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Last Updated on December 4, 2020

13 Things You Can Do to Build Emotional Resilience

13 Things You Can Do to Build Emotional Resilience
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When you are faced with challenges that shake you to your core, how do you respond? How you deal with your emotions shapes every aspect of your life.

If you don’t own your emotions, they end up owning you. I think we can both agree that this is a recipe for disaster.

If you cannot effectively cope with life’s challenges, you won’t get far in life.

Emotional resilience helps you develop healthy coping mechanisms and maintain balance during stressful times so that you become a master of your emotions.[1]

Resilient people are always thinking about how they can bounce forward when life knocks them down. Bouncing forward is all about being able to find a positive meaning from a seemingly negative event.

When you operate from this state of being, you are no longer living from a place of survival. Instead, you are thriving.

This idea is supported by the ground-breaking post-traumatic growth research of Michaela Haas. In her book Bouncing Forward: Transforming Bad Breaks Into Breakthroughs, she suggests that it is possible to find meaning in the mess. Struggle and trauma can lead to wisdom, growth, and happiness. It’s all a matter of perspective.

We’ve all had our emotions tested at some point in our lives. However, if you find that challenges tend to unravel you, this article will help you build emotional resilience strategies so that you don’t crumble under pressure.

What Is Emotional Resilience?

Emotional resilience is an art of living through which we empower ourselves to perceive adversities as temporary and keep evolving through the pain.[2]

In today’s rapidly shifting world, emotional resilience is the fuel that allows you to bounce back from life’s blows.

In case you haven’t noticed yet, life can be extremely unpredictable. One moment everything is going right, and the next moment your world is turned upside down.

You’ve got two options: You can either accept defeat or rise above it and transform your pain into possibility.

The Characteristics of Resilience

Everyone handles challenges differently. However, there are specific characteristics that emotionally resilient people share in common with one another.

Internal Locus of Control

Emotionally resilient people believe that life happens for them, not to them. Victimhood is not a part of their vocabulary. They take responsibility for everything that happens in their lives, both the good and the bad.

The foundation of having an internal locus of control begins and ends with the realization that you always have a choice of how you respond to life’s challenges. While you may not have control over external circumstances, you can always control your inner world.

Self-Awareness

Emotionally resilient individuals have high levels of self-awareness; they know who they are, what they need, and what they don’t need. As such, they are skilled at tuning into the messages that their body is giving them.

If something doesn’t feel good, they shift their state so that they are able to find their center again.

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According to Susan David, a Harvard Medical School psychologist who wrote in her book Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life:

“When we are open to difficult emotions, we are able to generate responses that our values align with”

Resilient people use self-awareness as a tool to better understand their thoughts and behaviors, so that they can rewrite old stories that no longer serve them.

Perseverance

Lastly, emotionally resilient people have an insatiable desire to succeed. If they can’t find a way, they make a way. They know that anything of value doesn’t come easy. Giving up is not an option. They know how to persevere.

As Newt Gingrich once said,

“Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.”

Every setback is viewed as an opportunity to grow and become more. Emotionally resilient people know that, in order to reach their desired destination, they need to surrender to the process and trust themselves.

Optimism

In times of struggle, it can sometimes be difficult to find a silver lining. However, emotionally resilient people are able to find the positives buried amongst difficult situations.

They have an unwavering belief in their strength to get through anything and everything. Research demonstrates that naturally resilient people have an optimistic explanatory style. That is, they explain adversity in optimistic terms, in order to avoid falling into helplessness.[3] Because they possess this mindset when challenges occur, they can shift out of fear fast and make empowered decisions.

13 Things You Can Do To Build Emotional Resilience

Emotional resilience isn’t something that you have or don’t have. It’s a skill that can be developed with practice. If you tend to fall into the trap of being emotionally reactive, the good news is that you have the power to change how you respond to challenges in your life.

1. Quiet Your Mind

If you are someone who likes to move at the speed of light, you risk letting your emotions getting the best of you. Mindfulness is a great way to calm your mind and be more present with your thoughts.

If you make this ritual a daily practice, over time, you will be less likely to get carried away by fear or worry.

It’s important to realize that the goal of meditation isn’t to control your thoughts. Rather, it’s to start observing them and noticing that they are just thoughts that come and go.

When you can find stillness amidst the chaos of life, you will be better able to manage difficult emotions when they arise.

Learn to practice mindfulness here: How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts

2. Accept What Is

Acceptance is the first step to overcoming anything. Oftentimes, this is one of the hardest things for people to do. It takes resilience to look at our reality and admit that things aren’t okay.

When bad things happen, your response may be to go into fix mode. However, that option isn’t always going to be available to you right away. Sometimes, you’ve got to sit with your feelings and be willing to receive whatever comes up.

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Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re giving up. It just means that you are surrendering to what is, so that you can make room for what will be. This is what will allow you to feel a greater sense of control over your emotions and your life.

When you start to accept things you can’t control in life, these 10 amazing things will happen.

3. Be Willing to Look at Your Mess

Let’s face it… looking at your mess doesn’t feel good. It’s way easier to find ways to suppress or ignore uncomfortable feelings. However, if you don’t give yourself the time and space to process difficult emotions, they only stay stuck in your body and become toxic.

The next time you find yourself struggling, resist the urge to run away from discomfort. Rather, acknowledge the mess and listen to what it is trying to tell you. Do an internal check and ask yourself, “Why am I feeling this way and what can I do to take back control of my life?”

4. Make Self-Care a Priority

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of life and forget about yourself. When it comes to building resilience, self-care is essential.

Self-care isn’t just about taking a bubble bath or treating yourself to a new outfit. Rather, it’s a lifestyle that is comprised of daily self-love habits. Over time, these habits become non-negotiable.

Your emotional and physical health are connected to one another. Did you know that your body responds physically to the way you think, feel and act? This is why it’s so important that you take care of your mind and body.

When you commit to taking care of yourself, you are better able to cope with life’s challenges from a proactive and healthy position.

Start taking up some of these 30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

5. Surround Yourself with Positivity

Do you surround yourself with positive people? If you are lacking ambition and feel stuck, it is highly likely that you are spending time with people who are bringing your energy down.

Negative energy is exhausting. If you want to be successful in life, you’ve got to be wise about who you choose to be friends with.

Make it a priority to surround yourself with people who inspire and challenge you to be a better person. If you do, you will be reminded of how much good there is in the world.

Plus, when life throws you a curveball, you will have a strong support system to fall back on.

Not sure who maybe bringing your energy down? There are 10 Toxic Persons You Should Just Get Rid Of.

6. Ask for Help

When it comes to navigating your way through difficult times, support means everything. As resiliency researcher Elliot Friedman says,

“The availability of social support in all its forms helps us in facing a challenge.”

Sometimes, it can be hard to reach out for help, especially if you are someone who likes to brave battles on your own. However, in some situations, you will need someone to lean on or get feedback from. This is supported by research that suggests that supportive environments have an important role to play in our ability to pick ourselves up when we fall.[4]

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Take a look at this guide if you’re not sure how to ask for help: How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So

7. Embrace Fear

Fear can feel like an ugly monster that holds us back from stepping into our power and living lives that we are proud of. When you experience fear, do you embrace it or run away from it?

For a lot of people, it’s the latter. This may seem like the smartest option given that fear doesn’t feel good. However, what if you could use your fear to catapult yourself forward in life? It is possible to do this, but only if you are willing to face your fear, head-on.

The best way to embrace your fear is to lean into it each and every day. Action is the only thing that builds resilience over time. When you do something that scares you, say to yourself out loud, ‘This too shall pass. I’ve got this.’

I wrote an article about overcoming fear that can help you: How to Overcome Fear and Realize Your Potential (The Ultimate Guide)

8. Learn from Failure

I believe that failure should be celebrated more often. Failing is a normal part of life. We all do it but we have been conditioned to feel shame around it. If you fail, it must mean that you’re a failure, right? Wrong.

In my opinion, mistakes are proof that you care and that you are willing to take calculated risks. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. The trick is learning from failure so that you don’t make the same mistakes again. Not convinced yet? Here’re 6 Reasons It’s Okay To Fail.

The next time that you fail (which you will), ask yourself, “What is this experience trying to teach me and how can I learn from it so that I become a stronger person?”

9. Live with Purpose

What is your reason for getting out of bed every day? If you don’t know the answer to this question is, it’s time to rethink what your purpose is.

A lack of purpose will voice itself most when you are struggling. In these moments, it may be difficult to connect to something bigger than yourself.

However, if you have a strong purpose, it will help you make sense of adversity. More importantly, it will motivate you to pick yourself up and move forward. People who live with purpose are better able to find meaning in all of life’s experiences, making them emotionally resilient.[5]

On the same note, finding purpose by contributing to the lives of others is a great way to transform the pain that you feel and channel that energy into something good.

If you’re trying to find your purpose, this article is useful for you: How to Find the Purpose of Life and Start Living a Fulfilling Life

10. Find Humor

During times of stress and hardship, it’s easy to spiral into negativity and take yourself too seriously. I’m not saying that pain is funny. However, I am saying that it’s a lot easier to move through your mess when you can laugh at it.

It’s okay to have a pity party and feel sorry for a situation that you may find yourself in. However, there has to be a point when you shift way from this state to one that is more empowering.

I have always found humor to be a powerful therapeutic tool. Research shows that the person who can play with a difficult situation creates an inner feeling of “This is my plaything; I am bigger than it . . . I won’t let it scare me.”

11. Move Your Body

Your emotions are stored in your body. If you don’t express yourself through movement and allow the energy to flow through you, what do you think happens? When your body gets stuck, so do you.

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Negative energy loves stagnation. If you don’t move your body, all of that toxic energy will only create a downward spiral of negative emotions. When in doubt, move.

The easiest and healthiest way to shift your emotional state is by shifting your physiology. When the power is flowing through you, without interference, the negativity in your body will begin to break up.[6]

The next time that you feel stuck, dance, run or shake — whatever it takes to find freedom in your body and create resilience in action.

12. Express Your Truth

When you hear the word, ‘vulnerability,’ what words come to mind? For a lot of people, it’s fear, shame, guilt and mistrust.

This is because we are brought up to believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness when, in actuality, the opposite is true. If you want to strengthen your emotional resilience, it will require that you shift your internal narrative about vulnerability.

Yes, it takes an insane amount of courage and resilience to show up in this world as your true self. However, the alternative sounds a lot scarier. Not speaking your truth is a surefire way to live a life of fear and hide behind a mask so as to make others feel comfortable.

If being vulnerable scares you, practice it with your close friends in an environment where you feel safe and supported. Over time, you will get used to sharing your feelings with more people.

When you can connect with yourself on a deeper level and aren’t afraid to be fully seen, you become a more mentally stronger person. You become committed to living in alignment with your truth. There is nothing more powerful.

Learn more in this article: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

13. Develop Resourcefulness

You don’t become resourceful just by luck. Rather, you only develop this skill when you are faced with experiences that force you to find solutions to your problems.

The American Psychological Association defines that:[7]

“Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress”

The most resourceful people are also the most resilient. They plan for adversity, in the sense that they flex their mental muscle and have a plan in place if life throws them a curveball. As such, they don’t merely survive through life’s most difficult situations. Rather, they become stronger.

When disaster strikes, resourcefulness is your most important tool against defeat. There is nothing that you cannot handle. Believe it.

Final Thoughts

I hope these strategies inspire you to start strengthening your emotional resilience.

Life will knock you down. However, it’s up to you whether or not to lose your spark. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Wipe away the tears, get up and continue to move forward.

Your inner power is the quiet force within you that knows when to act and gives you the strength to do so. Listen to it and believe that, no matter what happens, you’ve got this.

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More Tips About Building Resilience

Featured photo credit: Masaaki Komori via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Ashley Elizabeth

Resilience Mastery Coach and Motivational Speaker

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Last Updated on July 22, 2021

How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business
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Remember the day you launched your own business? You had spent months or years developing your idea. You may have sacrificed a steady job to become the master of your professional destiny. Having entrepreneur motivation was easy, natural, and energizing in the beginning.

So, why are you struggling to stay motivated now when you need it most? Your business, after all, isn’t going to build itself.

Nearly everything in life experiences cycles. The solar system, hormones, your washing machine—and yes, even motivation. Movement is inherent in cycles. If you stop moving, your business simply grinds to a halt, and you may find yourself looking for a job after all.

The mere threat of stagnation should be enough to get your entrepreneur motivation mojo back online. If that’s not enough, here are eight ways you can stay motivated as you build your business.

1. Recognize That Business Motivation Doesn’t Last on Its Own

Ironically, the first step in staying motivated is realizing that motivation doesn’t last—at least not without some effort. Think of the verbs associated with motivation, such as “incite,” “stimulate,” and “inspire.” They all speak to elevating something low.

Highs and lows, ebbs and flows, are all cyclical. There are days when you have so much you want to accomplish that you won’t have the hours. On others, you may struggle to even get dressed. As does every aspect of your business, motivation requires constant care and feeding. So, don’t despair during those times you feel bottomed out. Recall the almost manic thrill you get when your entrepreneur motivation seems to be unstoppable and concentrate on recapturing it.

Motivation neither just happens nor lasts. It takes focus, drive, and a conscious effort. When it lags, roll up your sleeves, choose a task, and get back to the business-building at hand.

2. Expand Your Network

No business or entrepreneur can operate in a bubble. Connection to customers, vendors, employees, and other entrepreneurs is vital to growing a business. It’s also motivational. I find that one of the things that makes me most energized about my business is the connections I make while networking.[1]

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Networking effectively is about give and take, which means you only get as good as you give. Be generous with your thoughts, ideas, and connections, and others will reciprocate.

These days, there are myriad networking channels to choose from. There are the tried-and-true conferences, industry and professional organizations, and even your local Chamber of Commerce. But the internet and social media have vastly expanded the opportunities to connect with other empire-building, ambitious people.

If you aren’t networking because you didn’t think it was worth your time, get out there. Not only will you pick up some great ideas, but you’ll also find yourself reinspired. Few things are as motivating as encountering other people’s enthusiasm for your business.

3. Focus on Your Goals

We all know that goals are important. If we fail to set them, how do we know when we have achieved something? In business, as in life, we need targets.

For me, having a goal focus is intrinsically motivational. Have you met all the business goals you set previously?[2] Then, it’s time to set some new and even more ambitious ones than before.

Keep in mind that business goals can be moving targets, as circumstances change and reality sets in. What you must avoid is allowing yourself or your business to be paralyzed by indecision.

As Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

The mere exercise of setting goals is energizing, so use the process when you’re in a slump. Make sure you set realistic goals—neither too high nor too low. Once the big ones are in place, establish mileposts so you know your business is on the right path.

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4. Stay True to Your Mission (or Find a New One)

Unlike goals, the mission of your business should not be a moving target. While a mission can and should be reassessed periodically, it must, nonetheless, remain a constant for a significant period of time. That’s because it should be driving everything you do.

The world changes quickly. Customers, technology, markets, workforces, and supply chains are in a constant state of flux. In my business, the challenge has always been to respond to change while remaining true to our mission.[3] On this point, Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept is spot on.[4]

According to Collins, your mission can be found at the intersection of three key truths about your enterprise:

  1. What you’re deeply passionate about
  2. What you can be best in the world at
  3. What drives your economic or resource engine

You should find motivation in the mission of your business. If you don’t, perhaps you aren’t passionate about it, can’t be the best in the world at it, or aren’t making money delivering it. If that’s the case, find a mission that intersects, and you’ll rediscover your entrepreneur motivation.

5. Celebrate Wins and Learn From Losses

Too many times, business owners fail to celebrate wins and learn from losses. That’s unfortunate because both wins and losses are two well-known secrets of entrepreneur motivation. If you aren’t treating them as the motivators they are, you should be.

Go back to those goals you set when you started your business. Have you achieved them?

If you did, have you taken the time to celebrate those wins with your stakeholders? If you haven’t reached them, figure out why, make adjustments, and try to turn them into wins. Wallowing in losses instead of learning from them and moving on is a sure way to lose motivation.

Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins as well. In my company, we ring a gong every time we land a new client so the small victory reverberates through the office. Doing this builds our confidence, generates enthusiasm, and motivates our team to aim higher. I recommend finding your own way to acknowledge the small wins that are necessary to achieve those major victories your business needs to flourish.

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When a lack of motivation sets in, take stock of everything you have accomplished. Pat yourself on the back and bask in the glow of achievement. That pause may be all you need to motivate you to achieve more success.

6. Identify Your Disruptive Powers

When you launched your business, were you just joining the pack? Or did you want to fill a gaping, empty market niche? Odds are, you believed you had a solution to a problem that no other business was figuring out.

Take Uber, Netflix, and Blue Apron. They disrupted the taxi, movie, and food industries by putting a revolutionary spin on the traditional way of doing business. In doing so, they solved problems the market wasn’t even aware it had.

The business you’re building may not be the next Tesla, but that doesn’t mean it can’t disrupt an industry, a sector, or just your local business community. You might discover a new customer service paradigm or a way to use technology that no one else has.

You can’t be innovative without being motivated, and if you aren’t motivated, your business will only achieve the status quo. So, start imagining ways you can disrupt your industry to kickstart your motivation. Even little ripples can turn into serious waves.

7. Spend Some Time Away

Building a business is exhausting during normal times. Throw in the stress and radical changes accompanying a global pandemic, and life can become overwhelming. This can lead to depression, indecision, paralysis, or even sheer panic.

You can’t control the world, but you can control your response to what’s happening. Start by stopping your attempts to do it all and set some priorities instead. When overwhelmed with life, one of those priorities must be yourself.

Spend some time away from work to recharge. A bit of respite is the only way you can replace the energy and inspiration sapped by a turbulent world. Work to overcome the feeling that your business can’t run without you, especially when your lack of motivation isn’t doing it any favors anyway.

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A little rest and relaxation may be all you need to return to the office reinvigorated. If your break involves travel, exposure to different places and cultures might even spark new trains of thought. You will be motivated to pick up where you left off and get back to growing your business.

8. Remain Customer-Centric

Whatever widget or widget service you sell, you have customers. Your lack of motivation does a disservice to a market looking to your business for solutions. When your business motivation wanes, think of those customers counting on you to succeed.

Keeping your eye on your customers isn’t a distraction from building your business. The most successful companies in the world are extremely customer-centric. Think about Apple’s uncanny ability to anticipate customer needs or Google’s cloud-based growth stemming from empathy for the challenges facing their customers.

Perhaps, there is a relationship between your lack of motivation and customer neglect. Remaining vigilant about their needs will determine whether or not your business is successful. To conduct surveys, read customer reviews, and do market research to discover those needs. After all, if you aren’t solving their problems, what are you doing?

When the noise from the daily demands of running a business gets too loud, tune it out. Listen to what your customers are saying about you and what they’re asking for. Responding to them will require focus, as you are motivated by your dream to build a successful business.

Final Thoughts

Motivation is movement, action—a driving force of human nature. Although it waxes and wanes as naturally as the lunar cycle, restoring business motivation can require a concentrated effort. It’s an effort you’ll want to make because a prolonged lack of motivation is deadly.

If you lack the motivation to eat, you starve. If you lack the motivation to drive in your lane, you crash. If you lack the motivation to build your business, you fail.

You are obviously a highly motivated individual. If you weren’t, you never would have started a business of your own. Entrepreneurs are, at their cores, a rare and uniquely inspired breed.

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So, when your entrepreneur motivation flatlines, don’t give up. Whether the spark comes from a personal connection, a new goal, a brief vacation, or a customer comment, there are ways to get yourself back on the business-building track again.

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

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