How Resilience Can Help You Cope With Retirement

Benefits of Resilience for Older Adults - Rebel Retirement

It’s easy to feel despondent as we see the disappearance of pensions, tumbling 401(k) balances, shrinking dollars, and an unstable housing market.

It’s no wonder many feel overwhelmed or even defeated by all of the adversity we may encounter along the way.

But there’s a simple, yet powerful trait that can help us not only survive but thrive in the face of these challenges. That trait is resilience.

So, if the retirement roller coaster is more than you bargained for, let’s explore the concept of resilience and how it can help us cope with retirement.

What is Resilience?

From improved physical health to increased emotional well-being, this valuable trait can help us enrich our retirement years.

Resilience is our ability to bounce back from difficulties and move on. You could call it our coping style. It’s the way we work through emotional pain and suffering. Adapting in a confident way to life’s misfortunes and pressing onward is an example of resilience.

Here’s the exciting part. The older we get, the more resilient we become! That’s because life’s ups and downs have prepared us for old age!

Resilience and Financial Setback

Forced retirement, unexpected expenses, illness, or loss can all have a significant impact on our financial stability and emotional well-being. More than likely, our retirement plans haven’t turned out exactly as we had planned. It may require that we adjust our spending habits and financial goals for retirement.

As difficult as money problems can be, resilience helps us weather the storm. It’s how we manage the stress of an uncertain future – how we cope with hard times.

How resilience in older adults helps with financial setbacks:

  • Allows individuals to stay focused and persevere through difficult economic times
  • Enables older adults to have positive outlooks about money during times of adversity
  • Helps us cope with disappointment and overcome challenges

Benefits of practicing resilience in times of financial setback:

  • Problem-Solving – Cheerful focus and perseverance help in problem-solving
  • Peace of Mind – Maintaining a positive outlook brings peace of mind that all things work out in due time
  • Self-Empowerment – Accepting that money ebbs and flows over a lifetime empowers us to overcome social comparison

Resilience and Physical Health

The link between resilience and physical health is clear. Resilient adults who manage stress and overcome anxiety may reduce their risk of developing chronic illness. Therefore, resilience has an important role in preventing or managing chronic health conditions.

Furthermore, when faced with a health challenge, resilience helps promote a smoother road to recovery. This is an interesting study that explains the role of resilience in patients’ recovery following heart surgery. 

How resilience in older adults helps with physical health:

  • Helps us recuperate more quickly from illness
  • Reduces our risk of developing serious ailments
  • Better management of chronic conditions like hypertension or diabetes

Benefits of practicing resilience on physical health:

  • Recovery – Having an optimistic view toward life and making plans for the future can speed up recovery
  • Managing Stress – Managing stress through deep breathing exercises or yoga can lessen the risk of developing a serious ailment
  • Diet, Exercise, Sleep – Healthy lifestyle choices like eating healthfully, exercising, and walking can lower blood pressure and manage diabetes

Resilience and Mental Health

The trait of resilience is instrumental in our mental health. Our responsiveness to adversity is quite influential to our retirement success. Hence, our happiness and well-being depend on a healthy dose of resilience.

Having hopefulness and enthusiasm makes a positive impact on our cognitive health. By staying engaged with others and learning new skills we can remain mentally sharp. Make time to practice resilience for improved psychological well-being.

How resilience in older adults helps with mental health:

  • Ability to enjoy life regardless of the ups and downs
  • Experience less anxiety and depression
  • Improved cognitive function

Effects of practicing resilience on mental health:

  • Greater Happiness – A sense of well-being envelopes the resilient person who reaches out to others and keeps busy
  • Inner Calm – Headaches and the tight feeling in your chest often disappear when making the effort to use relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety and melancholy
  • Improved Memory – Memory improves when we use it. Engaging in challenging mental activities and learning new skills lessens cognitive decline

9 Tips for Practicing Resilience

Resilience is a skill that you can develop over time. Start developing these skills and you’ll be bouncing back in no time!

  1. Cultivate a positive mindset
  2. Build a support system with friends and family.
  3. Develop problem-solving skills. Take proactive steps to find solutions.
  4. Manage emotions effectively. Practice mindfulness.
  5. Maintain a healthy lifestyle. A good night’s sleep helps with overwhelm.
  6. Set realistic goals. Start small, and adjust as needed. Reward yourself for small victories.
  7. Learn from adversity. Reflect on your past experiences and learn from them.
  8. Develop adaptability and embrace change.
  9. Treat yourself with kindness. Avoid critical self-doubt.


Resilience in older adults is a crucial component in helping us maintain our physical and mental health as we age. By fostering optimism, self-efficacy, and staying connected with our communities we can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives, no matter what challenges arise.

By engaging in strategies like physical exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness we can build resilience and thrive throughout our retirement.

One of the most resilient poets is William Ernest Henly. His poem Invictus can inspire us all. It ends with,  “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”

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What are your strategies for handling adversity? Please feel free to comment below! And before you go, please take a moment to subscribe to our newsletter, and like us on Facebook!

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