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Emotional Resilience

Emotional Resilience is one’s ability to respond to stressful or unexpected situations and crises, which are events that are absolutely guaranteed to all of us who are living and breathing!

In John 16:33b, Jesus reminds His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

He doesn’t say, “you might have trouble,” or “depending on the current events you may have trouble.”  He speaks to His disciples with an absolute certainty of the trouble that is to come.  As a normal part of this life, even for the Christian, you will be in one of these three stages at any time in life:  (1) headed into a storm; (2) in the middle of a storm; or (3) exiting a storm.

Therefore, it is essential that we equip ourselves with tools necessary to bounce back from troubles.  Let’s strengthen our emotional resilience to combat whatever the world throws our way.

Differences in Low and High Emotional Resilience

Low emotional resilience can be linked to an inability to cope with the stresses of life, and an impact on mental health and physical health.

High emotional resilience allows you to accept problems, live through adversity and move forward with life.

The encouraging thing is that emotional resilience is a skill which can be strengthened over time.

Elements of Emotional Resilience

Below are some key elements to foster emotional resilience.  Which of these needs work in your own life?

  1. Healthy self-esteem.  Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself.  Self-esteem can be categorized as follows:  
    1. Overly high self-esteem.  Individuals with overly high self-esteem may feel superior to others, can be arrogant, self-indulgent, and express feelings of entitlement.  They tend to overlook their own flaws. 
    1. Low self-esteem.  Individuals with low self-esteem may feel inferior to others, tend to value the opinions of others above their own, and focus on their weaknesses rather than their strengths. 
    1. Healthy self-esteem.  Individuals with healthy self-esteem have an accurate and balanced self-view, recognize and accept their abilities and their flaws, their strengths and their weaknesses.
  • Flexibility.  Being mentally flexible and rolling with the punches of life, helps with your emotional resilience.  Flexibility is not to be confused with being “flaky” or non-committal.  Mental flexibility is the ability to practice detachment from an outcome as necessary, in order to correct the course.
  • Positive self-talk.  There is a theory that suggests each of us thinks approximately 30,000 thoughts a day!  We are constantly thinking, and most of our thoughts involve ourselves.  Some of our thoughts may be judgmental, and some of our thoughts may be compassionate.  The goal is to observe them, and shift the narrative to have a more positive self-talk.
  • Emotional Regulation.  When things don’t go as planned, your ability to keep your composure, regulate your emotions, and stay level-headed, could prevent you from making a rash decision that you may regret later.  Furthermore, the better we get at regulating our emotions, the healthier our relationships will be because we are not dependent on others to regulate our emotions for us.
  • Strong Relationships.  We were not meant to do life alone.  We thrive in community.  In community is where we can provide and receive emotional and practical support, pray for each other, sharpen and strengthen one another, and enjoy each other’s companionship.
  • Positive Coping Strategies.  The things we do for fun are crucial for emotional resilience.  We need to find ways to decompress and destress.  Whether you play a sport, play an instrument, go for walks, exercise, draw, read, bake, or see new sights, it is important to make time for ourselves and engage in positive coping strategies.  Your faith and biblical worldview can be considered a positive coping strategy!  Another positive coping strategy that needs to be emphasized is having a sense of humor! We have a tendency to take ourselves too seriously at times.  Smile more!  Smiling signals to our brains that we are safe.

Evaluate yourself using the above seven elements to emotional resilience.  Which ones are strengths for you?  Which ones need work?  Journal your thoughts.  Come up with a game plan to strengthen the elements that need work, so that you can be better prepared for the next storm.  

Celebrate the ones that you are strong in.  Verbalize gratitude to your Heavenly for providing these elements to you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18 reminds us, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”