Emotional resilience is the ability to cope with life’s adversities and being able to get back on track afterwards. The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’, which literally means “to bounce back”. It is a skill that’s important to develop if we want to become better at handling life’s inevitable ups and downs.
Some people are born with high emotional resilience. They are naturally more able to overcome problems more easily than others. However, with time and patience, it can be developed, as long as you are willing to work at it.
Resilient people see problems as temporary and tough experiences as opportunities to learn - not allowing themselves to be seen as, or feel as though they are, victims. They are persistent, self-confident, responsible, better in relationships with others and themselves, more mindful and have a higher level of emotional intelligence.
If you want to learn more about emotional resilience and mental toughness, and how developing these traits can make your life a bit easier, keep reading!
How to Develop Emotional Resilience
Developing emotional resilience and mental toughness takes time and patience. But the more you practice in day-to-day situations, the easier it will be for you to deal with more stressful situations in life as they arise.
Here are some ways you can start practising emotional resilience and mental toughness today:
1# Face Your Fears
Fears are there to be overcome. We can run from them and stay at our current level of consciousness (and become more afraid over time when confronted by that which we fear), or we can choose to face our fears – name them, sit with them, understand them, and finally, overcome them. Once we have done that, it will be much easier for us to face the next fear or problem that presents itself.
2# Foster Optimism
As hard as it may seem, optimism and positive thinking can help us to see good in every situation. When we are going through a tough situation, it helps to appreciate the good things we have in life and to see the crisis we are currently going through as only temporary. It doesn’t mean that you should ‘wear rose-tinted glasses’ all the time, but to realistically observe the situation and find the good in it, think about what you can appreciate at that moment, what you can do about it (if anything), and to understand that all is temporary. You can also keep a gratitude journal to help remind you of the things you are grateful for - to look back on when life gets tough.
3# Be Persistent and Patient
Patience is the most important tool to utilise when developing emotional resilience and mental toughness because these attributes don’t come overnight. You have to be persistent in trying to develop them every day and, in time, you will notice that you have become better at coping with stress and adversity. The key is to give yourself time and be persistent in doing your best to develop these attributes. You can always get help or seek advice if you need to, but do not give up!
4# Practice Acceptance
Accepting ourselves as we are and allowing ourselves to make mistakes is very important. We all make mistakes from time to time, but we must not punish ourselves – we have to accept this and search for what we can learn. We also have to accept all of our feelings as they are – we need to learn to name them, describe them and find out what they are trying to tell us, just as with our fears.
5# Be Comfortable with Not Having All the Answers
Not having all the answers is a part of life. You cannot have all the answers all the time, so it is important to learn to be comfortable with that. Here comes patience again – if we are patient the right answers will find us in time.
6# Practice Self-Care and Self-Compassion
Self-care and self-compassion are powerful tools in helping to build our emotional resilience. When life gets tough, remember to take care of yourself. You can do anything that nourishes your mind, body, and soul – take a walk, express yourself through writing, painting, drawing or exercise, or spend some time in good company. It is important to be compassionate, considerate and respectful towards yourself, especially when you are facing hard times.
7# Seek Helpful Connections
The people you spend your time with and how they think and behave will leave an impression on you, consciously or unconsciously, so it’s important to seek helpful connections. Surround yourself with emotionally resilient and mentally tough people. They can serve as role models and encourage your work on becoming emotionally resilient.
As you can see, developing emotional resilience and mental toughness is an ongoing learning process and a lifelong journey. Building these attributes will help you to deal with the stresses in your life with greater ease and become the best version of yourself. After dealing with problems and difficulties in your life, you will come back strengthened and filled with positive energy and confidence, because you allowed yourself to learn from the experiences.
The first step to take is to set a goal of becoming more emotionally resilient and then take small steps to achieve that goal. There are lots of things that can help you along the way, such as motivation, persistence, patience and willingness to treat yourself with compassion, love and self-care when dealing with difficulties.