An Introduction to Emotional Resilience and how it can be developed

An Introduction to Emotional Resilience and how it can be developed

  • Posted by wellness

Emotional resilience is fast becoming the buzz word in organisations across the world. This article explores what Emotional Resilience is and how it can be developed

The coronavirus pandemic has led to an increase in mental health issues for students, employees and individuals and given rise to new wellness crusade. In a survey carried out by Human Resource executive, over two thirds of the respondents cited now as the most stressful time they had ever faced.

How well we deal with situations and our ability to bounce back from adversity really can determine how well we can navigate through situations such as COVID-19 or the recent protests in Hong Kong.

Before we get in to how we can build resiliency let us first look at what we at Wellness for Life believe to be the key characteristics of someone who is resilient:

  1. Someone who looks at problems as an opportunity to grow. Resilient people often look at problems as challenges and understand that the reason that problem has come into their life at that precise moment is for them to learn something valuable and grow as an individual. They look at their failures and mistakes as lessons to be learnt from and opportunities to evolve for the better. Resileint people also tend not to let challenges affect their self-worth negatively.
  2. Someone who focusses on what they can control rather than what they can’t. Resilient people spend little time, effort and focus on issues that they have no control over and instead plough all of their efforts in to issues they can make a tangible difference to. As a result, resilient people often feel like they have a purpose with drive and ambition as opposed to feeling lost or powerless.
  3. Someone who doesn’t blame themselves for anything. When things go wrong those that are resilient often look at the bigger picture, firstly blaming lack of support in other areas rather than finding faults in themselves
  4. Someone who is relentless about achieving their goals. Resilient people often set goals and will do all that they physically can to achieve those goals, letting nothing come between them and achieving what they had initially set out to achieve
  5. Someone who has a high degree of self awareness. Resilient people are extremely aware about themselves and how they are feeling. They display a good understanding of exactly what makes them tick emotionally, and as such can manage their emotions well.

There are obviously more characteristics, but we feel these are the 5 key characteristics. It all sounds so wonderful, if only we knew how. Some people reading this may have felt slightly daunted by all of that and some may be feeling that they already possess many of the characteristics. Whatever it may be, the good news is resilience can be learnt. Decades of research shows us that that resilience is built on behaviour, attitude and what social support we have around us. So, what exactly can we do to change our behaviour and attitude and build social support:

  1. Learn from mistakes and failures. These things tend to happen for a reason and if we look close enough there is usually a lesson to be learnt which provides us with an opportunity to evolve as individuals. We can only evolve however if we take time to reflect and put right what was wrong initially. Without taking that time to reflect how can we ever learn from our mistakes? It’s important to remain level headed and analyse your feelings and emotions rather than getting too caught up in the issue itself. Look for positives and where the opportunities to grow are.
  2. Don’t forget you. When stress levels are running high and we are caught in the midst of all that is going on, it’s often easy for us to neglect ourselves. Being resilient relies in part on ensuring our own personal needs are met well. For example, if you are the physical type then ensure you are getting the right amount of exercise you need each week. Try to develop a self-awareness on how you are feeling and how you can control your thoughts. Learn to nurture yourself and practice positive self-talk. By ensuring your own needs are met we feel ready to take on whatever life has to throw at us
  3. Learn how to create Goals. During times of crisis things can easily get out of hand. We need to be organised about our issues and one of the best ways resilient people stay organised is to set goals. Resilient people look at things in a realistic way and way and set little small targets to achieve the bigger target. These are goals. Setting goals is not an easy task and one has to adopt a realistic and measurable approach to this. For more information on creating goals click here
  4. Develop a strong Social Circle. When the going gets tough, it’s important to have a set of people you can turn too and confide in. The good old saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” is real. For individuals it may be a best friend, for employees it may be a mentor but having that someone there to turn to for advice, guidance or just a bit of moral support from time to time can prove invaluable and people who are resilient thrive on this. Some of you may be feeling that you have nobody you can talk to which is also ok. In this instance we often advise our clients to write down how they are feeling on a piece of paper. The fact that you have released your thoughts, even on to paper will help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing
  5. Back your own ability. Perhaps more so than any of the above, people who are resilient have a profound ability in backing their own potential and ability. Just having this belief and stubbornness towards giving up is often what makes resilient people thrive in the face of adversity. In some ways this is linked to self-worth however research shows that self-worth plays an important role in coping with stress and recovering from difficult events. Resilient people also display an innate ability to be able to catch negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts since feeling good about ourself is a great way to build resilience

Building resilience doesn’t have to be daunting, instead try and enjoy and learn to go with the flow of what life is throwing at you. It’s also something that may not come straight away and something we have to persist at. All of the above tips are great ways to build resilience but how do we stay resilient? Well the answer is by incorporating all of the above into our daily routine so that it becomes part of us and our essence. If we can manage that then whatever life has to tell us we will always use the opportunity to evolve and become better people.