Psychologists define emotional resilience as the ability to adapt to a stressful situation. It’s your capacity to cope and bounce forward from a crisis or change in your life.
People who are emotionally resilient usually focus less on the loss or injustice of a situation and more on how they are going to get through it.
This helps them to stay empowered, feel less of a victim and harness their internal resources.
They are able to activate healthy coping mechanisms, such as:
- healthy self-talk
- creating meaning that is empowering
- choosing optimistic thoughts
- looking for opportunities
- maintaining a sense of humour
- reaching out for support
Developing emotional resilience can help you deal with challenges in a way that minimises any negative impact.
8 Ways to boost your emotional resilience
Here are a few ways to build your emotional resilience.
1. Take care of your body
Coping with a problem becomes even harder when your body isn’t receiving proper care. Before everything else, make sure you give your body enough rest and healthy nutrition to cope with challenges.
Strengthening your immune system will ensure that your mind and body can respond to stressful situations in a way that allows you to make good decisions and create positive change.
2. Surround yourself with supportive people
It’s important to have people in your life whom you trust and can confide in. They will create a safe environment for you to safely share and express your emotions.
Your closest family and friends can serve as pillars of strength when you face difficult challenges, and seeking help should never feel like a sign of weakness.
There may also be times where you need to seek professional support to explore emotions and release them in a positive way.
3. Learn to adapt to change
Change is not just a part of life, it’s the essence of life! Training yourself to be flexible and open to new circumstances allows you to quickly adapt to new things. Being adaptable also sharpens your problem-solving skills.
Take baby steps when going outside your comfort zone and show yourself compassion. The LifeLine Technique® is a wonderful process to help you quickly adapt to change.
4. Get up and take action
Resist the temptation to ‘lock yourself up’ in your bed or home for an extended period of time. You might need to do that initially to create some space for yourself, but don’t stay there until it becomes detrimental.
It’s important to encourage and support yourself to take positive action. Being proactive and optimistic is important for emotional resilience, and it empowers you to initiate the positive changes to lead a happy, healthy life.
Find small tasks to complete to help get yourself going again. A motto that helps me is: If in doubt, clean the house. It’s not mentally taxing and may not be solving your problems, but at least you feel like you’re doing something constructive!
5. Use essential oils to stimulate your emotion centre
Therapeutic-grade essential oils can assist with your emotional resilience due to the fact that our senses are processed in the area of the brain that also processes emotion. The following Young Living essential oil blends may help:
- Believe™ helps you overcome feelings of despair and move to a higher level of awareness as well as encourages feelings of strength and faith.
- Envision™ stimulates creativity and resourcefulness, encouraging renewed faith in the future and the emotional strength necessary to achieve your dreams.
- Gratitude™ helps you foster a grateful attitude and embrace the blessings in your life. It’s designed to calm the emotions and elevate the spirit.
- Highest Potential™ harnesses the uplifting and inspirational power of blue cypress and other pure essential oils to enhance your self-confidence and achieve greater unity and purpose in life.
- Release™ facilitates the ability to let go of anger and frustration. It also promotes harmony and balance of the mind and body.
6. Make the conscious effort to be grateful
Though the saying ‘count your blessings’ may sound cliché, expressing your gratitude is a truly powerful exercise. Instead of looking at what you don’t have, focus on what you do still have – family, friends, fond memories, support, quality healthcare, and opportunities for the future.
Don’t let past negative events define who you are. You are not your past, but who you choose to define yourself to be. Focusing on the person you are becoming is key to emotional resilience.
Challenging situations and experiences can often lead to great personal growth. You might discover that you’re capable of handling more than you expected. Challenges can be ‘gifts in strange wrapping paper’ that increase your self-perception, strength of character and grit. So, ask yourself: What can I be grateful for about having this challenge?
7. Learn to laugh
Though it’s hard to laugh when overwhelmed by stress or sadness, it is a good way to release pent-up emotions. Laughter can help reduce stress, calm your nervous system, change your mindset, and also releases feel-good hormones.
Pull out your favourite comedy movies and sitcoms or watch a stand-up comedy show and have a good belly laugh. It will be a nice distraction at the very least.
8. View yourself in a positive light
A simple exercise like telling yourself, “I can get through this” or “I am getting stronger every day” can be enough to boost your belief in yourself.
Remind yourself of your accomplishments and your positive traits. Tell yourself that you are capable and reasonable and that someday you’ll likely look back and see the ‘blessings in disguise’ of the situation. Turn the challenge into another hurdle you’ve overcome and been able to use to your advantage.
3 Final tips…
It will be easier to develop and maintain emotional resilience if you do difficult things at the start of your day. It is much harder to be resilient if you are also dealing with ‘decision fatigue’ after a busy or stressful day.
And remember, emotional resilience is a muscle that you can train and develop. Every time you get through a stressful or challenging situation, you grow more resilient.
If you take the time to acknowledge and appreciate your resilience, it will help to wire it into your brain and will be easier to access the next time you need it.
For more information on emotional resilience I recommend this interesting article from the Psychology Today website: 10 traits of emotionally resilient people.