How to build emotional resilience

Ten Top Tips for Building Emotional Resilience

Most of us pay attention to our physical health by:

  •   Taking regular exercise
  •   Eating a well-balanced diet
  •   Sleeping well
  •   Limiting our alcohol intake

However, we don’t tend to pay quite as much attention to our mental health. One way to look after our mental health is to build and develop emotional resilience.

Life has an unfortunate habit of chucking stresses and traumas at us from time to time. The important thing is not the events in our lives that affect us but how we cope with it. When we are strong, empowered and resilient we can cope with life’s traumas much more efficiently and effectively.

Here are some tips for developing Emotional Resilience:

1. Having a Strong Social Network

Having caring, supportive people around you acts as a protective factor during times of crisis. It is important to have people you can confide in. While simply talking about a situation with a friend or loved one will not make troubles go away, it allows you to share your feelings, gain support, receive positive feedback, and come up with possible solutions to your problems.

2. Self Esteem

Self-esteem is the way we feel about ourselves. In order to lift our self-esteem remind yourself of your strengths, skills, talents and accomplishments. Becoming more confident about your own ability to respond and deal with life’s ups and downs is a great way to build resilience for the future.

3. Enjoy yourself

Doing things that you enjoy is good for your emotional health. Watching sports with a friend, having a soak in the bath, or meeting up with friends for coffee are examples of small activities that can improve your day. Doing something you’re good at, such as cooking, dancing or sports is a good way to enjoy yourself and have a sense of achievement.

4. Be Grateful

Take time to give thought to the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. You might like to keep a gratitude diary. Every evening take the time to write down at least one thing that you were grateful for during the day.

5. Embrace Change

Flexibility is an essential part of resilience. By learning how to be more adaptable, you will be better equipped to respond when faced with a life crisis. Resilient people often utilise these events as an opportunity to branch out in new directions. While some people may be crushed by abrupt changes, highly resilient individuals are able to adapt and thrive.

6. Be Optimistic

Staying optimistic during dark periods can be difficult, but maintaining a hopeful outlook is an important part of being resilient. Thinking positively does not mean ignoring the problem in order to focus on positive outcomes. It means understanding that setbacks are transient and that you have the skills and abilities to combat the challenges you face. What you are dealing with may be difficult, but it is important to remain hopeful and positive about a brighter future.

7. Develop your Problem Solving Skills

Research suggests that people who are able come up with solutions to a problem are better able to cope with problems than those who cannot. Whenever you encounter a new challenge, make a quick list of some of the potential ways you could solve the problem. Experiment with different strategies and focus on developing a logical way to work through common problems. By practicing your problem solving skills on a regular basis, you will be better prepared to cope when a serious challenge emerges.

8. Establish Goals

Crisis situations are daunting. They may even seem insurmountable. Resilient people are able to view these situations in a realistic way, and then set reasonable goals to deal with the problem. When you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by a situation, take a step back to simply assess what is before you. Consider a variety of possible solutions, and then break them down into manageable, achievable chunks.

9. Look After Yourself

When you are stressed, it can be all too easy to neglect your own needs. Losing your appetite, ignoring exercise, and not getting enough sleep are all common reactions to a crisis situation. Focus on building your self-nurturing skills, even when you are troubled. Make time for activities that you enjoy. By taking care of your own needs, you can boost your overall health and resilience and be fully ready to face life's challenges.

10. Practice Makes Perfect

Resilience may take time to build, so do not become discouraged if you sometimes struggle to cope with problematic events. Psychological resilience does not involve any specific set of behaviours or actions, but can vary dramatically from one person to the next.

Be mindful of the tips above and also remember to celebrate and build upon your existing talents, skills strengths and accomplishments.