Enhance your emotional resilience
How is it that some people can handle what we perceive as large amounts of stress in their day to day life and yet others would easily fall apart?
More resilient people tend to be able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties, while less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes. To help increase your resilience here are some mental strategies that will help you bounce back after experiencing or perceiving a stressful event:
- Challenge the negative self-talk
One way to do this is to reframe our mistakes and look at them as a way of learning. Instead of interpreting everything that goes wrong as a failure, we can change our thinking to see it is an opportunity for growth and learning. The key in doing this it to let go of the idea of trying to be something we’re not and continually seeking perfection.
- Break the habit of worry
Many people rationalise feeling worried because they believe that it somehow protects them and makes them less vulnerable. When in actual fact worrying robs you of enjoyment of the present and stops you from living life to the fullest. The truth is that you are in control of your life and you can choose how to react to situations. Regain control of your life by following these simple tips - Observe your habitual worries, then rationalise them. Ask yourself is there something I can do or control regarding this issue? Write down your worry, set a time to work on it, then let it go (for now).
- Swap pessimism for optimism
Research has found that optimists fair much better than pessimists in many areas of life including handling stress, physical health and general wellbeing. The good news for all those pessimists is that optimism can be learned! Try enhancing your optimism through acknowledging the good things in life, be proud of your achievements or act optimistic even when those nagging thoughts keep appearing!
- Use mindfulness to reduce the impact of stressful events
We have all been there before where we keep replaying a stressful event or story over and over again in our head, only prolonging those stressful feelings and inhibiting our ability to move on. By practicing mindfulness (paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally - Jon Kabat-Zinn) we can start to increase our self-awareness and begin to separate ourselves from negative and unhealthy thought patterns. This assists us in recovering more quickly from a stressful event and reduces the impact and influence of stressful thoughts and feelings. For more info in how mindfulness can increase your emotional resilience check out this fascinating talk by Jon Kabat-Zinn and Neuroscientist Richard Davidson.