Life can sometimes throw us numerous curveballs and we may feel temporarily knocked down. When going through tough times, it can be difficult to believe that one will ever be able to recover from these challenges but I am here to remind you that we do thanks to our inner resources or what we sometimes refer as emotional resilience that allows us to cope in the midst of adversity.
Emotional resilience is a concept that relates to how people may respond to difficult or unexpected life circumstances (Troy et al., 2023). People respond differently to each life crisis. Life crises may lead to intense emotions and uncertainty. However, we can typically adjust to challenging or stressful situations well over time. The process of effectively adjusting to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or causes of stress, such as family and relationship issues, health issues, workplace stressors, or financial stressors, is known as resilience.
Resilience can be characterized as “bouncing back” after adversity; it can also entail personal development. An individual can manage, improve, and increase their emotional resilience in a variety of ways. A person’s ability to bounce back from adversity and improve their situational outlook can be enhanced by cultivating inner resources. The degree of resilience varies based on a number of factors. An individual’s age, identity, life events, cultural beliefs on how to manage challenges, how they learned to cope with stress and adversity, external environmental stressors, among other variables, could have an impact.
There are numerous techniques to improve one’s emotional resilience. Here are my top five:
- Strengthen your sense of self. Knowing your personal talents, good qualities and inner strengths and areas of growth will enable you to actively tap into your strengths during difficult situations and work towards areas of growth. One way to do it is making a list of your strengths and have it handy so you can read it each day as an affirmation or read it when going through a hard time.
- Reframe Mistakes as Lessons Learned. Making mistakes is common and occurs frequently in daily life. If you notice ruminating after making a mistake or being harsh on yourself, create space for self-compassion and identify what lessons can be learned from the moment. Mistakes allow us to grow.
- Be Yourself. This can assist you in staying aware of your emotions. One can greatly reduce the amount of anxiety they may be carrying around by being honest with themselves and others. You can be yourself by not always aiming to please others, not comparing yourself to others, getting to know more about your likes and dislikes, and appreciating and accepting yourself.
- Maintain perspective. This encourages a deeper understanding of the different possibilities at play, approach difficulties, and challenges through several lenses. One can recognize that the current situation might only be temporary by taking a pause and looking beyond it. Remind yourself that you have experienced low points in the past and have survived as best as possible, identify any feelings you may be experiencing, and seek help from someone you trust.
- Pay attention to your warning signs. When feeling overburdened, worn out, despairing, enjoying things less, losing your appetite, or showing other indicators of a state of decline it’s important to take a step back and take care of yourself. Self-care should be practiced, and if these emotions or feelings are being experienced, take the time to talk to someone. Self-care, which includes mental, physical, emotional, religious/spiritual, and social care, is the process of forming everyday routines to maintain and enhance our wellbeing. Self-care can look different for everybody and there is no one right way to practice it. Self-care improves wellbeing and helps one’s energy levels to reset.
In order to develop emotional resilience, one does not necessarily need to go through hardships. You may strengthen your own emotional resiliency by using the tools and ideas suggested. You can identify your own strengths as well as places for improvement by strengthening your sense of self. Instead of focusing on the bad parts of the situations,you can change the way you think about mistakes by framing them as lessons that can help you grow. Being yourself helps you build your self-confidence and bring your authentic self into any situation. Keeping perspective can be hard but challenging yourself to see past the momentary difficulty helps transform a difficult moment. No one knows you better than you do, therefore it’s important to pay attention to any specific warning signs. I hope these tips and techniques are helpful and contribute to the strengthening of your emotional resilience.
Troy, A. S., Willroth, E. C., Shallcross, A. J., Giuliani, N. R., Gross, J. J., & Mauss, I. B. (2023). Psychological resilience: An affect-regulation framework. Annual review of psychology, 74,547-576.
Janese Matos is a graduate counselor at the Hope Center for Wellness. She is a second-year graduate in clinical mental health counseling at The Chicago School. Her mental health passion lies in supporting children and adolescents experiencing depression, anxiety, traumatic symptoms, and other mental health challenges, to cope with their distress and to achieve crucial developmental and emotional milestones. She also works with young adults and adults.