Staying Strong: New study sheds light on the characteristics of resilient people

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Living in a COVID kind of world requires strength and fortitude. But how does a person develop resilience and stay strong in uncertain times? A new study by sheds some light on this topic.

Resilience is an active process. Mentally tough people adapt their mind and their life to their circumstances.

The ability to stay strong is about learning how to keep hardship in perspective, and taking active steps to adjust to the circumstances.

Tough cookies don’t sit back and let adversity wash over them like a tidal wave; they take action.

During a crisis, the platitude “stay strong” is well-intended, but difficult to put into practice. Resilience is not an inherent trait - it is developed and strengthened through hardship. Recent research conducted by reveals that mentally tough people nurture a specific type of mindset, and engage in certain practices in order to stay strong in the face of adversity. It seems that resilience isn’t just a state of mind; it’s also a state of action.

Analyzing data from 12,259 people who took the Emotional Intelligence Test, PsychTests’ researchers focused their analysis on two distinct groups: Those who are highly resilient (in the 90th percentile and higher), and those who are not. Here’s where the two groups differed:


  • 99% of the resilient group trust their ability to handle life’s challenges (compared to 33% of the un-resilient group).
  • 71% don’t let people's opinion of them dictate how they feel about themselves (compared to 14% of the un-resilient group).
  • 93% recognize what makes them special, and what they have to offer to others, and to the world (compared to 28% of the un-resilient group).
  • 95% take pride in their accomplishments, including small achievements, and don't care about whether they receive recognition from others (compared to 57% of the un-resilient group).
  • 80% show their true self to others, even if they risk rejection (compared to 24% of the un-resilient group).


  • The entire resilient group (100%) said that one of their biggest aspirations is to become a better person (compared to 0% of the un-resilient group).
  • 96% consciously learn from their mistakes and failures (compared to 65% of the un-resilient group).
  • 86% take concrete steps to achieve their goals. They don’t just dream or hope of accomplishing a goal, they turn their aspirations into action (compared to 32% of the un-resilient group).
  • 93% said that they are gentle with themselves when the make a mistake or fail, rather than engaging in harsh self-criticism (compared to 17% of the un-resilient group).


  • 72% practice mindfulness. They try not to stress out too much about the future, and strive to live in the moment (compared to 13% of the un-resilient group).
  • 86% make sure to give a problem its due consideration, but consciously stop themselves from ruminating (compared to 17% of the un-resilient group).
  • 96% keep negative circumstances in perspective (compared to 48% of the un-resilient group).
  • 83% have an outlet to relieve stress, like exercising, journaling, or meditating (compared to 40% of the un-resilient group).
  • 70% talk things out with someone they trust (compared to 18% of the un-resilient group).


  • 95% engage in fun or humorous activities during difficult times (compared to 66% of the un-resilient group).
  • 92% practice gratitude, and focus on the blessings in their life (compared to 34% of the un-resilient group).
  • 83% accept, if not embrace, change (compared to 15% of the un-resilient group).
  • 84% look for the silver lining in hardship (compared to 20% of the un-resilient group).
  • 92% said that they just keep trying, and refuse to give up (compared to 14% of the un-resilient group).


  • 78% reflect on the motives behind their actions (compared to 53% of the un-resilient group).
  • When negative emotions arise, 74% of resilient people take the time to stop and analyze the emotions in order to understand what their feelings are trying to tell them (compared to 35% of the un-resilient group).

“Resilience is an elusive trait, because we’re never really taught how to be strong, either by our parents or in school,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests. “We’re told to ‘toughen up,’ ‘man up,’ ‘stay positive,’ or that things will get better eventually, but are not told how to do that. And so we learn to simply ride out storms in our life by hanging on for dear life, or drowning out the pain, neither of which develops our resilience very much. This is because resilience is an active process. Tough people don’t sit back and let adversity wash over them like a tidal wave; they take action. They consciously monitor their thoughts and feelings, summon up various coping techniques, stay in the moment rather than ruminating about the future or the what-ifs, and they face their problems head-on. So when a proverbial storm comes, resilient people become the captains of their ship. They take charge, and take steps to improve their situation, or their attitude."

"This is what we need to be doing during the pandemic," suggests Dr. Jerabek. "Don’t just sit at home obsessively watching the news and worrying about what is to come. Accept what is going on, and then take steps to adapt. Ask yourself what you can do right now to make things better, even just a little. Find soothing activities, learning new coping techniques, practice mindfulness and meditation, keep yourself busy, and then at the end of the day, count every single one of your blessings. This is what it means to be resilient.”

To schedule an interview with Dr. Jerabek, go here:

Want to assess your EQ? Check out our Emotional Intelligence Test at:

Or take the free Pandemic Resilience Test here:

Professional users, such as HR managers, coaches, and therapists, can request a free demo for Emotional Intelligence Test or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery:

The Pandemic Resilience Test is available free of charge to all ARCH Profile clients (employers/companies), coaches, and therapists) who can offer it as a screening and personal development tool to employees and clients. Businesses can request a free demo for this or other assessments from ARCH Profile’s extensive battery here:

To learn more about psychological testing, download this free eBook:

About PsychTests AIM Inc.
PsychTests AIM Inc. originally appeared on the internet scene in 1996. Since its inception, it has become a pre-eminent provider of psychological assessment products and services to human resource personnel, therapists, academics, researchers and a host of other professionals around the world. PsychTests AIM Inc. staff is comprised of a dedicated team of psychologists, test developers, researchers, statisticians, writers, and artificial intelligence experts (see

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Ilona Jerabek, Ph.D.
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