ASU student doing the pitchfork sign

Building Resilience

Have you found yourself saying “That’s it, I’m dropping out” after the slightest inconvenience?

Do you constantly consider withdrawing from that one class because you lack the energy to be productive?

Are you having thoughts about giving up on your goals because you don’t feel satisfied with your achievements?

If you answered yes to one of the questions above, you may be experiencing burnout.


A first step to overcoming this situation is to bring awareness to the resilient zone. When we are in control and lean on our strengths when challenges arise, we are in our resiliency zone - the green ‘ok zone’ in the image above.

Since the pandemic has left us with a lot of stress and burnout you may find that your experience is more like the dotted gray line. Due to a stressful event, you may be stuck in the low or high zone and that is why the smallest of things can become triggers in your everyday life.

We don’t automatically have resiliency, but we all do have the capacity to be resilient. 

The next step after awareness is to take action. Here are three strategies you can implement right now to help you learn how to return to your resilient zone. 

Shift and Stay

Shift and stay means you shift your attention away from the stressful feelings and center that attention to other sensations that are pleasant so you can stay there. 

  • Exercise:

    • Step 1: Notice what is happening to your body when you are experiencing these thoughts, feelings, or sensations of unhappiness. 

    • Step 2: Direct your attention to places in your body that are more neutral. You can do this by focusing on:

      • A gesture that brings you peace. Such as, releasing your clenched jaw, relaxing your shoulders, or stretching your fingers.

      • The present. Notice how your hands are in contact with the device you are currently using or how your eyes are reading these words.

      • A resource. This can be a favorite memory, things you like about yourself, or something you are looking forward to.

      • More comfortable places in your body. Laughing, yawning, crying, smiling, can all release the tension and create peace.

Fail Forward Fast

Failure is the ultimate driver of success. By learning from your mistakes you can move forward and commit to your goals.

  • Exercise: 

    • Step 1: Reflect on a recent mistake you made. Determine the best way to overcome it and create a strategy to avoid this from happening again.

    • Step 2: Seek advice from your ASU community and continue to learn from each day with an open mind and heart. 

    • Step 3: Accept your reality, we will all continue to fail and make mistakes. By accepting it we gain freedom and clarity on how to happily keep going.


Cultivate Forgiveness

Holding grudges towards yourself, others, or events are harmful to your physical and mental health. If you feel ready to forgive, you’ve taken a huge step towards self-compassion.

  • Exercise

    • Step 1: Breathe in and out naturally and focus on your breathing. 

    • Step 2: Identify someone or an event that you want to forgive. 

    • Step 3: Even though it may be challenging, focus on genuinely wishing them well and that they experience healing. Bring awareness to your thoughts and responses as you cultivate your compassion toward them.

Remind yourself that there is no one solution. You are you. If you don’t see the above strategies working for you, please know you are still capable of resiliency. Stress and struggles come in many forms and personalized help is always available to you. At ASU, counseling services are available in many different forms: walk-ins, tele-mental health, open call and open chat, and the EMPACT mental health line at 480-921-1006.

Once you build those skills of resilience you will build more kindness and compassion toward yourself.


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