Your Score:
13
Average Score: 11

Congratulations, you are highly resilient. Not only do you bounce back after negative experiences, but they often make you even stronger.

Your Score:
7
Average Score: 11

You are fairly resilient. You overcome many setbacks not too worse for the wear. To enhance your bounce-back skills, read the explanations below.

Your Score:
23
Average Score: 11

You could use some new strategies for dealing with unfortunate life situations. Turbulence can cause long-term damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. And it pushes some people towards problematic coping strategies such as anger or substance abuse. Studies suggest that protective qualities can be developed over time. Read the explanation to learn how.

Scoring:

If you scored 17-26: Congratulations, you are highly resilient. Not only do you bounce back after negative experiences, but they often make you even stronger.

If you scored 7-16: You are fairly resilient. You overcome many setbacks not too worse for the wear. To enhance your bounce-back skills, read the explanation below.

If you scored 0-6: You could use some new strategies for dealing with unfortunate life situations. Turbulence can cause long-term damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. And it pushes some people towards problematic coping strategies such as anger or substance abuse. Studies suggest that protective qualities can be developed over time. Read the explanation to learn how.

Explanation:

An important key to resilience is a sense of control. (1) If you feel like you are powerless to turn your life around, you won’t make the effort that takes. People who feel empowered envision unexpected bumps as challenges to be overcome, rather than threats. That’s in part because resilient people see successes when they reflect on their lives (question 7). (2)

A second key to resilience is a sense of meaning. If you can’t find significance in your dilemmas, then you won’t look for the lessons in them. To find positive meaning, it helps to see things as better than they could be (question 12). (3)

Spirituality (questions 4 and 10) helps provide a sense of both control and meaning. (4) Studies show that people with religious beliefs withstand stress better than those without them. The idea that everything happens for a reason makes tragedy seem predetermined and therefore controlled. Spirituality lends itself to the comforting feeling that everything will turn out okay, and the belief that there are lessons to be sought in trauma. Attending religious services also brings social support.

A common element of spirituality and magical thinking is the sense that the universe is fair and that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people (question 13). (5) Belief in a just world also offers feelings of order and control.

Another way to find meaning in hardship is to tell stories about your life (questions 6 and 9). (6) Storytelling forces you to try to understand a tragedy. It also may lead you to new perspectives on your experience, and when told to others it encourages bonding. Stories can also be told privately when you reflect on your experiences in a journal (question 2). (1) In addition to revealing new insights, reflection increases emotional intelligence, which is the ability to recognize and manage different emotions (question 5). (7) A sign of emotional intelligence is identifying different feelings in detail (question 11).

Positive emotions in particular enable resilience. (8) They’re associated with faster reduction of heart rate and blood pressure after stressful situations. Barbara Fredrickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina, argues that a positive outlook widens one’s perspective, and increases abstract, creative thought. Over time, this type of thoughtfulness allows a person to amass new abilities atop old ones, which means they can acquire new tools for responding to adversity.

Positive emotions are of course increased by, and signaled by, a sense of humor (question 1). A study of American POWs in Vietnam found that they relied on humor to gain a sense of control over their emotions and over their situation, and they also bonded by laughing together over their predicament. (9) If you have people to support you, you’re more likely to deal with trauma in a healthy way (question 3). (10) Family and friends reduce fear and stress, assist with emotional regulation, and help one regain control over one’s life.

Finally, George Bonanno, an expert on resilience at Columbia University, has found that people whose confidence bordered on arrogance showed fewer symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after they survived the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York City (question 8). (11) Bonanno suggests that people who think particularly highly of themselves feel less social restraint. They’re more likely to disclose personal feelings to others, whom they perceive to be more supportive than they actually are.