Last month's tsunami cruelly demonstrated life is a gift that can be wrenched away at any time. Every day, people suffer sudden, unforeseen loss that alters their lives irrevocably, but which the rest of us usually hardly notice. Car accidents, heart attacks, cot deaths, suicides, rob people suddenly of someone they loved, someone they thought would always be there, someone they would watch grow up or grow old with. But there's an important lesson we can all learn from this appalling natural disaster. Not only should we live our lives valuing every moment, we also need to find ways, from within, to deal with every-thing life throws at us. What I'm talking about here is resilience. It means not just expecting someone else to solve your problems. It means having the mental and physical strength to find a solution for yourself - to keep going, through cancer, through physical injury and personal disaster. The tsunami survivors all took decisions to improve their chances of survival. They clung to floating mattresses, ran for higher ground, climbed onto roofs or trees, or grabbed something solid and hung on. And they kept on hanging on until there was a better choice. This doesn't mean those who died did nothing to help themselves. But up to half of those who died were children, not yet equipped with the means - mental and physical - to maximise their chances of survival. How does resilience translate to the everyday world in Hong Kong? We have a tendency here to point fingers and complain whenever there's a problem and say the authorities aren't doing enough. Already the government is being criticised for not getting its act together quickly enough to help people stranded in Thailand. True, we don't have the world's most pro-active, empathic or quick-thinking government officials. But in a disaster, the most effective way of overcoming the effects - and of helping others - is to do what you can to help yourself rather than sit back and demand everything be done for you. So, how do you develop resilience? First, change your attitude and accept responsibility for your own life and for finding ways to deal with whatever happens. In grief, once the shock wears off, most people feel anger and look for people, things or circumstances to blame. If you get stuck in this anger, your life will be spent in a type of hell, where the whole world is to blame for your terrible unhappiness. And in any circumstance, wasting energy finding someone to blame also wastes your opportunity to find a solution that may ultimately lead to an improvement in your life. Resilience is as much a physical concept as a mental one. This is where advice about keeping your body healthy comes in. A fit body will give you the reserves needed to recover from a major assault - whether physical, mental or both. So, the usual things apply. Stop smoking, drink alcohol in moderation and exercise for at least an hour a day. Eat mostly vegetables, fresh fruit and protein rich foods. Cut down on sugar, sweetened foods and avoid preserved and highly processed foods. And, last but not least, find a focus for your better emotions, your desire to help, to care for others and to create something special. People with a deep-seated faith have survived calamities that destroyed most others. Find a spiritual centre for your own life. It doesn't have to be religion - just something that lets you be the best person you can be - while you can.