What is Emotional Resilience? – Part 1

Following Mel Lisney’s article last week regarding Emotional Resilience, Mel now provides us with some practical advice on improving Emotional Resilience.
How do we work on our resilience?

So, how do we work on our resilience? There is no “one size fits all” answer, although there are some established elements that we can explore:

• Self-awareness and self-appreciation
• Positivity and perspective
• Wellbeing
• Supportive relationships

Self-awareness and self-appreciation are at the foundation of our resilience. We need to acknowledge how we are feeling and why, in order to work out what comes next. This is a rational process and helps us to make intelligent choices, for example – if we are feeling good and we know why, let’s have more of that in our life. Conversely, if we are not feeling good, what can we change? It’s important to appreciate that the things we have most control over in life are how we choose to think and respond to what is going on around us.

Culturally, we may feel uncomfortable about the idea of self-appreciation but there is only one relationship we cannot avoid in our life – and that is the relationship we have with ourselves. Would you hang on to a friend who tended to point out all your faults and mistakes, telling you that you don’t deserve to succeed? Hopefully not. Why then do we talk to ourselves that way? Treat yourself as a loving, supportive friend would – with kindness, tolerance and encouragement. When we treat ourselves well, we naturally treat others that way too. Someone once told me “You are better than you think you are and not as good as you could be” and once I’d come to term with the meaning, I found it quite a helpful way to start my internal conversations.

Positivity can get bad press because some see it as unrealistic denial of difficulties. In reality, positivity is about taking stock of circumstances and then asking: “How do we make the best of this?” The way we think about things is up to us, as is the way in which we use our imagination. The difference between a problem and an opportunity is the way we chose to think about it.
There are probably a number of things that are important to you in your life at the moment. Be clear with yourself about what these are and then acknowledge that it is these things that are worthy of the emotional highs and lows. That leaves a whole lot of things that are not!

It can be difficult to put things in perspective when we are in the middle of a pressured and stressful situation. It seems counter-intuitive to get away from the situation that demands our action but that is what we need to do – either physically or mentally. It is only when we detach ourselves from the storm that we can see it for what it is, something that we could better understand and something that will pass. Just 10 minutes away from your telephone or laptop can help you to work more effectively.

However bad we think our life is, there are millions of people who would love to have our life.

Wellbeing is a popular topic and there are plenty of suggestions as to what we all need to do in order to achieve life-balance, optimal physical health and effective cognitive functioning. Let’s keep this brief….. You know those things that you enjoy doing but keep putting to the bottom of the “To Do” list because you are so busy? Move them up the list. Whether you like to swim, dance, read, drink green smoothies, socialise, get pedicures – these are things that provide a proven detox in your busy lives.

Part of the self-awareness that was mentioned earlier, is that we probably know what helps or prevents us from having a good night’s sleep or more energy. Wellbeing is not optional, it is our responsibility to look after ourselves first and foremost. There is a reason why the flight safety announcements given by aircrew, stress the need to put your own oxygen masks on before you tend to anyone else. That is because if you don’t, you become part of the problem. If you are not looking after yourself, you are not able to fulfil your own potential or help anyone else.

Supportive relationships, of course start with the relationship with ourselves. We are all in need of relationships with others in order to survive. The evolution and survival of humans has been founded upon our capacity to form collaborative and cooperative interdependencies. Some people are better at recognising that they need help and support than others – and some are certainly better at asking for it. Asking for help can sometimes feel like personal failure – an admission that we are not perfect. My theory is that it is our lack of perfection that makes it possible for others to relate to us. Just think about how it feels to be asked for your help or input on something – pretty good, right? Get to know those around you who can be relied upon to respond well to a request for help and identify appropriate groups/organisations for any specific support needs you may encounter.
… and a Happy New Year!

Make sure any changes you decide to make for a more resilient you, survive beyond 10th January. When we make our resolutions, we are thinking of breaking an unhelpful habit or starting something new that will benefit us. Be really clear what this change will achieve. The more we want that change, the easier it will be. If you are aiming to stop doing something or to cut something out of your life, you cannot leave a void. If you stop something, you need to put something in its place – preferably something which will benefit you in some noticeable way.
Fill 2018 with JOY

Mel Lisney, Workplace Trainer, Optimal Management Development Ltd can be contacted at melanie@optimalmanagement.co.uk