5 Ways to Build Emotional Resilience

As humans, we need adversity to grow stronger.

Run with it instead of running away from it.

Events and different stages of life can bring challenges or stresses, affecting how we work and live.
How we react and deal with them can determine how quickly we recover.

Being resilient in difficult times is a skill that some people seem to do better in than others.
The good news is, it’s a skill that can be learned and developed.

Here are some ways I’ve learnt, (and still learning!) to be able to bounce back or just keep on going through difficult times.


Self-acceptance –  being happy with yourself, accepting your strengths AND weaknesses. Reach for this.
Also recognise we are overloaded on Social Media with everyone else’s ‘amazing lives’, leaving people with a feeling of not good enough.
Reduce Social Media if it’s not making you feel good. YOU ARE good enough. Be kind, respectful and caring to yourself.

Acceptance of life – that life isn’t fair. Let go of the thinking of how things ‘should’ be.
Develop a sense of humour, honestly because things just don’t always happen the way we think they should!
Laughing about life and at ourselves is a good strategy.

Simple breathing exercises calm us down
, slowing the heart-rate and relaxing the brain.
Spend just a minute or two, breathing in for 5 seconds, breathing out for 5. Get into a habit of doing this.

Pause and breathe when you’ve been caught in an unexpected difficult situation. It relaxes you and gives you a moment to figure out a way to handle the situation. 


This is what we do for ourselves to look after our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
It’s what we need to do to stop us from getting depleted or bring us back from being depleted.
We might picture bubble baths and spa days and this could be where self-care is often mistaken for being selfish and indulgent. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.
What you need, to be able to keep going, can be different for everyone, so bring in what works for YOU.

Getting a good night’s sleep can make a big difference to how we’re feeling and coping. It’s my first ‘go to’ when I’ve a lot on or a bit run down. Day to day you may need to slow down a bit, or meet friends or have some time alone. Perhaps a simple walk or going to the doctor. It’s whatever needs to be done to allow you to keep going.

Do stuff. Being resilient is being able to keep going. When you’re not doing, you’re not going on.

Make plans, meet friends, have a night out. When we’re anxious, we tend to put off or call off things.
Sometimes this is good for our self-care but check why you’re putting it off.

Set some goals that stretch you a bit but aren’t too high. Challenging ourselves builds our resilience skills.
Let go of perfection and be ok with making mistakes.
Do some scary things, you will become less scared and your fears won’t seem as big.

Seek evidence and deal with facts

Our thoughts and beliefs affect our emotions but often they are just thoughts, not facts.
If you have limiting beliefs that are holding you back, know that your mind will find the evidence to back them up, often based on fears.
Question and challenge your limiting beliefs and look for the
 evidence to build new empowering beliefs

“Focus on what you can control.” – Michelle Obama
When you deal with facts and not assumptions, you’ll know what you can or can’t control. Focusing on what you can’t control, wastes your energy and isn’t helpful to you. Focusing on what you can control, moves you forward.

One thing I’ve also had to learn is patience.
Last year, I was going through a particularly tough time. During it, I was doing ‘all the right things’ and waiting for the ‘feeling stronger, feeling better’ part to kick in.
This didn’t happen in the way I thought it should. I had to bring in patience and acceptance of where I am, what’s going on and that it’s ok, I’ll be ok. 

I did get stronger and feel better but it wasn’t a clear end point that I reached.
It’s a constant willingness and commitment to keep going. It can be ugly and messy but also empowering and great.

Finally, being resilient can be different for all of us. Find your support, talk to someone if you need to. Be kind to yourself and keep going.


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