Resilience is a person’s ability to adapt to the difficulties and stresses of life, and to “bounce forward” in the aftermath of a traumatic or distressing event, having learned and often having become stronger from the experience. The term is also used to refer to a person’s ability to return to his or her former situation after having experienced a lengthy period of deprivation, or stress.

Resilience is not an inborn trait. Like the body’s immune system, it is affected by our mood and by the amount of help we receive from others. In addition, there are periods where we have higher or lower levels of resilience, and sometimes, during long stretches of difficult times, our natural resilience is faced with more challenges than usual.