“Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to “roll with the punches” and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor.” – VeryWellMind.com
It’s been a stressful few months. As we approach the summer, many people are wondering what the future is going to hold. The coronavirus has not only impacted the health of many around the world, it has also produced economic hardship and uncertainty. How do we manage the “curve balls” that life throws at us from time to time? I personally wonder, is there anything that I can do for myself, and my community, to weather life’s storms?
I believe there are things we can do. In these next few blogs, I am going to outline five key principles of emotional resilience to help maintain one’s shape when stretched and pulled by challenges and hardships.
The Pursuit Of Happiness
A few years ago, I was curious about the concept of happiness. What is happiness? Our founding fathers considered it to be quite important, so much so they included it as criteria in our country’s founding document. The Declaration of Independence states that “we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This led me to wonder, how does one pursue happiness, and when will I know when I’ve found it?
So, I did some research, and I discovered that a doctor at the Mayo Clinic was asking some of the same questions. His name is Dr. Amit Sood. He noticed that the research showed that people who report a general sense of “being ok” in their lives were healthier, more productive, and more resilient. He conducted more than 25 studies on this subject and came to some conclusions. You can read about it for yourself in his book A Guide To Happiness.
One of the common factors that he found was that these “happy people” live with intention, not only in their actions, but in their thinking. Dr. Sood outlined four areas that happy people have in common. The first is the ability to focus your attention. You see, about 30-40 percent of our thinking is not focused thought, but rather, wandering thought. This is totally normal. However, these moments of wandering thought result in us telling stories about ourselves, the world, and how we relate to the world. When we feel good, and life is full of hope, the stories we tell ourselves can be wonderful, full of dreams and positive vibes. However, when we are feeling particularly vulnerable, sad or anxious, these stories can be decidedly negative, and thus we feel really bad. Finding ways to be more mindful in our thinking as well as engaging in activities that keep us more in the present moment can be helpful. Activities like puzzles, working in the garden, fixing your car, and countless others can be ways of focusing your attention on the Here and Now. When left alone with our thoughts, even we can spiral down if we’re not careful.
The 5 Principles Are:
Over the course of the next five posts, I will break down these principles. Practicing these can make a significant difference in your life. Think of this as daily “MENTAL HYGIENE.”