Wellbeing is more than being happy, and resilience is more than bouncing back from challenges. Wellbeing expert Kim Tay explains the two concepts and tells us why they matter.

In the fast-paced world we navigate daily, terms like “wellbeing” and “resilience” are often thrown around, but what do they really mean, and why should we care?

Let’s break it down.

According to experts Keyes and Annas, wellbeing is simply about feeling good and functioning well. Feeling good involves experiencing positive emotions, finding happiness, and being content with life. But it goes beyond that; it’s about how we show up in the world, our sense of purpose, motivation, maintaining strong relationships, and reaching our potential.

Imagine wellbeing as a delicate balance between the resources we have and the challenges we face. Resources encompass psychological, social, spiritual, and physical aspects, while challenges include psychological, social, and physical hurdles. The more we nurture our wellbeing, the better equipped we become to handle life’s challenges.

This brings us to resilience, often misunderstood as merely bouncing back from adversity.

Instead, resilience is about navigating threats, stress, challenges, and adversity in a way that allows us to continue feeling good and functioning well—or bounce forward, so to speak.

The process of overcoming challenges isn’t always smooth; it’s messy, difficult, and requires effort. However, it’s through this journey that we acquire valuable skills, making us more resilient. As Dr Denise Quinlan says, resilience gets us out of the black hole, but it’s no good just sitting near it. Wellbeing gets us out into the sunshine.

Dr Karen Reivich, another global expert, outlines four ways resilience benefits us.

  • First, it helps overcome early obstacles like poverty and abuse.
  • Second, it aids in managing everyday stresses, such as road rage and tough deadlines.
  • Third, resilience sees us through significant life challenges like divorce and illness.
  • Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, it allows us to stretch and grow, taking on new challenges and reaching our full potential.

To truly embrace opportunities and growth, we need resilience. It’s not a passive quality; it’s something we actively build through our thoughts and actions. Building resilience is akin to getting fit—requiring commitment and effort, with small actions accumulating over time.

Building resilience is akin to getting fit – requiring commitment and effort. With small actions accumulating over time.