The Rolling Stones said it best: You can't always get what you want. But you can learn from your disappointments
and use the experience to move on and conquer the next challenge. People who experience disappointment, then rely
on a unique combination of courage, confidence and hope to pull themselves up out of the resulting slump are
called emotionally resilient. They have the same setbacks as anyone, but have learned to deal with them in a
positive, constructive manner.
We all have the potential to grow our emotional resiliency in order to get back up a little quicker after a fall;
these four tips help you put emotional resiliency into practice after a big disappointment.
Watch your thoughts.
When something bad happens, do you blame yourself and imagine disaster? Try to catch these thoughts, so you can
rework them into self-talk that buoys you up instead of weighing you down, says Karen Reivich, Ph.D., director of
training programs for the Penn Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. For
instance, if you're taking a course and receive a "D" on your first paper, you can call yourself stupid and
decide you're going to flunk, or you can see the grade as a clear indicator that you need to study more and
perhaps let your husband handle dinner the next time you have a paper due.
Give yourself credit.
People often find it easier to take responsibility for their failures than for their successes, says Reivich.
When things go well, many people attribute it to luck or someone's kindness. Resilient people do the reverse.
They attribute failure to factors beyond their control and give themselves credit when things go well.
The more positive experiences people have on a regular basis—laughter, hugs, time with loved ones—the better
they fare when trouble strikes, according to studies co-authored by Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., distinguished
professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To build your happiness reserves,
think of five things you can do each day that give you pleasure and do them. Go for a walk at lunchtime. Romp
with your dog. Take the scenic route home. Filling your days with small pleasures provides a big boost to
See the silver lining.
When difficulties come your way, remind yourself that dealing with setbacks builds your resilience. "Rising
to a challenge reveals your abilities," says Jonathan Haidt, Ph.D., author of The Happiness Hypothesis. "It
can help you discover strengths you never knew you had. As a result, your sense of who you are shifts. You
begin to have more confidence in your ability to overcome obstacles because you've done it once and you know
that, if necessary, you can do it again."