Personal resilience is defined as an individual’s ability to successfully adapt to life tasks in the face of social pressure or other highly adverse conditions. Adversity and stress can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, personal challenges, or workplace and financial worries, or general world change, among others. Resilience is one’s ability to bounce back from a negative experience with “adaptive function”. Resilience is not a rare ability; in reality, it is found in the average individual and it can be improved by virtually anyone. Resilience should be considered a process, rather than a trait to be had. It is a process of individuation through a structured system with gradual discovery of personal and unique abilities.
A common misconception is that resilient people are free from negative emotions or thoughts, and remain optimistic in most or all situations. To the contrary, resilient individuals have an ability to effectively and relatively easily navigate around or through crises. In other words, people who demonstrate resilience are people with optimistic attitude and positive emotionality and are, by practice, able to effectively balance negative emotions with positive ones.
In military studies it has been found that resilience is also dependent on social support: unit cohesion and morale is the best predictor of combat resiliency within a unit or organization. Resilience is highly correlated to peer support and group cohesion. Units with high cohesion tend to experience a lower rate of psychological breakdowns than units with low cohesion and morale. High cohesion and morale enhance adaptive stress reactions.