I met with a friend the other day who inspires and humbles me with the way she deals with her life. She has a number of factors that have the potential to make her life really stressful and yet she seems to take it all in her stride. I started to think about other people I know, including myself and about how we all deal with stressors in our lives.
The very next day I was on a training course about mental health and emotional resilience was discussed. The trainer reminded me of the analogy of the bucket of water. We all have things happening in our lives that fill our ‘bucket’. Sometimes we might go through something that means our bucket becomes full and overflows, symbolising the struggle to manage our emotions. People with higher resilience are those who have learned how to keep the bucket from overflowing, by having release valves to keep the water at a manageable level.
So how do emotionally resilient people do this? Do you recognise it in others when you see it? There seem to be some common traits and techniques that these people have in common and if we can strive towards even a few of these, we can start to build our own resilience so that when times are hard we can look within ourselves and find strength.
1. Having a good support network
Resilient people often have a group of people around them who will listen and support them. They will offer encouragement, without being pushy and or trying to fix their problems. Resilient people will often have some resilient friends.
2. Self Care – “me time”
We spend so much time trying to please others and looking after others needs, but seem to find it hard to take care of ourselves. Think of some things that help you to relax or feel good. Simple things like going for a walk, buying yourself some flowers, taking a bath or reading a book. Whatever it may be, the most important factor is that you enjoy it.
3. Working on their self-awareness
Self awareness enables us to understand our emotions and the impact these have on our minds and bodies. Self aware people become able to pick up subtle cues that their bodies or emotions are sending and to work through this with a deeper understanding and greater ease.
Emotionally resilient people have learned to accept that life involves stress and pain. These feelings can be uncomfortable and it can feel easier to distract ourselves or even deny these painful feelings. Accepting that our emotions ebb and flow can help to cope in those difficult moments and it is more healthy to allow both painful and joyful feelings to be fully felt and experienced.
5. Practicing mindfulness
Sitting in stillness and silence is not as easy as it sounds. Practice taking time to be still and present. Try focusing on your breath to quieten the mind.
6. Consideration for others
Emotionally supporting others when they are need can help boost your own resilience. Offering encouragement and kindness is good for your own positive psychology.
By no means is this list exhaustive and we all have different ways of managing our own stress. So back to the bucket analogy, what are your release valves? How do you manage stress in your lives? In this link Karen Horneffer-Ginter shares 25 ways to boost your resilience.