Create a Resilient Mindset

If at first you don’t succeed, you’re normal.

When bad things happen, it can cause you to lose perspective. You may begin to jump to conclusions, make assumptions, catastrophize, and see the situation as an insurmountable problem. Thoughts like "I can’t do this", "My life is over" and "Everything is crashing around me" are common examples of negative thinking.

This downward spiral makes things feel not only out of control but can also result in increased stress, anxiety, depression. But it doesn’t have to.

Do you ever wonder why so many people can go through similar or even the same problems (overwhelmed with school, end of relationship, illness or loss) and all respond differently?

It’s because it’s not the adversity that causes your reaction--it’s your beliefs, what you think about the situation. Your perspective on things that leads to how you feel and what you do about it. So, if you change the way you think, you in turn change the way you feel and react.

Therefore, a key to being resilient is accurate and flexible thinking. This includes having an increased awareness of thoughts, noticing and accepting them, being able to challenge and change irrational thoughts, avoiding seeing challenges as insurmountable problems, and forming realistic expectations.

Adopting a mindset of gratitude and optimism also increases the ability to adapt and overcome.  

Ask Yourself:

  • Is this thought helpful? What is a more healthy thought?
  • What would I tell a friend in this situation? (perhaps follow this advice)
  • What evidence do I have that what I’m thinking is really true? What is the evidence against it?
  • Is there any other reason this situation could have occurred?
  • Is there another way of looking at this situation? What are some other points-of-view?
  • What is the worst/best/most likely outcome? If the worst did happen, how could I cope? Would I live through it?
  • Is there anything I can do about this right now? If yes, take appropriate action. If no, accept and move on.


Counseling and Wellness Services - 222 IWC is the place to go to begin building a resilient mindset with the help of the mental health professionals in WSU's Counseling & Wellness Services

Health and Wellness Services - Health & Wellness Services has many events and services designed toward helping you stay healthy and well both physically and emotionally. 

Stigma Free Pledge - Take the pledge to change the way the world sees mental health as a foundation for building your resilient mindset. 

Winona NAMI - Create a resilient mindset by learning, receiving support and advocating for others with NAMI. 


An Experiment in Gratitude - Watch how expressing gratitude can be a powerful tool for boosting happiness.

The Resilience Advantage: Building Optimism - This video shows how building optimism promotes resilience.

Three Good Things Exercise - Learn a simple exercise in this video to increase happiness and resilience by focusing on things that go well in your life.

The Road to Resilience - Develop and use personal strategies for enhancing resilience.

Creating an Optimistic Mindset Worksheet (PDF) - Use this worksheet to assess whether you have a pessimistic or optimistic mindset and learn how to create a more positive outlook for yourself.

Gratitude Journal Worksheet (PDF) - Increase an attitude of gratitude and hope by using this reflection worksheet as part of your daily routine.

Self-Talk Worksheet (PDF) - Self-talk— your own thoughts to yourself throughout the day— either sabotages or supports you. This guide helps you catch negative self-talk and change your way of thinking to be more helpful and supportive.