How Resilience, Relationships and Optimism Can Help Combat Stress

A man and woman wearing masks and looking at each other
RainStar/Getty Images

If you’ve been more anxious or depressed than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic, tapping into your reserves of mental toughness and inner strength — known as resilience — may help you feel more positive and in control.

Research shows that resilient people are more optimistic, less lonely and better at coping with adversity. If you don’t feel very resilient, it may help to realize that you’re still in control of certain decisions, or that you’ve survived other hardships and already possess coping strategies.

Read about the connection between optimistic thinking and coping with difficult situations in How Optimism Conquers Stress.

One way to foster resilience while practicing social distancing is by nurturing relationships. Studies have found that staying socially connected may help you feel less stressed, depressed or anxious.

Try engaging with friends in different ways. Texting, phone calls, video chats and virtual experiences (think yoga classes or happy hours) may all help you feel less isolated.

Being optimistic may also help increase your resilience and aid in stress management.

To learn more about the science of resilience, check out Building Resilience.

This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide any expert, professional or specialty advice or recommendations. Readers are urged to consult with their medical providers for all questions.

Search AARP Blogs