Emotional resilience refers to your ability to adapt and bounce back when something difficult happens in your life. However as mentioned previously, developing your emotional resilience only helps you deal with pressure more effectively, helping you to reduce the impact that stress has on your life. What it does not change is the actual situation that is causing the pressure in the first place. That can only be changed by the choices that you make in your life.
The simplest, most well-known method of developing your emotional resilience, is through relaxation. This can help you to relieve the symptoms of stress, calm you down and provide an opportunity to take a step back from a stressful situation. No matter what form of relaxation technique you engage in, they are all based on the combination of breathing more deeply whilst aiming to relax the muscles in the body. Don’t worry if you find it difficult to relax at first. It’s a skill that needs to be learned and it will come with practice.
The three most common methods of relaxation include:
Meditation – participants sit silently and pay attention to the sensations of breathing or other regions of the body, bringing the attention back whenever the mind wanders. You do not have to sit cross legged for hours on end to effectively meditate.
Yoga – participants often move through a series of postures that stretch and flex the body, with emphasis on awareness of the breath. There is no need to twist your body into complicated ways such as wrap your legs around your head upside down to feel the benefits of yoga.
Tai-Chi – participants perform a series of slow movements, with emphasis on awareness of breathing. You do not have to be a tai chi master, wearing silk pyjamas to partake in tai-chi.
If these three forms of relaxation are not your thing, or you are short of time, then the best if not most effective methods are the ones that help to change your thoughts, feelings and ultimately your actions.
To go a bit deeper here, have you ever asked yourself how your habits form? How your beliefs form? Ever wondered how to change your thoughts and beliefs to more constructive ones? Well your habits and beliefs were formed from one thought or feeling or action. That same cycle is repeated over and over again until it forms a habit. For example if you think you are stupid, you feel stupid and in time you act stupid. OR you think you are kind, you feel kind, and in time you act kind. It is almost like creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If this particular cycle of reinforcement continues a habit is formed. (Research suggests it takes thirty days of repeating this cycle until it becomes a habit). Once these habits are enforced further, they become part of your belief system. From here on you can see why it’s difficult to change some of our beliefs/habits that become less beneficial for us. This is especially the case in the coping strategies we have developed in helping us manage when we start to feel overloaded and unable to meet the demands or pressure of a current situation.
To help in this process we need to start making small steps to change our thoughts, feelings and actions. Below are some quick, effective methods that are known to be useful that will subsequently aid you in developing more effective habits, beliefs and ultimately better coping strategies.
1) Positive affirmation statements
Positive affirmation statements are almost like simple mantras that can be used to boost and maintain your mood. Say them to yourself or even out loud. Then as you say them truly believe them.
Examples of positive affirmation statements include:
• Every day in every way, I am getting better and better
• I deserve, happiness, health, wealth and abundance
• I am happy, I am healthy, I am wealthy
2) Worry reduction box
In everyday life people have worries but they struggle to know what to do with them. This is a simple and effective way to relieve your worries.
Be creative, get a box and put it to one side in your home. When you have a thought of worry, write on paper and stick it in the worry box. What you will find is that the impact of your worries will become reduced.
At the end of each month empty your worry box and read over the worry slips you have put in the box. What you will also find is that the worries you had written down were never as bad as they seemed.
3) Personal first aid kit
Everybody is aware of a first aid kit for physical injury but very few know about or have a first aid kit for psychological injury. Everybody has times when they may feel down, or upset but afterwards they struggle to move forwards and develop a more positive mind set. Well help is at hand when you develop your own personal first aid kit.
Get a lunch box and put in it in things that bring you a sense joy, happiness or hope into your life when you see it, touch it, feel it.
For example in your personal first aid kit you could put a favourite poem, quote book, photograph of a friend/family, favourite perfume or a bath bomb, etc.
When you have created your ‘personal first aid kit’, use something from it whenever you feel low, down, upset, etc.
In a short period of time you will notice a shift in your thinking.
4) Positively challenging negative thought
At times we all think negative comments about ourselves and for some individuals this can happen regularly. A simple way to overcome a negative thought is by asking yourself the following questions:
• What evidence is there for this being true?
• How can it be true?
• When has this ever been true?
Another way is acceptance and overcoming the negative thought. You have a negative thought and say to yourself ‘I accept this’, however I also know that I am loving, I am caring, I am healthy, etc
5) One minute time out
At points in your day, just have a time out and just sit for period of time for one minute. It could even be while you are at your desk writing or on the computer. Stop, be still (you can still keep your eyes open or even close them and rest). It’s almost like having a mind break. Then just continue with your work. Try and do it a few times throughout your day.
Remember changes are not going to happen straight away, but consistency in their application on a day to day basis will help to change your thoughts, feelings and actions, whilst on deeper level improving and developing your emotional resilience