Resilience: How to build your ability to bounce back

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There is a lot of talk about resilience today but I’ve noticed in some conversations I have been privy to, not everyone understands what resilience is. This is not surprising because if you do a google search on resilience you’ll get billions of results. I scanned the first page and found an array of varying definitions and theories including the 5C’s, the three R’s and the 7C’s of resilience. Just a tad confusing right?

The definition of resilience according to the Oxford dictionary is:

“The capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.” 

The definition I quite like is:

“Psychological resilience is the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly.”

American Psychological Association

Either way, I think we probably would all agree resilience is handy for humans. Especially in times like these. And I don’t think it’s applicable only to majorly traumatic events.

In this episode of ‘Tude Talk TV I chatted with Hannah Davison, Mum of a 6 yo daughter and 8 yo son. Hannah has certainly had her resilience tested many times over the years, including narrowly escaping a 7.8 earthquake with a young family in the middle of the night, battling adrenal fatigue and guiding her children through separation and divorce… so I thought it would be great to get her real life perspective on resilience and how we can help our little peeps build it.

Hannah Shares:

  • What resilience is and whether it’s a born or learned skill [2:03] When you’re resilient it’s the time when you can continue to see the next step forward.
  • [3:40] How we build resilience in Little Learners – they will learn from what they see and what you do. A place where they can express themselves and their emotions is really important. Because unless the emotions come out, they stay in, and that’s what causes the most problems.
  • [4:49] Something that helps is verbalising your process and what you’re doing as you deal with things and explain what you do to help you get to the other side. It also shows it’s not about them.
  • [6:41] Being resilient doesn’t mean not feeling the feels. It’s about how you feel them, and how you move through them to feel better.
  • [8:21] Suppression of emotion is not strength, becasue it’s about the fear of that emotion overwhelming you and you may not feel that you can cope with it, including the tools she uses including it’s ok to feel all the feelings and taking time to do so. Avoid the distraction technique. Journaling, what is the trigger? How did it get there in the first place? What the purpose was, and what problem was I trying to solve?
  • [10:46] Her twice daily meditation practice, which allows her to deal with the stresses of the day and those that have accumulated over a lifetime.
  • [11:10] We normalise the state of living in chronic stress. Find a way to take yourself out of the sympathetic nervous system and spend some time in the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • [12:54] It’s great to show them you can make a mistake as a parent and acknowledge it and take a course correction. Make your reparations and move on.
  • [13:51] As parents we have an innate drive to protect our children. When we don’t allow them to take appropriate levels of risk, we’re sending them the message “I don’t believe that you’re capable.” They are often more ready and capable than parents give them credit for.
  • [16:23] How to help with challenging moments and difficult situations with kids, such as making sure every day spend 1 on 1 with your kids to allow them to open conversations. Invite their journey of the full spectrum of human emotion (even if it’s triggering to you).

You can listen to the full episode of ‘Tude Talk TV (30mins or play on fast speed).


  • We all make mistakes. Cut yourself a little bit of slack. Remember it’s an 80/20 rule – 80% of the time you’re doing your best, 20% of the time you’re only human.
  • Allow your kids to see that you’re human – that gives them to be human, accepting of themselves and compassionate towards themselves and others.
  • Your sense of self-worth doesn’t come from external places, it comes from within.
  • Consciously choose the environments you put yourself and your children in and more consciously choose the people and the attitudes you surround yourself with.


Many Thanks to Hannah for sharing her insights. Hannah is the author and co-founder of the award-winning children’s book initiative, My Big Moments – personalised picture books, backed by research and expert consultation, to help little people through big moments. Or join ‘the village’ on Instagram.

Photo by Vivek Kumar on Unsplash


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