Age-appropriate, health-promoting activities can significantly improve the odds that an individual will recover from stress-inducing experiences. For example, regular physical exercise, activities that reduce stress and programmes that build executive function and self-regulation skills, can improve the abilities of children and adults to cope with, adapt to, and even prevent adversity in their lives. Adults who strengthen these skills in themselves can set healthy examples for their children, improving the resilience of the next generation.
Social support is particularly important in increasing resilience. Lack of social networks, support, and loneliness make it harder to self-regulate behaviour and build resilience over time. This is why community projects, activities and support play such an important role in reducing the impact of ACEs and helping to break the cycle.
Five ways to wellbeing
There are many different tools that can be used to build resilience in individuals and as part of encouraging people to act on ACEs. Five Ways to Wellbeing is an evidence-based intervention that is used primarily to promote emotional wellbeing but it also promotes resilience. This tool is already in use locally and nationally. It is an easy to understand, universal intervention that can be used to help improve resilience in young people and also adults. The Five Ways images are below, or you can find out more about the Five Ways to Wellbeing here.
For other tools and resources go to our Resources page.
Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and one that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Connect with the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
Try something new. Rediscover an old interest.Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.