For many, stress continues to build until a hair-trigger is released by an unexpected letdown. Changes in plans or inconveniences are met with impatience and emotional over-reactions. Sometimes another's negative mood or criticism can ruin entire days.
The antidote to this inner turmoil is emotional resilience, an element of emotional intelligence that allows one to adapt to and recover from stress and negativity more easily. The good news is that you can actively improve your emotional resilience and noticeably increase your happiness.
When you react easily to situations around you, it's time to build resilience. Life can feel overwhelming when we continually react to people's behavior and external circumstances. Developing an internal compass and the ability to shift perspective and emotions positively can help tremendously.
Traits of Emotionally Resilient People
People with strong emotional resilience tend to exhibit traits and behaviors like the following:
- High self-awareness
- The ability to face and accept painful experiences and emotions (rather than repress or ignore them)
- Well-defined boundaries
- Empathy for self and others
- Strong social network and support
- Realistic optimism and confidence
- Ability to “roll with the punches”
How to Boost Your Emotional Resilience
There are many ways supported by science to strengthen your emotional resilience. Here are just a few to get you started:
Grow your inner optimist. Actively practicing optimism can rewire your brain to see the good in life. Even if you don't fully believe what you're saying, you'll start to see the world differently. For example: If you start with the mindset that people have good intentions, you won't be upset by perceived slights. Or if you focus on the kind actions of your spouse, you'll be more likely to overlook the stress he or she brings home from the office. When you tune into the love you have for your teenager, the outbursts of teen angst will roll off your back.
Related reading: "What Is Resiliency and Why Parents Need It!"
Find resilient role models. Is there a friend, relative, colleague, or mentor who you feel has the kind of emotional intelligence and happiness you'd like to achieve? Adopt that person as a role model! Look to their examples of good emotional resilience and learn how they do things. Read biographies of successful people or companies that demonstrate agility.
Related reading: "An Unexpected Place to Discover Love and Resilience."
Keep (or develop) a sense of humor. Laughter really can be the best medicine. Practice using humor to combat knee-jerk negative reactions. Lost on a road trip? Crack a few jokes about it with your companions or lighten the mood with a witty comment. Practice giving self-compassion and not taking yourself so serious.
Practice confronting your fears. This is a challenge, but it's key to mastering emotional stability. By regularly facing anxiety with coping skills or replacing self-criticism with acceptance, you'll begin to lessen their power over you. The more you show yourself that you can be resilient, the easier adapting to tough circumstances gets.
When I ask people why they worry, there are generally a couple of reasons:
1) to prepare themselves for disappointment or a negative event
2) anxiety drives them to find solutions
However, science doesn't support either strategy. It turns out that the intolerance of uncertainty is more likely to intensify the negative outcomes or how we experience and interrupt events in our lives. Better to distract your attention or engage in activities that you enjoy and allow you to focus on the activity rather than your fear.
For additional tips on how to be more resilient, read "Resiliency—the Ability to Bounce Back."
Partner with Your Own Inner Life Coach
Desirous of up-leveling your life? A great start is building a support network of friends and family who believe in you. Having a community that supports us can provide us the encouragement and courage that is difficult on our own. Surround yourself with people who want to grow, too.
You can also utilize your own inner wisdom. Remember those times when you had a hunch and it turned out perfectly? What about those gut feelings that panned out? Although it takes practice to notice, to listen, and to act, you can support your best self. Noticing is one of the most potent practices of all. But don't just notice—act on your insights!
Need a helping hand? If you want extra support and a companion on the journey of self-growth, consider enlisting the help of Heartmanity.
With decades of experience helping people create lives they love, Jennifer offers more than just a listening ear. Using proven tools backed by brain science, she can help you understand your Emotional Quotient (EQ), break down your challenges, introduce new skills you can use to tackle them, and provide compassionate support throughout your journey.
Dive deeper: "How to Find Inner Peace by Resolving Conflicting Feelings"
If you think this support is right for you, sign up for our online Emotional Intelligence Course or call Heartmanity at (406-577-2100).