Woman in gold top with boxing bandages on her hands in warrior pose.

“How do I toughen up?”

I think we have all asked ourselves this question at some point in our lives especially when we catch ourselves excessively worrying about things or when we have felt hurt or misunderstood.

I had a client this week ask “How do I become more resilient?” “How do I stop worrying about what people think of me & how can I stop taking things so personally?

This got me thinking what we mean by “emotional resilience” & how we adapt to stressful situations or crisis?

The more resilient we are the more able we are to take things in our stride. So when we have less resilience we have a harder time coping with stress and life’s challenges

I’m sure we have all observed either in others or in ourselves times when, whatever life throws at us we either bounce straight back or feel we lurch from one crisis to another. The good news is, it’s important to remember that emotional resilience is a skill and therefore it can be learnt and developed.

Now there is no doubt that some people are born naturally more resilient and those who perhaps were exposed to certain amounts of chaos at a young age cope better later in life especially if they were brought up in a stable balanced environment which supported them through the chaos. Learning how to deal with emotions & painful experiences. However the reverse can also be true that if our early years are in a very unstable environment and we are never guided or helped to understand what is happening this creates fear, doubt & lack of confidence. There are always exceptions & many who have had no support can in fact be the most resilient.

Whatever our experiences & learnt behaviours we can start to improve our resilience by understanding that stressful situations will occur. Whether it’s something simple like embarrassing ourselves at work or something harder to process like bereavement or divorce.

By developing our brain to accept that negative situations will occur, we can learn to look at these situation and learn how to react in a way that creates positive change & begins to build our resilience.

When improving emotional resilience this does not happen over night. The more we understand why we react in a certain way and challenge ourselves to learn from these situations the better our emotional resilience will be so :

Emotional intelligence

Understanding what you feel and why you feel this way. How you react & does this reaction bring peace or more chaos. Maybe keep a journal to enable you to reflect on this situation and highlight what emotions were triggered, how you reacted, what impact did this have and what other reactions could you have had to create a different outcome.

The Reaction

Often stress is caused by a barbed comment that sends us descending into a spiral. Understanding our personality type and why this comment has the impact it does is the key to developing resilience. Is the comment coming from someone we respect and therefore we need to understand and learn from it or does it come from a toxic place like gossip and we need to learn to ignore it.

Optimism and perspective

Focus on the positives and believe in your own inner strength- don’t allow a victim mentality put things in perspective see obstacles as challenges. Can you find meaning in the challenges life presents.

Attitude is key

Only you can choose your attitude to a certain situation so develop a positive “self talk”, convince yourself that you see situations as a challenge, be more optimistic see setbacks as a learning experience.

Control

Often the situation seems huge like climbing a mountain however there will be things you can do and control, so create a list of what you can do, ticking a few things off will help create a sense of achievement

A few faithful allies

A problem shared is a problem halved. Share it with a friend, family member or professional who can help with that particular scenario – stay away from doom mongers or people who can be overly emotional, you often need a clear logical person.

Exercise 

Releasing endorphins always helps and puts perspective to a situation so try and factor in regular appropriate exercise.

So remember things that hurt also teach. Do not give up and be kind and patient to yourself

If you would like help with any of the above or a particular challenge in life give me a

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Coaching is not about judging or criticising but learning how to unlock your full potential, raising your awareness of the strengths & talents you already have. It is about creating a shift from where you are to where you want to be.
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