Emotional resilience is about accepting and managing your emotions rather than being a piece of flotsam being flung around by them. It’s accepting and welcoming all emotions as they come, and knowing they will also go again.
I often drive people crazy by saying that you can control how you feel. This is because we have feelings and emotions all mingled into each other in our minds. Feelings are not the same as emotions. Emotions are chemical reactions to situations. Feelings have been processed and had a meaning attached. One of my friend tells it like this – Emotions are Energy in Motion. They are a wave, they are not to be clung onto.
Just like everything else, this is something you can get better at.
Be aware of how you are feeling.
Ask yourself how you are. Fine or good is not an acceptable answer, try again.
Where do you feel that in your body? What is the cause? What do you need to do about it? The answer might be nothing, I need to sit with this for a while, or it might be I need to let this go.
Be grateful for all the is good in your life. Also show gratitude to others, say thank you. Show kindness and be generous to those around you.
No act of kindness is unselfish. It always makes you feel good to be good to others. Do you remember the episode of friends where Phoebe and Joey are trying to do something selfless? They don’t manage it!
Build a deeper bench.
Who have you got on your team that will support you in tough times? Think of your family, friends, neighbours and colleagues. Would you be willing to support them if they were going through some shit? Of course you would! So have trust that they will be willing to support you in the same way when you need it.
Ask for help.
Being resilient doesn’t mean that you have to do everything yourself. Sometimes the bravest and best thing to do is to say you need help. Let someone know when you are struggling, and lean on them. Remember, the aim is to not hit rock bottom, not to do everything single handed.
When my car feels like it’s not running right, I could choose to ignore it until I’m sat broken down on the hard shoulder, or I could ask a mechanic to look at it and get it sorted before it comes to that. The secret is to take stock of the warning lights, and take positive action to remedy them before the whole engine explodes.
If you’d like to go back and read the previous posts in this series, the introduction, physical resilience and psychological resilience are here.
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