The term “emotional meltdown” evokes images of toddlers throwing tantrums, as in not yet being able to regulate their emotions. However, for those of us who have PTSD and/or have been through massive traumatic events, our emotional quotient can rival that of a toddler, on any given day.
Emotional resilience is what enables people to bounce back after difficult experiences. Fortunately, this is a skill that you can develop to get through stressful times with greater ease.
Here are some of the benefits of becoming more emotionally resilient and a few strategies for developing this very helpful skill.
The Benefits of Becoming More Emotionally Resilient:
- Experience greater happiness. Adversity is to be expected but you can control your emotional reaction. By putting the best face on things, you’ll see the opportunities for learning and growth that come with challenging situations. A positive attitude will also help you recover from disappointments more quickly.
- Make progress towards your life goals. Complications will arise throughout your life. Being flexible makes it easier to accept and surmount the obstacles that arise in your path. For example, if one scholarship fails to come through, explore other options for financing your college education.
- Strengthen your relationships. People are naturally drawn to happy people. You’re likely to have more harmonious relationships if you can keep up your spirits. By contrast, depression often makes others feel like withdrawing.
- Boost your self-esteem. Becoming more adaptable helps you accomplish more. In turn, those accomplishments and healthy relationships will help you feel more confident.
- Act responsibly. Under pressure, you may feel tempted to engage in activities that may cause you future harm. Emotional resilience helps you to keep your composure and makes you less prone to saying something that you might regret later.
- Protect your physical health. Chronic stress can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, obesity and many other conditions. Cultivating a calm mind helps your immune system keep you healthy. Studies show that managing stress can even help you maintain your cognitive functions as you age.
Methods for Becoming More Emotionally Resilient:
- Know your purpose in life. It’s a big endeavor, but discovering your purpose in life is fundamental to your ability to navigate challenges. Some people find meaning in their faith traditions and others define it in secular terms. Whatever approach you take, being on a mission keeps you motivated.
- Set realistic goals and make specific plans. Some things are beyond your control, but smart planning can enhance your stability. Set goals you can achieve and break them down into manageable steps.
- Be aware of your emotions. It’s easy to get swept away by strong emotions. If you can be mindful of what you’re feeling, you can give yourself room to evaluate the situation before reacting. Rather than exchanging angry remarks, acknowledge that a co-worker’s criticism in front of colleagues embarrassed you and look for a constructive solution.
- Practice patience and persistence. Make a commitment to yourself to see things through even when difficulties arise. For example, if you get declined after one job interview, transfer your energies to the next opportunity.
- Slow down. Sometimes you get more done by slowing down. Lack of sleep or perpetual multi-tasking can cause stress to build up. Give yourself a break to refresh your mind.
- Act happy. Just trying to appear happy can often help you lift your mood after a setback. Treat yourself to a funny movie or call a friend who always makes you laugh.
- Learn to ask for help. Make it easier for your loved ones to support you. Practice asking for help in a respectful manner while being specific about what you need.
- Be generous. The more you give to others, the more likely they are to reciprocate in your time of need and the better you’ll feel about yourself.
Emotional resilience is a powerful asset for accomplishing more in life and experiencing greater contentment. Protect your physical and emotional health by learning how to adapt to challenges.