How To Build Emotional Resilience That’s (Almost) Bulletproof
Ever wish you were mentally indestructible? Great news – it’s possible with emotional resilience.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on July 9, 2023
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I have a question for you.
When something bad happens – how do you react?
Do you shake a little, grab a coffee, and start looking for solutions?
Or do you succumb to your problems and begin to feel sorry for yourself?
If you chose the latter, you definitely need more emotional resilience.
Given that difficult times are inevitable, it’s almost imperative to build resilience.
A strong emotional resilience is what helps you to deal with stressful situations and cope under pressure effectively.
When you are resilient, instead of losing your cool, you can take hard circumstances all in one stride – and thrive on them!
That being said, how can we define emotional resilience?
Is it a behavior that can be learned?
How can you build emotional resilience?
Let’s see what it’s all about.
EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE – FEEL STRONGER, BE BRAVER, STAY COOL
What Is Emotional Resilience?
Emotional resilience can be defined as your ability to bounce back quickly or recover from a hard situation. If a person is resilient, he/ she is more able to adapt in the face of hardships and move towards the solution.
So, this behavioral trait determines how you deal with life’s difficulties as well.
Emotional resilience can also help you protect your health since it means you are not giving in to stress and anxiety easily.
Can resilience be learned?
Is it easy?
Different People Have Different Levels Of Emotional Resilience
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to easier or harder emotional resilience or learning to be resilient.
We all come from different backgrounds, carry specific life experiences and beliefs.
You might be a person who finds it pretty easy to stay resilient because you’ve already had a lot of situations where your resilience was tried. It’s because going through tough experiences “makes your skin thicker” every single time.
You’ve survived bad things in the past.
Therefore you feel like you can cope and go through anything.
On the other hand, you can also be someone who is going through clearly too much, and you may find it hard to stay emotionally resilient.
It’s simply because too many problems at once are exhausting and it brings your morale down.
I’ve been such a person many, many times in my life.
And you can also be someone, who was mainly living a calm and comfortable life.
Since there weren’t much of the situations to try your resilience, you may go into a real shock when something distressing happens.
This is one of the reasons why people develop anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and other problems.
You’re simply not prepared for complicated things.
But the good news is it doesn’t matter which one you are right now.
Emotional resilience can be developed, just like any other skill.
It may be easier – or harder for you, but it’s always possible.
How Do You Develop Emotional Resilience?
1. Be Open
During hard times, it helps to have a friend you can lean on.
Talking is therapeutic and helps you to get a feeling of support which very needed in stressful times.
To gradually build your emotional resilience, t ry to develop a good social network of a few positive and supportive friends, family members, relatives or mentors.
The simple fact that someone cares for you can help strengthen you emotionally and mentally.
Also, your friends can help you explore different avenues to solve the situation or problem.
If not, they can at least offer some helpful advice or distract you from the issue.
Now, if you’re an introvert or simply someone who doesn’t have a lot of friends, it’s totally fine.
I’m an introvert myself and often I’m more comfortable spending time alone than meeting other people.
However, being an introvert doesn’t mean that you have to skip talking to someone.
You can always talk to someone online (like on 9 cups of tea) or you can chat to a therapist on Talkspace (and no, you don’t have to talk to him/her directly if you don’t want to, you can write in a chat).
2. Practice Positive Affirmations
When bad things happen in our lives, negative thoughts tend to overload our mind.
But if you let them, negative thoughts can cripple your resolve and ability to remain strong.
Instead of listening to the negatives in your head, be courageous and speak positive affirmations to yourself.
Repeat them on a day to day basis and write them down.
Here’s an example:
Also, remember those supportive people I mentioned?
Make sure to surround yourself with like-minded people to help keep you on the straight and narrow.
3. Focus On Your Needs
Hard times often cause us to neglect our health, and we tend to mop around seeking comfort food or… refusing to eat altogether.
But I guess you noticed at some time that junk food causes your energy levels to spike, before drastically decreasing a few hours later.
Ultimately, instead of feeling better, you become fatigued and moody.
Additionally, skipping meals is just a straight way to feeling even worse.
Instead of neglecting your health, try to eat as healthy as possible and develop an exercising habit to improve your mood, increase your energy levels and have a healthy coping activity for those hard days.
Related: How to eat your way to better mood
Also, try to (and if you need to – even force yourself) to engage in fun activities you love.
The more regular and positive your activities are, the easier it is to go through a stressful period in your life because you keep adding little “pick-me-ups” to your situation.
Focus on sleeping enough as well, as this can help improve your mood and protect your overall health.
P.S. If you have trouble falling asleep when there’s stress in your life, you must read this: How to sleep with anxiety: 3 steps to a calm & comfortable night
4. Embrace The Change
Change is inevitable and highly resilient people are always aware of this fact.
Hence, they are highly adaptable and flexible to change.
They look at the change as a possible new opportunity – even if this change is unpleasant or uncomfortable.
Whenever life throws a curveball at you, accept it as a new challenge.
Push through and make the best out of it every single time. Let every positive or negative change become a road to something better.
This mindset will help you to build resilience whenever a negative situation happens.
With time, you will grow your emotional resilience, and every new problem will shake you up less and less.
I know it’s tough to accept it with grace when something stressful happens, but if you don’t even try, then you lose immediately, without even a fight.
5. Focus On The Positive
Remaining positive in stressful situations is a hard skill to master, but not an impossible one.
To maintain a positive attitude, you’ll need to change your perspective.
Change your perspective to one that perceives the problematic situation as a temporary and amendable (and they almost always are anyway).
“Sounds great Amber, but how do I do that?”
First, step back from the situation and instead, focus on your favorite activities.
Watch a movie or read a good book to clear your mind a little.
This will also ensure that you don’t make any hasty decisions.
Once you’ve calmed down a little, try to sort your thoughts out to find out if you are making a bigger deal out of nothing.
You can do that by writing a diary, journaling or doing a few CBT exercises.
Writing down your thoughts and analyzing them can help you notice irrational beliefs and even help you find a possible solution.
Sometimes it’s just around the corner of your anxious mind.
Building Emotional Resilience – The Bottom Line
Follow these tips to build emotional resilience within you and soon you’ll notice that every new problem feels just like a new, fun challenge to overcome.
Here’s a sum-up overview of what you’ve learned in this article.
To build emotional resilience…
Have someone to talk to and don’t be afraid to open up about your problems.
Practice positive affirmations.
Focus on your needs when stressful events happen.
Embrace the change.
Focus on the positive no matter what.
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