All of us have had challenging times when the future looked absolutely bleak. The good news is that building emotional resilience is a way to get through the tough spots and be an even more stable and emotionally strong person after we emerge from a dark period. Here’s a guide to building emotional resilience.
What Is Emotional Resilience?
Emotional resilience means how stable and strong you are emotionally to withstand difficult times in life. Emotional resilience allows you to absorb life’s punches and keep going. You will still have bad times – everyone does – but your emotional and psychological health will be stronger if you have improved emotional resiliency.¹
Finding ways to help others and become purpose-driven will build up your emotional resiliency. This could be something as simple as volunteering at a soup kitchen once a week to something with a bigger time investment like coaching a local minor league hockey team.
Purpose and helping others gives you a feeling of accomplishment and belonging that can be hard to find just through meditation or reflection. Let your goals in life and your service to others be your secret ally that keeps you smiling.²
It’s not always easy to “think positive,” but doing your best to maintain an optimistic attitude about life and the future can do wonders. Try to retrain your negative self-talk or self-defeating thoughts and replace them with positive self-talk and thoughts.
For example instead of focusing on the fact that you don’t have a job, think of all the things you can do with your free time or the skills you can learn that will help you get an even better job than your last one. A can-do attitude can go a really long way.³
Accept and Face the Negative Emotions
When we try to repress down negative emotions and experiences of anxiety, stress and depression it actually reinforces them and increases feelings of shame. By fully accepting the negative emotions you feel and facing them you can process these emotions and emerge stronger on the other side.
There is nothing to be ashamed of when you are going through a hard time, and fully facing the negative feelings will give you the chance to become more comfortable with yourself and moving to a place of greater emotional strength.⁴
Become Closer to Loved Ones
Put your relationships to loved ones first and your emotional health will thank you. When we reach out to others, socialize and show care for them we build ourselves up too, securing our place in a circle of love.
When things get tough some people shut down and isolate themselves, but the problem is this can lead to internalizing all sorts of negative emotions. Instead, open yourself up to deepening the relationships around you.²
Make Moral Decisions
When you aren’t sure what you think is right and wrong, your emotional strength will start to waver. It’s very important to have a moral code that you stick to. This will give you increased emotional stability and resilience.
The next time you face a tough situation or choice you will know where you stand and be able to make a stand for what you believe is right, reaffirming your own worth and place in the world.³
Benefits of Emotional Resiliency
With more emotional resiliency you will have many benefits including understanding others more fully and empathizing with their struggles, putting control of situations inside yourself instead of depending on external outcomes, more optimism about the future and your own abilities, a better sense of humor about life’s tough times and a deepened sense of spirituality or religious faith connecting you to others and an appreciation for life.¹