What is Emotional Resilience?

Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress
such as, family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It means “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

What influences Emotional Resilience?
Emotional and physical resilience is, to a degree, something you are born with. Some people, by nature, are less upset by changes and surprises where this can be observed in infancy and tends to be stable throughout one’s lifetime.

Emotional resilience is also related to some factors that are not under your control, such as age, gender, and exposure to trauma. However, resilience can be developed with a little effort. If you know what to do, you can become more resilient, even if you are naturally more sensitive to life’s difficulties.

What are the Traits of Emotional Resilience?
Resilience is not a quality that you either do or do not possess; there are varying degrees of how well a person is able to handle stress. Still, there are certain characteristics that resilient people tend to share. Some of the main characteristics are:

Emotional Awareness:
People with emotional awareness understand what they are feeling and why. They also understand the feelings of others better because they are more in touch with their own inner life.

Perseverance:
Whether they are working towards outward goals or on inner coping strategies, they are action oriented and they trust in the process and do not give up.

Internal Locus of Control:
They believe that they, rather than outside forces, are in control of their own lives. This trait is associated with less stress because people with an internal locus of control have a realistic view of the world where they can be more proactive in dealing with stressors in their lives, in addition, they are more solution oriented, and feel a greater sense of control, which brings less stress.

Optimism:
They see the positives in most situations and believe in their own strength. This can shift how they handle problems from a victim mentality to an empowered one where more choices open up.

Support:
While they tend to be strong individuals, they know the value of social support and are able to surround themselves with supportive friends and family.

Sense of Humour:
People strong in emotional resilience are able to laugh at life’s difficulties. This can be a huge asset, as it shifts one’s perspective from seeing things as a threat to seeing them as a challenge and this alters how the body reacts to stress. They are often able to have a good laugh and this brings benefits as well.

Perspective:
Resilient people are able to learn from their mistakes (rather than deny them), they see obstacles as challenges and allow adversity to make them stronger. They can also find meaning in life’s challenges rather than seeing themselves as victims.

How to become more Resilient:
As mentioned, emotional resilience can be developed because stress and change are a part of life, there are always opportunities to practice resilience and the payoffs are significant. All it takes is an interest and commitment to the process and a little information on how to develop and strengthen traits of resilience.

© 2017, Content: Dr Vasilios Silivistris – Artwork: Ian Francis. All rights reserved.

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