Maximizing Your Resilience

There are multiple areas from which we draw our resilience. These include internal resilience, coping pursuits, and external resilience. Below, we provide an overview of how to maximize your resilience.


Internal Resilience

Internal resilience refers to your ability to take care of yourself. Internal resilience can be improved by engaging in behaviours and activities that promote self-care and well-being. A resilient mind and body can act as the stepping stone to allow you to tackle any challenges or goals that may arise. Some suggestions for maximizing your internal resilience can include:

Identifying and prioritizing your mental health

  • take breaks when needed
  • allow yourself to have down-time or “me time”
  • listen to your signs of distress, such as being stressed, anxious or depressed
  • seek assistance or tell someone who listens

Identifying and prioritizing your physical health

  • get enough sleep
  • have a balanced and nutritious diet
  • have regular check-ups with your health provider(s)
  • Engaging in exercises that train your mind and help with mood
  • meditation or yoga

Exercising your body through physical activities

  • running, walking, going to the gym
  • enjoying hobbies

Coping Pursuits

Coping pursuits refers to your ability in addressing everyday challenges and goals. Maximizing your coping pursuits means growing your skills and abilities to respond to the challenges and demands that may arise. Some helpful ideas that may assist in improving your coping pursuits include:

Identifying your strengths

  • what are you good at?
  • how can these strengths help you with your current challenges and activities?
  • relate your strengths to your goals

Find meaning in life’s challenges

  • approaching challenges as new experiences to learn and grow
  • ask yourself what motivates you in different circumstances

Explore new opportunities

  • challenge yourself to try new things, big or small

Everyone experiences failures

  • do not let failures define your story or your worth as a person
  • figure out what you can learn from these experiences
  • examine what opportunities or change can come from these failures

External Resilience

External resilience refers to defining your role within your community. Being active in your community is healthy. Maximizing external resilience means understanding or creating your own role and identity, and successfully making connections and accessing services that support your endeavours. Some suggestions to maximize external resilience include:

  • managing your finances to allow you to meet your needs
  • budgeting
  • engage in financial planning
  • accessing social services that assists with finances and education
  • identifying, or creating an identity
  • find family, friends, or communities in which you feel supported

  • make decisions, large or small, that help you feel in control of your life
  • access support services and resources available to you
  • know your rights to social, legal, and health services in your community
  • know where to seek help should you require these services e.g., web search, local government websites
  • ensure you can physically access them if needed


Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and during moments of uncertainty, change, and distress, it is important to take care of our mental health and maintain our resiliency. The Multi-System Model of Resilience has been adapted into a community resilience-building project to support the Chinese-Canadian and affected communities. To learn more and receive personalized suggestions for increasing resilience capacity in English, Chinese-Simplified, and Chinese-Traditional, visit our Project PROTECH website:


The following mindfulness exercises may be useful, and were produced for two community-based projects* by our collaborators to promote collective resilience.

Mindfulness Practice #1: Grounding Exercise

This is a grounding exercise that helps us connect to the present moment and let go of thoughts/worries.

Mindfulness Practice #2: Clouds in the Sky

This “de-fusion” exercise helps us to develop skills in observing our thoughts and emotions (worries, anxiety, fear) and recognize them as what they are — thoughts, feelings and emotion, nothing more, nothing less. This is very helpful in reducing worries and anxiety.

Mindfulness Practice #3: Loving Kindness

The practice of this loving-kindness exercise during time of crises and uncertainty may help to promote psychological resilience by enabling us to connect with joy and gratitude amidst fear, anxiety and suffering.

*CHAMPs-In-Action to reduce HIV stigma and promote collective resilience; and WE-CARE (Women Empowerment – Caregiver Acceptance & Resilience E-Learning) study to reduce mental health stress and promote resilience of temporary foreign workers. These projects are led by Dr. Kenneth P. Fung (AIM Clinic, University Health Network); Dr. Alan T. Li (Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment, Regent Park Community Health Centre); Professor Mandana Vahabi and Professor Josephine P. Wong (Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Ryerson University). Special appreciation and gratitude to Krisel Abulencia, RN, MN, who did the audio recording.