What is Emotional Resilience and Can You Develop It?

How do you tend to react when things don’t go to plan? If your answer is‘cool, calm, and collected’ then congratulations, you probably have emotional resilience! For some people, emotional resilience is an innate trait present from birth that allows them to handle stressful situations when s**t hits the fan with clarity and strength. For others, it would be a ‘panic mode activated’ situation.

If your default is to panic when a negative or stressful situation arises, then the good news is emotional resilience is something you can learn. If you’ve ever been envious of the person who can seemingly handle anything that life throws at them without letting it knock everything else off course, then you’re in luck because we’re going to help you master the art of emotional resilience for yourself.

Being able to handle something that doesn’t quite go the way you wanted it to, is the first step to adapting and overcoming the hurdle without letting it derail all your hard work in other areas. It’s the mark of a strong mindset and the confidence in yourself that you can quickly change course and carry on working toward your goals. That’s why here at Morale, we think emotional resilience is a trick everyone should have up their sleeve.

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience refers to someone’s ability to respond and adapt to stressful situations or crises. People who are more resilient are able to roll with life’s punches without letting it get them down or forcing them off course. People who struggle with resilience are more prone to getting knocked down when life throws an unexpected curve ball and taking more time to get back on their feet afterward.

Don’t get us wrong, emotional resilience is not about winning the battle, but the strength and mental resolve to let adversity roll off the shoulders. When obstacles appear on the road, emotional resilience is the ability to adapt and sidestep them, rather than resorting to panic and scaling the mountain at your feet.

Emotional resilience is defined as the art of living entwined with self belief, self compassion, and enhanced cognition. In short (and simpler) words, it is the ability to perceive adversities as temporary and adapt to find a workaround. Effectively, it’s a person’s bounce-back-abilty!

Emotional resilience has been broken down into three categories:

  1. Physical- referring to physical strength, energy, and health
  2. Psychological- referring to adjustability, self esteem, emotional awareness, and reasoning
  3. Social- referring to relationships, communication, cooperation, and likeability

Tips for building emotional resilience

To some extent, emotional resilience is something you are born with and some people are just programmed to let things roll off their shoulders. It’s also related to a few external factors, like your age or experiences. For example, a small child is going to perceive a minor inconvenience as the end of the world as we know it whereas someone with a few more years on them can assess the situation for what it actually is. Likewise for people who have dealt with previous trauma or who have had more real-world experiences than another person.

However, that isn’t to say that just because you aren’t born with it you can’t have it. Resilience is often described as a muscle, exercise it enough and it will become stronger.

Be realistic

Life isn’t always plain sailing and obstacles do challenges do arise more often than not. Coming to terms with the fact that life is full of ups and downs and no journey is ever really an uninterrupted straight line will help to soften the blow when obstacles do present themselves. By being pragmatic, you can mentally prepare yourself for when things go awry so they don’t cause such a blow to your master plan or self esteem. Once you have come to terms with the rollercoaster that life is, it’s easier to maintain a strong emotional resolve in the face of adversity and see obstacles as a challenge to overcome rather than a dead end.

Be optimistic

Maintaining a positive outlook on life is another way to keep yourself in check when things don’t go to plan. Instead of getting worked up and focusing on the negative, keep focusing on the positives. We don’t mean live totally in a rose-tinted happy-go-Larry world but maintaining a bit of perspective is a good way to stop yourself from hyper-fixating on the problem you’re facing.

We know it sounds cliché but try to look on the brightside of the situation. What are the positives you can take from this, or what can you learn from this? Remind yourself of your past accomplishments and remind yourself that you’re totally capable of finding a solution. Focus on your sense of purpose (and your sense of humour) and keep powering through.

Practice flexible thinking

We’re sure you’ve heard the phrase ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ before, and this refers in some way to flexible thinking. Flexible thinking is when you look at a situation from another angle or a different perspective. Instead of seeing it as a disaster, try and see it from an alternative point of view. Flexible thinking can help you find new ways to solve a problem, adjust to changes, and deal with uncertainty, ultimately making you more emotionally resilient when life hands you a lemon.

Practice mindfulness

There are lots of techniques you can use to check in with yourself and make sure you’re staying grounded in the reality. Keeping your mindset in check is a great way to build emotional resilience through increased self esteem and self confidence. Journaling and affirmations are two of Morale’s favourite mindfulness techniques. Journaling is a great way to release your emotions and practice gratitude, whilst affirmations boost your self belief and give you the push to adapt to change.

Talk it through

When something doesn’t go to plan, talking it through with a trusted friend or family member can help you not only release your negative emotions and relieve the weight from your chest but also help you to find a workaround. Sometimes discussing the situation from another perspective or just talking through the process can help to unlock solutions or new ideas that you didn’t have before. Your friends or family members will no doubt have some good advice for you too! By talking it out you’re giving yourself an outlet for the negative emotional energy that has built up, by getting it off your chest you aren’t letting it get the better of you and influence your decision-making process.

We mentioned it a bit before, but affirmations are a fantastic tool to boost your self esteem and build a positive mindset. Having a positive outlook is a necessity for staying on track when s**t does hit the fan, and it will, because, that’s life! Being prepared for any obstacles that may arise is the trick to staying one step ahead, so instead of stepping backward you’re only stepping around. By downloading the Morale app, you can ensure your mental health, is in tip-top condition. Send and receive daily affirmations within your contact list for a little extra self esteem boost every day, reminding you that you are more than capable of navigating any challenges that life may throw at you.

Our app is available for download from Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

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We’re always looking for helpful feedback, so if you’ve got some for us, send us an email to contact@moraleapp.co.