7 Simple Ways You Can Build Your Resilience

Lessons In Resilience You Can Apply To Your Life:

By Nicole Hui

As you know, September is always a busy month, and this year it’s only worse. With the fourth wave of COVID-19 hitting across the country, a federal election well underway, back to school season and more, the transition from summer to fall may seem even more overwhelming this year. We feel that way too. 

Which is why we wanted to support you through this busy time with tried and true methods to help improve your resilience. If there’s one thing that living through a global pandemic has taught us, it’s that we’re not in control of our circumstances. But we can be in control of how we react to them. Which is why it’s so important to build your resilience. You deserve to feel strong and ready to take on life’s challenges. 

We’re always so inspired by our community members’ extraordinary resilience. Many have worked hard to overcome trauma, barriers and adversity. We’ve learnt so much from them, and we want to share their wise wisdom with you too. This blog post is dedicated to, and inspired by, their perseverance, strength and resilience. 

We asked our community members, people who have courageously overcome homelessness and addiction, to share their tips on building resilience with you. So that together, we can become a stronger community! 

We hope these tips help you tap into your strength and resilience this busy upcoming fall season:

1. Practice gratitude and learn to look at the positive…

“I have studied this for a long time and one perspective that really stands out to me regarding resilience is the following. Trauma is not what happens to a person, but what happens within us. The recognition of trauma is itself the beginning of resilience. Resilience comes from building that consciousness, in recognizing and accepting the traumatized parts of us, understanding them and taking care of them. We can restore the connection to the authentic self that, for perfectly valid reasons, we abandoned. Learn to see the positive. We can train ourselves to see the good that is happening in our lives. Engage in gratitude.” – Virginia

There are so many research-backed reasons why practicing gratitude is so good for you. It’s been proven to help build resiliency, improve happiness and reduce stress. When times get tough, remember all that you can still be grateful for—and use that to propel yourself forward. You can integrate practicing gratitude into your daily routine, such as through writing in a gratitude journal or using a gratitude app on your phone. 

At UGM, gratitude journals are a practice we implement in some of our recovery programs for women, as we journey alongside women who are courageously working to overcome homelessness or addiction.

2. See everything as a learning opportunity for growth …

“In order to build resilience, I think it’s important to recognize the opportunities for learning. Experience is certain, whether it’s good or bad. What we choose to take away from our experiences is optional. Sometimes it can be hard to take a deeper look at the circumstances surrounding our experiences, but if we are willing to dig deep and ask ourselves questions, it builds a force with the strength required to facilitate change.” – Katrina

One truth that’s hard to accept? We can’t always control what happens to us. One truth that helps you with that reality? We can control how we react and what we choose to learn from it. By trying to see every experience as a learning opportunity, instead of feeling defeated when things don’t go your way, you can see how every experience will help you move forward and grow into a stronger person.

Two UGM staff members who became best friends after meeting at UGM

3. Rely on your community for support…

“Many in our community know firsthand about resiliency. They have had to endure many hardships. One strength to help in their being resilient is in community members coming together and helping one another and sharing burdens.” – Ed 

We’re big on community here at UGM, because we know how important it is: for recovery, for overcoming traumatic experiences, for sharing the good times and for overall enjoying life. When you build up your community, you build up a support system. Friends and family can help with your resiliency, pray with you and provide a listening ear through challenging times. 

We’re always inspired by the life-long friendships that have been cultivated at UGM, whether it’s between our staff, community members, volunteers and more. And if you’re interested in being a part of our strong community and helping your community through your career, please visit our Careers page.

Read inspiring stories that will give you hope on our social media channels

4. Hold on to hope…

“I always tried to keep myself hopeful and tell myself life was going to get better. So that I would have hope to keep living. When you have hope, you keep your spirit alive and your body alive.” – Jennifer

When you have hope and believe that things will get better, you continue pushing forward and believe that there is a reason to keep persevering. Continually remind yourself of the famous saying: “this too shall pass” and the verse “Therefore we do not lose heart.” (2 Corinthians 4:16). One day, these troubles will end and until then, take it one day at a time. 

If you’re even in need of hope, feel free to visit UGM’s social media pages. We share powerful transformation stories of our community members who have overcome homelessness and addiction. Their stories powerfully truly remind us that hope is never lost.

A mural that was painted on the UGM building during COVID-19

5. Put in the hard work…

“Resilience to me was putting in the work and effort in rebuilding my life from addiction to being a positive part of society.” – Mikey 

Nothing comes easy, and resilience is definitely one of those things. So when you take time to intentionally focus on your mental health and resiliency, you’re able to improve how you handle stress and unwarranted circumstances that life throws your way. Spending time and energy on mental health practices like gratitude journals, mindfulness, sleeping well and staying nourished are not necessarily as “easy” as a Netflix binge, but will do wonders for your resilience in the long haul. 

Our community members have worked incredibly hard to overcome homelessness and addiction, and it’s not an easy journey by any means. We’re so inspired by their resilience and discipline.

A UGM Staff and Volunteer serving meals at our Thanksgiving Meal

6. Help others and give back…

“Through this process of resilience and my journey in recovery, I find giving back, helping others and having good relationships really helpful in being able to adapt to situations that used to baffle me. UGM has been a huge part in teaching me about resilience.” – Glenn

Life is meant to be lived together, in community. Giving back and volunteering has actually been shown to improve resilience and well-being. Not only are you helping others, but you’re also helping yourself. Studies have shown that giving back can improve your physical and mental health and reduce your stress

Looking to give back? If you’d like to support people in your community and help end homelessness and addiction in Metro Vancouver, please visit our website and learn all the different ways you can help your community.

A UGM Expeditions Alumni enjoying a hike

7. Go outdoors…

“The most helpful thing for me in overcoming addiction was getting out in creation and feeling within the group the sense of community while hiking together. Hiking changed my life. It got me out of my own head and gave me a chance to think. The outdoors helps me mentally, emotionally and physically—it’s all in one. People need the outdoors to come back to themselves in life.” – Matt

When things get all too overwhelming, sometimes time outdoors can do wonders for your stress. Spending peaceful time in nature can help with your perspective. Beyond this, it is proven to help decrease stress and increase emotional and physical wellbeing, among a plethora of other benefits. 

We’ve seen firsthand the healing powers of nature. We offer a hiking and outdoor program called Expeditions for men in our recovery program at UGM, and many participants have credited it as a significant help to their recovery journey.


We hope these practical tips help you strengthen your resilience. Together, let’s build each other up, support one another, and help our community.

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Written By: Nicole Hui