Developing your emotional resilience will have a positive effect on your mental health
Emotions play a huge part in our daily lives. There are more than 600 words in English to describe them and we apparently use more than 40 facial muscles to express them.
Emotional resilience is the ability to adapt to setbacks and stressful situations. It is not necessarily a quality you do or do not have but is more to do with how well you deal with adversity. There is no right or wrong way to deal with a difficult situation but people react differently to stressful situations. Your personality can significantly impact how you respond to stress; for instance, an extrovert may cry outwardly and visibly for all to see, while an introvert may cry inwardly and become quieter.
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, understand and control your emotions, and recognise how they can impact others. EI has five elements: self-awareness; self-regulation; motivation; empathy; and sociability.
Imagine you could eat your emotions. What would you like? A main course filled with anger and upset, washed down with greed and arrogance, or a cake filled with happiness and joy, topped with love and faith? Isn’t it funny how the latter digests easily but the former leaves you with indigestion? You can’t eat your emotions but your mind and thoughts absorb them in a similar way to food. As the nutritionist of your soul, it is important you “eat” healthy emotions and discard unhealthy ones.
Positive emotional health is not about being happy 24/7, it’s being able to understand, accept and manage your emotions effectively. Exercises can help you better manage your emotions. Breathing deeply - inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply -has an immediate calming effect and slows down your pulse; exercising releases endorphins, which are our body’s pain and stress fighters; writing a “mood journal” about your feelings can be a great stress reliever; talking to friends, family or therapists about problems can be helpful. It’s very important you do not isolate yourself.
Eating habits have a strong link with food. Diets high in omega 3, iron and complex carbohydrates have a positive impact on emotional health.
Let’s face it, life can be an emotional rollercoaster at times. The first step towards feeding your emotions positively is being open and honest with yourself. Learning how to understand your emotions will help you control them better; feeding your emotions positively can help you to develop your emotional resilience.
● This article is adapted from Resilience: How to Cope when Everything around you Keeps Changing by Liggy Webb (Capstone, £10.99). Available from www.wiley.com
Liggy Webb is a leading expert in modern life skills. She has developed a range of techniques and strategies to support people and organisations to cope more successfully with modern living