Emotional resilience is trendy, so read on. Basically, this means that if you are emotionally resilient, you can bounce back from most setbacks that life can throw at you. In times of stress, failure or even a natural disaster, your emotional resilience will be put to the test. The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means to bounce back. Business people, social workers and school children can all benefit from this emotional fitness. So, how emotionally fit are you? Let us look at what these people never do because they have a natural talent to cope with the stress of everyday living.

1. They don’t  waste energy on negativity

When these people are in a traffic jam, they accept that it is part of the deal of commuting to work. They are able to take advantage of this and listen to their favourite music on their MP3 or the radio. They realize that their anger, bad mood or temper is not going to change the situation one little bit. It is just another part of acceptance but also an opportunity. They are also able to reflect on what is going well and how grateful they should be. “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.” – Allan Lokos

 2. They don’t reject mindfulness as rubbish

Living in the present and savoring sensations and feelings is the core teaching in mindfulness. Emotionally resilient people know this instinctively or learn it. They use it as a protective shield against the following toxic emotions:

  • Regrets about past decisions
  • Envy of others’ success
  • Worrying about the future

 3. They don’t let tragedy mark them for life

We all have scars and we all have suffered from tragedy whether it be break ups, illness, bereavement, job loss or mental illness. Now emotionally fit people can see that this adversity is short lived. They have a goal which will enable them to overcome the sadness and become a stronger and more capable person. They see change as an integral part of life and are prepared for some moments of despair, sadness and discomfort. They have often been compared to a bamboo cane in a storm which is bent by the force of the wind but is not broken.

4. They don’t lock themselves away

Emotionally unfit people tend to wallow in their own downward spiral of negativity. But the resilient ones are going to find the time to make real social contact, keep physically fit by going for a walk or a run, and help the less fortunate. They know and savor the fact that these are healthy distractions which are essential for self-care.

5. They don’t limit themselves to one solution

These people are prepared to admit that they see everything through a filter. They look at a problem from many angles and try to think outside the box. They know that their own personal bias can become a default position. That is why they seek to widen their view knowing that they are growing towards empowerment. They are also prepared to wait, rather than seeking answers and quick fix solutions.

6. They don’t control their impulses

Our impulse control is governed by the size of the orbitofrontal cortex region of the brain. Research shows that people who had a smaller cortex were more subject to more impulsive behavior such as shopping, drinking, smoking, gambling and sex. Emotionally resilient people tend to keep these impulses at bay by thinking about consequences and how they will feel afterwards, when it may be too late.

7. They don’t let time heal

“It’s not the load that breaks you down; it’s the way you carry it.”- Lena Horne

Time heals sorrow, loss and trauma. But many emotionally unfit people are not prepared to let time take its course. It is as if they wanted to abolish all the pain and suffering with one magic pill. They are more aware of chronological time rather than kairos time. The latter is one of the keys to emotional resilience because it teaches us about the pace with which our personal journey moves forward with all the emotional inheritance we have gathered along the way.

8. They don’t laugh enough

“To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it.” – Charlie Chaplin

If you read the book by Drs. Steven and Sybil Wolin called ‘The Resilient Self’ you will learn how humor and laughter play a very important role in helping to build emotional resilience. Humor helps us to see the absurdity of a situation which may be painful. In addition, laughter itself is a physical reaction which can reduce the stress hormone called cortisol and increase the feel good endorphins.

9. They don’t regard happiness as a top priority

Research has shown that where couples are dominated by one partner who is always right, the couple’s happiness was at risk. The preference of being happy rather than always right is a trait of emotionally resilient people.

10. They don’t persevere enough

If people do not have clear goals, they tend to quit after minor setbacks. But emotionally resilient people can see the bigger picture and can follow an action plan which helps them achieve mini goals. They regard setbacks as minor interruptions. This is why these people never give up. As we have seen emotionally resilient people are able to keep calm and collected in the face of enormous setbacks and not lose their hope or determination. Let us know in the comments below about how you cope with stress and failure.

Featured photo credit: Bamboo in the wind/ Luis Alejandro Bernal Romero via flickr.com

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