Resiliency is one’s ability to recover from stress; to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances, inner and external states and overall being able to manage stress effectively. Resiliency has four components to well-being; physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. There is growing awareness, research and resiliency-based practices and implementations within personal and professional industries that support building overall resiliency for enhancing wellness and well-being.
Emotional resilience is one’s ability to recover from stress on an emotional level. It directly relates to how we react and respond emotionally to stress stimuli, including situations, conversations, interactions, relationships, as well as our ability to recover afterwards. Being able to recover emotionally from stressful situations is a vital indicator of emotional well-being. Self esteem and confidence is correlated with our ability to accept emotionally stressful experiences and return to a regulated, present state of being.
Positive self talk is also a significant factor in understanding emotional resilience; our feelings and emotions are entwined with our thoughts. Self talk influences our emotional state and our emotional state influences self talk. Studies have shown positive self talk to play a role in one’s cognitive and behavioural output as a mediating factor of resiliency.
Therefore, emotional resilience can be built on practices and techniques that engage with positive self talk. There are many modalities that encourage and support building emotional resilience. Techniques for cultivating positive self talk that can be directly implemented into daily life are shared below for enabling a greater sense of well-being and emotional wellness.
Understanding emotional resilience
Emotional resilience is in part an indication of well-being and therefore vital in maintaining awareness in consideration of a healthy lifestyle. Being able to recover from emotionally stressful thoughts and situations reflects one’s overall sense of satisfaction, happiness and health in life. Without emotional resilience, one struggles with challenges and can often lead to feeling helpless, overwhelmed and potentially not feeling able to cope with varying levels of stress.
Stress is an on-going conversation in modern day society; in many respects it has become an aspect of living with, rather than living without. Instead of trying to eradicate stress from our lives, the beliefs and perception around stress can be altered through techniques such as mindfulness. Being open to accepting stress when it arises, as opposed to ignoring, blocking or denying it is a significant outcome in being able to cope.
Emotional resilience plays an important role in situations that require teamwork and cooperation. Supporting and sharing responsibilities in the workplace for example, correlates to emotional resilience in coping with stress. Without these aspects in place, professionals are at risk of struggling with isolation and burnout.
Emotional resilience connects to the body’s reaction to stress; feeling emotionally overwhelmed, reactive, defensive, angry, sad, afraid are examples of negative emotional experiences. Positive emotional experiences relating to resilience include acceptance, patience, forgiveness, joy and gratitude. Rather than polarising towards negative or positive emotions and labelling them as such; mindfulness supports cultivating a neutral response to emotions.
Instead of forming judgments about emotions, that they are ‘bad’, ‘wrong’ or ‘good’, one practises observing and experiencing emotions as neutral. Mindfulness increases one’s ability to recover from negative emotions as well as generate positive emotions. Furthermore, not taking things too seriously, opting for accepting emotions as they come and go is supportive of this practice too.
Benefits of building emotional resilience
Building emotional resilience provides greater emotional stability, acceptance and adaptability to the ever-changing life experience that is happening from moment to moment in our daily lives. With greater flexibility in how you respond to situations that have the potential to evoke a stress response which may turn to arguments, disagreements, tension, strain and so on. Repeated and heightened levels of stress responses over time cause detriment to well-being.
Benefits of building emotional resilience:
- Lower levels of stress
- Reduce chances of chronic stress and burnout
- Greater self esteem
- Greater acceptance (of self, others and life circumstances)
- Responding mindfully rather than reacting in destructive ways
- Healthy expression of emotions
- Greater self awareness and therefore being mindful of self and others
- Greater compassion towards self and others
- Greater sense of inner peace and harmony
Gathering courage and determination to commit to building emotional resilience has a knock on effect to improving other areas of your life and overall well-being. Relationships become richer as greater self compassion, understanding and forgiveness is practised. Cognitive function improves through the practice of mindfulness based techniques and positive self talk relates to self esteem, which can be received by affirming statements and feedback by significant others in our lives, as well our ourselves.
These aspects filter into and improve:
- Significant relationships (spouse, partnerships, children, peers, friends)
- Focus and attention span for improved cognitive functioning
- Behaviours and habit patterns that support your desires and goals in life
- Physical well-being
- Mental well-being
- Spiritual well-being
Techniques for positive self talk
You may be familiar with these techniques, yet are invited to consider them as a foundational part of forming positive self talk. Perhaps returning to them now is the right moment. There are always depths in practices to be discovered and new learnings and experiences waiting to unfold!
Raising awareness of moment to moment experiences such as meditation, taking a walk in nature, mindful practices such as yoga, qi-gong, tai chi; any movement that you can bring awareness to the syncing of the body and mind with the breath.
Other activities may include baking, gardening, spending time with animals, painting, art. Remember, make it fun!
Beginning with a short 5 minute meditation, you can work up to 10, 15 and 20 minutes gradually. Basic, simple awareness of the breath enables the mind training to return to the present moment, experiencing what is, rather than being carried away with the mind’s thoughts and images that distract us. The benefits cultivate a greater sense of inner peace, harmony and balance.
Begin with removing all distractions, set yourself up in a quiet, comfy space and position. For more inspiration and support on meditation, click here.
Journaling regularly provides an opportunity for expressing thoughts, highlighting the quality of them, whether there are repetitive thoughts and themes that relate to something deeper such as a limiting belief. Journaling is a great way to uncover and get closer to the roots of upset, such as not feeling good enough, unworthiness and not belonging.
Some journaling prompts to get you started:
- When I think about “……(a situation/person/object) I feel ……”
- These thoughts create a feeling(s) of …… in my body
- What beliefs do I have around this situation/person/object and how can I support myself here in moving through this?
Affirmations to support positive self talk
Affirmations are the use of words, phrases and sentences to create feelings of self love, acceptance and compassion. By training the mind to open to hearing, speaking and listening to supportive, kind and encouraging statements, you receive validation. Furthermore, you can activate neural pathways that reinforce positive feelings of love, acceptance and compassion, bringing you into a more positive frame of mind that builds emotional resilience.
Examples of affirmations for building self esteem:
“I am worthy and deserving of love.”
“I am inviting and receiving greatness into my life such as love, acceptance and abundance.”
“I am Whole and Complete as I am today, in this moment and always.”
Recommended to read out loud, slowly and a few times each day to cultivate feelings of love, acceptance and compassion.
A step further than acknowledgement and validation, celebration is recognising yourself as whole and complete. Celebration of yourself can bring up mixed feelings as parts of conditioning from younger years that have been reinforced over time may block true self celebration from happening. However, similarly to the other practices, celebration is something to practise over time and integrate into your life.
Benefits of self celebration include:
- Promoting feelings of emotional wellness and well-being
- Supports self love, acceptance and compassion
- Builds greater self esteem as you recognise your achievements, results and satisfaction
Maintaining positive self talk in daily life
The practices shared can be woven into your daily routine to support yourself fully in building emotional resilience. The benefits of greater emotional resiliency extend from emotional wellness and well-being to all areas of your life. Becoming present to what is happening and unfolding around you enables a richer life of experiential growth, uplifting your soul, body and spirit.
Being able to respond from a place of balance and presence lessens reactive stress and emotional build up within yourself and in relationships with those around you. There is greater harmony in and around you and your relationships as a result too. Emotional wellness is key to lowering emotional stress and with many supportive techniques to channel emotional stress and relieve tension, the benefits of cultivating positive self talk are bountiful.
Committing to at least one practice begins to reduce emotional tension and stress and build emotional resilience. Trying out each technique, choosing which works best for you and building it into your day is ideal in maintaining a connection to yourself. Positive self talk is a foundational piece in building emotional resilience, not to be underestimated; the messages we send and receive to ourselves have a direct correlation to self esteem and confidence.
To read more about self talk as a tool for well-being, I have an article here to share. If you feel called to find out more about the techniques shared in this article and would like clarity on building emotional wellness into your life as a maintainable practice, feel free to find a well-being practitioner here.