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Start over tomorrow

Start over tomorrow
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Thomas Edison’s brilliance led to the invention of things like the phonograph and the first practical light bulb, but his most incredible trait may’ve been his resilience: The prolific inventor watched his factories burn to the ground when he was 67 years old, but instead of bemoaning his fate, Edison told his wife to gather her friends because they’d likely never again see a fire as large as that one.

Once the fire was out, he gathered all his employees and declared, “I’ll start all over again tomorrow.”

The tragedy that befell Edison isn’t unique, but how he handled it was pretty extraordinary, and we can learn a lot about resilience from his story.

Whether it’s a messy breakup, the loss of a family member, getting laid off from a job, or any number of different heartbreaks, everyone has experienced things that have brought them to their knees.

The question isn’t whether or not you will experience hardship – that’s just the price of admission to life – but how you will handle those things when they happen, says associate professor Ken Yeager, who leads a stress, trauma, and resilience program

Will it break you down or build you up stronger?

Will it break you down or build you up stronger?
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“Events like these can derail us for months – even years – unless we find productive ways to work through the pain,” says Yeager.

Productively working through pain, adapting to difficult circumstances, and learning from challenges can be summed up in one word: resilience. Simply put, it’s the art of bouncing back. Even though you may feel like you’ve been flattened when you’re hit, you still get back up and keep moving forward.

How to build resilience

How to build resilience
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Resilience isn’t a destination or a goal but rather a process that you repeat throughout your life, says Yeager. And there are things you can do to cultivate more resilience within yourself.

Getting physical activity, spending time outdoors, eating nutritious meals, reaching out to friends, doing acts of service, and talking to a trained mental health professional are a few of the proven ways to build physical and emotional resilience, he says.

Another powerful option is to learn from others who’ve experienced serious adversity and bounced back from it.

For a little inspiration, we rounded up some of the best quotes from people who have learned how to be resilient.

Choose now: Bitter or better?

Choose now: Bitter or better?
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“It’s your reaction to adversity, not adversity itself, that determines how your life’s story will develop.” —Dieter F. Uchtdorf, religious leader

Deciding now how you will react to challenges and taking steps to prepare yourself can help you be more resilient when the challenges come unexpectedly.

Change is progress

Change is progress
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“I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” —Maya Angelou, writer and poet laureate

These heavy trials will change you. That’s a given. But the empowering part of resilience is recognising that you get to choose how they change you.

Resilience is the antidote to depression

Resilience is the antidote to depression
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“You say you’re depressed, but all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it means you’re human.” —David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas

There’s a two-way street between mental health and resilience. College students who were mentally healthy showed higher levels of resilience, according to a study published in Frontiers in Psychology; what’s more, students who reported being resilient had lower levels of mental illness.

Here are 10 short rituals you can do every day to boost your mental health.

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Learn from this

Learn from this
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“Resilient people immediately look at the problem and say, ‘What’s the solution?’ and ‘What is this trying to teach me?’” —Unknown

Finding a higher purpose in suffering is one way to avoid getting trapped in a victim mentality.

It’s not survival of the strongest

It’s not survival of the strongest
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“It’s not the strongest of a species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most resilient and responsive to change.” —Charles Darwin, who pioneered the theory of evolution

Darwin, the source of the famous “survival of the fittest” ideology, recognised the importance of resilience in our overall survival.

Laughter is the best medicine

Laughter is the best medicine
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“What makes people resilient is the ability to find humour and irony in situations that would otherwise overpower you.” —Amy Tan, author

Being able to look at problems from an outside perspective can help you not get as caught up in the whirlwind of emotions. And laughter is an instant mood-booster.

Have a chuckle over these 24 quarantine quotes that are actually pretty funny.

Failure is necessary

Failure is necessary
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“Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience.” —Michelle Obama, author and former First Lady of the United States

You can’t become resilient if you’re never pushed hard enough to need it. Seeing adversity as a tool for strength helps you put your failures into perspective.

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