obstacles that show up. Future focus is the ability to plan ahead.

To do this, a person must set themselves a realistic goal - or a SMART goal. This means: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.

A person should write down their SMART goal, or if they have a few, keep the number doable. They can also write down any achievements that they’re proud of, and anything important it taught them. This way, if they find themselves feeling unmotivated down the line, they have a factual account of how adaptable and successful they can be when they put their mind to it.

Inner drive

Inner drive is all about a person's ability to focus on themselves on a daily basis. Although a person shouldn’t put too much pressure on themselves, they can do the following things on a daily basis:

  • Use their own self-awareness as a guide
  • Practice managing thoughts, emotions, and actions
  • See constructive criticism and setbacks as opportunities for development
  • Write a to-do list that keeps them on top of their tasks and holds them accountable
  • Focus on their core values

A person's core values play a huge part of their personal identity, and include the things that are most important to them. If they make choices that deviate from their values, they are likely to lose motivation. As a result, their mental health could suffer.

Knowing what they believe in can allow their core values to help them make decisions that drive them to succeed.

Physical health

As we’ve mainly focused on thoughts and emotions, it may come as a surprise that physical health is a pillar of resilience! But it is extremely important.

A person taking care of their physical health means eating properly, getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and listening to their body. By maintaining good physical health, it will give a person the energy and drive to maintain all of the other pillars of resilience.

When a person takes care of their body on a daily basis, it sets a reminder of something many people often forget - that small, consistent improvements stand the test of time in comparison to sudden, grand gestures.


A person's relationships can drastically improve their resilience, and their life overall. By having a healthy social network, it becomes far easier to develop and maintain resilience, even if the social circle is small.

This means having trustworthy people to lean on when a person needs support, advice, or someone to listen.

Those looking to develop their resilience should ask themselves:

  • When was the last time they were stressed at work?
  • Did someone help them?
  • If so, who was it?

A person must recognise those who are helpful and loyal to them and it well will help them identify their meaningful relationships. If they found that the answer to their question was that no-one helped them, think - did they reach out for help? Or did they keep it to themselves and find that things escalated - to a bad day or even a bad week?

But a person also needs to make time and emotional space for others - this is all part of being resilient. Being genuinely interested in what others have to say and showing them that they can lean on you in hard times too. This will create genuine, lasting relationships built on trust and empathy - and it’s an enormous source of strength. Good social connections give a sense of belonging and it will increase happiness, enjoyment - and in turn - it will reduce susceptibility to stress and increase a person’s ability to handle adversity.

Online Resilience Training

Here at iHASCO, we understand the importance of resilience. In fact, it’s something that our staff are actively supported in developing.

With that said, we recognise that around 57% of employers see resilience as a key skill for candidates for jobs, which is one of the reasons why we developed our Online Resilience Training course.

The CPD Accredited course provides your staff with the tools they need to build resilience in order to better manage challenges and maintain good personal wellbeing in the face of adversity.

It can be completed in just 35 minutes and provides a printable certificate upon completion. See why thousands of users have taken part in this course today by claiming your no-obligation free trial!

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