An Overview of Emotional Resilience

November 02, 2020

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Last week, I talked about self-confidence. Diving deeper into the concept of self-confidence and why I find it to be so important, I eventually landed on a much more resonant term: Emotional resilience.

The American Psychological Association (APA) describes emotional resilience as contributing to the ability to flexibly adapt to life’s stresses and adversities – in overcoming these difficulties, and often growing through them. Does this concept sound somewhat familiar? It should, because this is a lot of what I talk about day in and out, on live stream, social media, and in my daily life. The APA even compares building resiliency to building a muscle, in that it takes time and intentionality, which is an analogy I’ve leaned on to explain this general concept to others before I knew the terminology.

But, until this week, I didn’t have a word or phrase that so accurately captured my life’s passion.

Building emotional resilience.

Now, to be clear: I am not a mental health professional, licensed or otherwise. I am a mental health advocate and as such, I share personal experiences and insights alongside research-based strategies I’ve found for handling mental health issues. With that in mind, you can expect to hear a lot from me about emotional resilience in the coming months and years. The truth is, it’s what I’ve already done, so this isn’t new, it’s merely refined.

In case you’re unfamiliar, I’d like to do a quick overview of the APA-recommended strategies for building emotional resilience. These topics will be my guiding star to enable me to speak from a more informed place.

  • Strengthen connections by nurturing your existing relationships and participating in communities.
  • Maintain the best physical health you are able to given your situation.
  • Be mindful. This can be general mindfulness practices or active meditation.
  • Don’t attempt to mask or hide from stress with unhealthy distractions like drugs or alcohol.
  • Build self-worth and a sense of purpose by helping others.
  • Proactively break down your stressors into manageable parts and tackle them one piece at a time.
  • Always be looking for ways to take another small step towards your goal.
  • Seek out self-discovery.
  • Try to recognize when you are overwhelmed or in a panic state so that you can step back for perspective.
  • Accept when things change. Nothing is constant and sometimes even our best plans are no longer feasible.
  • Stay hopeful by centering your thoughts on what you want, not what you fear.
  • Reflect on and learn from the past.

If you’ve been around to hear me talk about anything at all, you will recognize a lot of these as central talking points for me. Now, I am equipped with the right words and information to dive even deeper on these concepts in a research-based way.

I personally believe that emotional resilience is important now, more than ever, as we are bombarded by global news, stress, and disaster. Even the most level-headed people I know are struggling to cope with the state of the world. I can’t fix the world or wish away the pandemic, but I can do my best to help build up our collective emotional resiliency by sharing what I know and hopefully setting an uplifting example in my own choices and behavior.

Are you ready to build emotional resilience with me?

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