“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”
Just picture a toddler learning to walk. How many times does he or she fall and get up?
What would happen if toddlers just gave up and stopped getting back up when they fell?
Now imagine what your life would be like if you had also given up getting back up, wiping yourself down and bullishly carrying on every time you encountered a set back.
Not a great image is it?
Emotional resilience is when you are able to calm your frantic mind after encountering a negative experience. It is intrinsic motivation, an inner force by which we can hold ourselves through all the downsides of life. It is innately human and in fact, all life on Earth has this inner force that motivates the get up and go after the failure or fall.
Emotional resilience begins to develop at birth and continues to develop throughout life. Babies show signs of resilience when they continue to cry despite nobody comforting them. It is only when they feel they have been abandoned and left behind to die that they stop crying. Their very survival relies on a carer responding to their cries.
Emotional resilience varies from person to person and what are the ways we can strengthen the power to bounce back from adversities.
According to Glyn Blackett, Coach and Therapist who has developed a resilience blueprint programme there are 5 important mind-body skills that make up emotional resilience;
*** Attention – flexibility & stability of focus
*** Letting go physical
*** Letting go mentally
*** Accessing & sustaining positive emotion
Self-awareness is concerned with awareness of your body responses and processes
including feelings, desires and urges to act, plus awareness of your thoughts and thinking patterns, and then crucially how these two relate to each other – awareness of how the mind-body connection plays out in practice.
He explains that “self-awareness is a prerequisite for choice and control. If your thoughts and feelings are operating outside of awareness, then they control you. If you want to control them, the first thing is to open up a window of awareness that is a chance to pause and consider before choosing, deciding and acting”
Attention; like a muscle in many ways, it can be trained.
Being focused means being present. When you’re not focused, your mind tends to be either worrying about the future or regretting the past. When you’re off in the past or in the future rather than the present moment, stress, anxiety and worry tend to set in. Eeeeks, that is not nice!
Letting Go physically; of muscles and tension, calming the body and reducing restlessness or agitation.
Letting Go mentally and separating yourself from your own thinking and the narratives running around untamed in your brain.
It concerns creating mental space, so that you differentiate your thoughts, beliefs and stories about the world, from the world in itself. As Glyn says, “your beliefs and stories are intimately bound up with emotions. So creating space around thinking tends to take the heat out of emotions – that’s it’s value”
Accessing & Sustaining Positivity; not simply the absence of negative emotion but an intention to stop feeding negativity by focussing on positivity.
Keep looking for the positives in any situation and continuing to feed that with more.
Here are some ways to build your emotional resilience muscle and to sparkle your life so that you can SHINE;
Build your connections
Connect with empathetic and understanding people to remind you that you’re not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate individuals who validate your feelings and care about you.
Find your tribe and your support network by joining an interest group or local community support group.
Practice self-care because stress is just as much physical as it is emotional. Promoting positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, plentiful quality sleep, hydration, and regular exercise can strengthen your body to adapt to stress and reduce the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression.
Practice mindfulness; journaling, yoga, and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can also help people build connections and restore hope, which can help you to deal with situations that require resilience. When you journal, meditate, or pray, focus on positive aspects of your life and recall the things you’re grateful for, even during the bad times.
Avoid negative coping mechanisms like alcohol, drugs or other substances which is the equivalent of putting a bandage on a deep wound. Focus instead on giving your body resources to manage stress, rather than seeking to eliminate the feeling of stress altogether.
Help others by volunteering with a local charity or simply support a friend in their own time of need. This can give you a sense of purpose, foster self-worth, connect with other people, and tangibly help others, all of which can empower you to grow in resilience.
Be proactive by accepting your emotions during hard times & working to solve them. Taking the initiative will remind you that you can find motivation and purpose even during stressful periods of your life, increasing the likelihood that you’ll rise up during painful times again in the future.
Move toward your goals by doing something regularly, even if it seems like a small accomplishment, that enables you to move toward the things you want to accomplish. It can increase your appreciation of the good times too.
Keep things in perspective by trying to identify areas of irrational thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophize difficulties or assume the world is out to get you, and adopt a more balanced and realistic thinking pattern. If you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, remind yourself that what happened to you isn’t because you are helpless & it isn’t a pattern that will happen in the future. You may not be able to change a highly stressful event, but you can change how you see it & respond to it.
Accept change; it’s a part of life. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can affect & alter.
Maintain a hopeful outlook. It’s true that it is not easy to maintain a positive outlook when life isn’t going your way. An optimistic outlook empowers you to expect that good things will happen to you. Try visualizing what you want, rather than worrying about what you fear.
Learn from your past to find the strength and courage to look forward to a brighter future whilst asking yourself what you’ve learned from those past experiences.
Life does not come with a road map, and you can guarantee that everyone will experience twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting impact, like the death of a loved one, a life-altering accident, or a serious illness. Each change affects different people differently, of course.
WE are all different.
Developing emotional resilience is like wearing a comforting blanket and slipper socks on a cold, rainy day in the north of England; exactly where I am now.
I am working on my own personal emotional resilience at this time. Challenges are coming thick and fast and I know this will get me through the tough times.
As always, I would love to know if this blog resonates with you and welcome discussion of all kinds.