All humans need a certain amount of resilience to face life as it is, and there are numerous resilience activities for adults that can help build up that resilience if you need to do so.
A resilient person is someone who is able to spring back after a difficulty rather quickly, and this includes a multitude of both physical and emotional difficulties. Below are 49 activities that people can participate in to build up their resilience and help them lead better lives.
Just Do it
Most resilience exercises center around changing a person’s attitude, although there are still some specific actions you can take to improve your resilience. These include the following:
#1: Don’t look at problems as being impossible to solve; always think of them as opportunities or challenges.
#2: Always be moving and working towards your life goals.
#3: Always be on the lookout for things that can help you with your self discovery.
#4: Keep everything in the right perspective.
#5: Take care of yourself both physically and mentally.
#6: Make connections with other people and work to improve your social network.
#7: Don’t view change as something negative; change is an inevitable part of everyone’s life.
#8: Stay positive about what you have to offer the world.
#9: Use decisive actions to increase the odds that you’ll get what you want.
#10: Always cling to hope; have a hopeful attitude towards life.
You can also develop resiliency by following a few other simple rules, such as:
#11: Start by evaluating yourself honestly in areas such as how much support you get from family and friends and how well you communicate with others. This will tell you what you need to work on first.
#12: Think of a past situation that required you to be resilient and what the result was. This can help you learn what to do and what not to do the next time it happens.
#13: Have a specific resiliency plan, and make sure you include both short- and long-term goals. Resiliency is an ongoing thing, not something you gain one day and can forget about the next.
#14: Don’t be afraid to face your fears and take yourself out of your comfort zone. In fact, the only way to build up your resilience is to be fearless and open minded.
#15: When something goes wrong, think of three ways the situation could’ve been much worse. This helps you put everything into perspective.
Activities for Groups Are Very Effective
Group activities that build up resilience are both popular and effective, and many businesses utilize them to help their employees. After all, a resilient employee is a better and happier employee, and below are some of the resilience activities for adults that these businesses have used:
#16: Too much traffic. Similar to a chess game, this game requires two sets of people that must move towards the other side of the room in the same order they’re in at the beginning of the game. No one can pass over a teammate, and they can only move to an open space each time. Wrong moves result in a traffic jam and require the process to start over from the beginning.
#17: The minefield. Get a large mat and draw squares on it. Have someone decide where the mines are underneath the mat, then let one person at a time cross the mat without stepping on a mine. No one is allowed to talk to keep everyone in the dark about where the mine is. Once you step on a mine, you have to go to the back of the line and start again. If you cross the mat without stepping on one, you are eliminated. The first team that has everyone eliminated wins.
#18: The magic stick. Get a helium stick and divide the group into teams. Each team has to lower the stick to the ground by using their index fingers only. You cannot pinch or grab the stick. If someone’s finger isn’t touching the stick, that team has to start all over again.
#19: The marble game. Teams use a hollow tube and put marbles inside that cannot be touched or exposed to daylight. Each team has to transport the tube to the end point without the marbles spilling out. It is a great game to build up mental toughness and resilience.
#20: The human knot game. People stand in a circle and each person takes two other people by the hand until a knot is formed. The team has to learn how to unravel themselves without breaking the chain, and they have to start over if this happens.
#21: The shepherd and the sheep. Assign people from each team to be the shepherd and blindfold all of the sheep. The shepherd must direct the sheep into a pen without words – they can only use sounds. They also cannot move past the start point as they direct the sheep. The game is timed and the team that guides the most sheep into the pen when it ends is the winner.
The Right Leader Makes a Difference
If you’re a supervisor looking for specific activities to build up resilience company wide, the task is much easier than you think. Just a few angry customers or unmet sales goals can cause a lot of negative feelings in your subordinates. Below are some resilience activities for adults that can turn those things around for you:
#22: Concentrate on being your employees’ ally and not a critic. This doesn’t mean you can’t point out things they’re doing wrong, but they should always feel like you’re on their side and are working with them to achieve the company’s goals.
#23: Allow certain employees to choose which duties they want to perform. Stressed-out employees are usually not good at handling a crisis, so when a crisis does occur, you may have to step back and encourage them to work towards the company goal in a self-directed manner, at least for a while.
#24: Constantly remind employees why everyone has to work together. You can’t have employees thinking everything is about the money, so reminding them regularly about the many benefits of working together is a smart way to manage people and build up their resilience.
Team Resilience Activities – Part 2
There are also resilience activities geared towards solving specific problems; for example, those that help build up team trust or improve confrontational skills. Often, employees lack empathy or interpersonal skills, and the following activities can be very helpful in developing those skills:
#25: The t-shirt game. On sheets of paper, draw a t-shirt and hand one to everybody. Have everyone draw something on their shirt that tells who they are. Time them at five minutes, then let everyone explain what they drew and why.
#26: Many different shapes. Hang up pieces of paper with different shapes on them and ask each participant to identify with one of those shapes. Group the shapes together and have participants explain why they chose their particular shape. The shapes should include a square, a triangle, a squiggle, a circle, and a rectangle. Explain at the end that squares are usually hard workers and detail-oriented, triangles are usually energetic and show leadership skills, squiggles are usually unique multi-taskers who can be a little disorganized, circles are usually people-pleasers and love harmony, and rectangles are risk-takers who usually have problems deciding which shape to choose!
#27: Getting personal. Have participants get in a group and answer some personal questions, such as where did you grow up? What was your very first job? Can you share something about yourself that most people don’t know?
#28: Telling the truth. Have each participant tell three things about themselves, but only two of them can be true. Have the other participants guess which one is false.
#29: Profiling on the basis of behavior. Choose a behavior-profiling tool, such as Myers-Briggs, so participants can learn what “type” they are. Have them discuss what they learned at the next meeting.
Conflict and Confrontation
#30: Opening another person’s fist. Divide the group into A’s and B’s. Have person A close his first and person B try to open it without hurting person A. Afterwards, discuss who used force, who used distractions such as tickling, who simply asked person A to open his fist, and so on.
#31: Resolving conflict. This is a great exercise if your team frequently runs into the same problems when trying to resolve an issue. Have groups choose one of those problems and brainstorm so that they can work together to come up with the right solution.
Making a Commitment
#32: None of these resilience activities for adults will be successful if the participants don’t have a certain level of commitment. To start with, list the things that everyone has agreed on in your meeting, and ask everyone to contribute to the list so you can know everyone is on the same page.
#33: A common goal. After you’ve determined that everyone is in agreement regarding the contributions made, ask everyone what needs to be done to be successful. This can include things such as reducing expenses, strengthening the team, and many others.
Activities Can Be Fun
Of course, resilience-building exercises do not have to be boring or dull. In fact, many of them are specifically designed so that the participants have fun while still learning something. They may not know what they are learning at first, but this is usually revealed at the end of the game. Here are some more resilience-building exercises:
#34: Zooming in. Get a deck of cards with random pictures on them and let each participant have a card. No one can share his card with anyone else, but one person at a time has to show his card and create a story from it. The next person shows his card and expands on the same story using only the pictures seen so far. Every person gets a turn.
#35: In case you survive. Tell each group of participants that their team has been in a plane crash and they have to choose 12 items to help them survive. Have them tell everyone else what items they chose and why.
#36: Old-fashioned tug of war. Have two teams perform a good old-fashioned tug of war game. This is a great way to build up your team.
#37: Balloons, balloons. Think up or research any game that involves balloons, and have your teams participate in those games. You can even think up your own games if you like.
Working on Your Own
Even if you’re not looking for resiliency-building exercises for your colleagues or subordinates, you may wish to utilize them for your own personal growth. Here are a few other resilience activities for adults that have been proven to be effective:
#38: Don’t be so hard on yourself. When something goes wrong, chalk it up as a learning experience and move onto something else.
#39: Don’t ignore your usual routines. Routines can bring some comfort to you when you’re stressed, so if you have a favorite routine, use it whenever things get rough.
#40: Do things to help you feel more in control. In times of stress, concentrate on one thing at a time, and that focus will help you feel like you have more control over what is happening to you.
#41: Solve a problem for someone else. You can feel better about yourself in many ways if you try to help someone else whenever you can.
#42: Take news fasts. You don’t need to know everything that is going on in the world, so turn off the news every now and then so that the bad news doesn’t affect your psyche.
#43: Choose a stress-free area. Your bedroom or office should be a hassle-free zone, an area where you never let stress and anxiety overpower you.
#44: Find the best way to express yourself. If you like to draw, paint, or write, participate in this activity whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress.
#45: Find out what your strengths are, and use them to better your life and increase your sense of control.
Sometimes the Basics Work Best
There are also many basic activities that people can utilize to make themselves more resilient. Sometimes, basic activities and exercises simply work the best, which is why most of them have been around for so long. Below are some of those exercises:
#46: Have a piggy bank. If you put a certain amount of money in a piggy bank every time you overcome an adversity, it can breed more self confidence and help you move forward a little easier.
#47: Maintain a diary. Writing your feelings down is not only cathartic, but it can help you better understand what is truly going on in your life and what you need to do to improve your life.
#48: Allow for some “me” time. Taking regular care of yourself is a great idea for many reasons, so when things get stressful, just relax and listen to some of your favorite music or watch a few of your favorite television shows.
#49: Learn to meditate. Regular meditation doesn’t have to consist of anything formal. Just allow yourself time every day where you think about nothing and learn to breathe and relax.
Some Final Thoughts
When it comes to resilience activities for adults, most of them concentrate on improving either a physical or emotional part of your life. The mind-body connection is real, and it is important to pay attention to both of these aspects of your life to increase your resilience. Resilience activities can be found for young people, older people, teenagers, and even children, so regardless of what you’re looking for, you are bound to find it.