Emotional resilience skills can transform the lives of those prepared to learn, practise, and master them. Many of the people struggling with an anxiety , depression and other mental conditions who I have worked with over the decades found that using these skills improved their mental health dramatically . Others found a new confidence in themselves, and that their ability to cope with stress increased significantly . Their capacity to problem -solve-expanded .
Their interpersonal relationship improved. Their social skills evolved . They became wiser and often more compassionate towards themselves and others. They became more realistic and pragmatic about life and themselves.
In summary, they learned how to become emotionally resilient .
It is also worth noting that once a learned skill becomes automatic , it is embedded in our memory bank for life . Think of learning to drive a car or riding a bicycle . We may allow the skill to fall into disuse , but how quickly it can be resurrected if we reactivate it. So, too , are the skills of emotional resilience there for life , once we have learned them.
But as with anything of value , learning these skills involves dedication, hard work and practice. We are often anxious, even frustrated , when first attempting to develop these skills, but it is worth the effort. The prize is substantial. Those with strong emotional resilience skills will achieve much in their lives.
Emotional resilience skills are , of course , slightly different from routine skills such as driving a car. The latter is more about specific motor skills, while the former focuses on learning and practising specific cognitive and behavioural skills. But the principles remain the same. The skills must be developed and practised repeatedly until they become instinctive.
We can divide the emotional resilience skills set into three groups:
1- Personal the resilience skills required to manage your personal life.
2- Social the resilience skills required to cope with your social world.
3- Life the resilience skills required to cope with life itself.
Personal emotional resilience skills
These include how to :
- Develop unconditional self-acceptance
- Deal with the physical symptoms of anxiety .
- Deal with the uncertainty of life.
- Manage discomfort.
- Cope with failure and success in life.
- Stop one self catastrophisng .
- Challenge perfectionism.
- Cease procrastinating.
- Practise mindfulness.
- Problem – solve
Social resilience skills
These include how to :
- Cope with the unfairness of life
- Develop a healthy work/life balance
- Resolve personal conflicts
- Become more pragmatic about life.
- Cope with stress
- There is inevitable overlap between the three skill sets. But , in general the emotional resilience skills required for each group are subtly different .
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Why have these skills been chosen?
You might be surprised by the skills that appear in the list above, while optimism , altruism , meaning, gratitude, hope, structure and personal responsibility , among others, have not been included . Some of these can indeed play a major role in increasing our emotional resilience, and they can nourish and greatly enrich our emotional and mental health.
But emotional resilience , if built to last , must be built on solid foundations.
These must be created in turn, by developing the core personal, social and life skills detailed above. Without these basic skills , it becomes increasingly difficult to journey any further towards our goal of making ourselves truly independent and emotionally resilient. There is little point, for example, in discussing the importance of a concept such as gratitude unless we have first learned how to accept ourselves unconditionally. Or to discuss the importance of personal responsibility or self-discipline unless we have learned how to manage discomfort.
Once we have laid these foundations and developed these more fundamental skills , we can then complete the task of developing full emotional resilience by exploring the’ higher order’ insights , such as meaning and gratitude , and putting them into practice in our lives.
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