Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


Coping with life’s ups and downs


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

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


Readers' comments (3)

  • This is right wing retoric, placing the emphasis on the individual to cope with adversity. No matter how you are treated by managers or represented in the right wing, anti public sector press you have to rise above it and survive. Your emotions are your own responsibility and no one elses in this view. Our acute NHS Trust has a 8-9 week waiting list for staff councelling services. So it is about me and you and you and me not just me. So folks, lets support each other and not just number one.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The causes are the responsibility of all and working together etc is too , but this-Article is about being able to look after yourself at all times not just when you are at work.
    As an individual you try to look after your physical health eat well sleep well etc this is about looking after and being aware of your emotional self.its not right wing rhetoric but common sense , care for your whole self and then you can try to fight your battles in a useful way. I know there are so many.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • tinkerbell

    feel, deal, heal. Stuffing feelings away, they will eventually come back to bite you in the bum. Sometimes you need to deal with them at a later date, but don't leave it too long. I truly believe that if people, we, were allowed to express ourselves more openly there would be a whole lot less people on antidepressants or depressed.

    We can't necessarily change our temperament but we can adapt and perception is everything and possibly relative to our experiences.

    Obviously there is a time and a place and ensuring that the person who is listening actually is actually interested and you have to choose your counsel wisely.

    Release the pressure valve daily and express yourself without hurting anyone else.

    I have been on quite a high recently and i know the only way is down, but when i feel i'm getting a bit to overwhelming for my colleagues i do let them know 'i'm feeling a bit manic lately'. This usually leads to a conversation on how each one of us is feeling and then we get back to work. Helping each other is very important, especially in stressful, highly emotive workplaces.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.