Four ways you can become emotionally stronger and more resilient

Tired of being knocked back by life? Love to boost your resilience and feel happier? Here are four ways you can become emotionally stronger.

With stress, anxiety and depression apparently on the rise, it’s important to find ways to care for our mental health. When we’re emotionally strong, we find it easier to remain calm and proactive in times of difficultly, we bounce back from hardship sooner, and we have more emotional resources to support the people around us, including our partner and children.

When we’re emotionally strong we also have more time, brain space and energy for our careers. We feel more positive about our businesses, and confident in our skills and experience.

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Four ways you can become emotionally stronger and more resilient

But how do we remain or become emotionally strong? Are there skills we can acquire – and habits we should drop? To help you build your resilience, here are four ways you can become emotionally stronger.

1) Behave productively

One of the first things that you can do to manage and regulate your emotions is to behave ‘productively’. By this we mean determining how quickly and effectively you can solve problems when you are faced with them.

The truth is that we can’t often control what happens to us in life, however well we might try to protect ourselves – loss, redundancy and accidents can all come without warning. But we can control how we respond to challenging situations.

If you get trapped in dwelling on your misfortune and asking “why me?” you’ll find it difficult to move forward. But by taking an appropriate period of time to acknowledge how you feel about a situation and allow yourself grief and pity, and then focusing on productive steps you can take to find a way forward, you’ll find it easier to move on, and be more emotionally resilient.

2) Find the motivation

We all have times when we just can’t seem to shake a feeling of sadness or inertia. When we wake up feeling exhausted and just can’t muster the enthusiasm to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

At times like this, you may need to re-indentify your purpose – the reason why you chose your career, started your business, or fell in love with your partner. Rebooting your self-motivation can sometimes be as simple as practicing gratitude, and reminding yourself of all the things in your life you can be grateful for.

It can also come from troubleshooting why you feel this way. Maybe your life no longer fits the person you have become? Or maybe it never did, and over time you’ve become dissatisfied? If you’re lacking professional motivation you will find this career audit helpful in identifying positive steps you can take forward.

3) Control negative thoughts

Left unchecked, it can be easy to allow negative thoughts to control our emotions. Thoughts like “I’m not good enough”, “they don’t really like me” and “this will never work” can become constrictive mantras that eventually self-fulfill.

It’s much more helpful to be aware of the thoughts and feelings, and consciously choose to stop negative thoughts and steer your mind to more positive ones. This isn’t always easy at first if you’ve spent a lifetime letting mood-killers flourish, but with some practice, positive thinking can soon become your default. And you’ll find it much easier to remain calm, happy and positive, whatever life may throw at you.

4) Get an emotional support animal

Remember the flyer who was banned from taking their emotional support peacock on a flight recently? As amusing as that story may have sounded, emotional support animals are a very real psychological tool.

An emotional support animal helps people with conditions like stress, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, social anxiety disorders and more to experience the healing qualities of love and companionship – and the resulting endorphins that come from their relationships with their animal.

Among the improvements doctors are noting from patients with emotional support animals are:

  • An increase in sociability. 
  • Greater self-esteem.
  • Feeling safer and more comforted.
  • More motivated
  • A decrease in the symptoms of the diagnosed illness.

To officially register an emotional support animal it must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional. This can include a psychiatrist, psychologist, licensed clinical social worker or licensed therapist.

Once you’ve registered your emotional support animal, you can get an official letter that enables your pet to live with you in housing that otherwise doesn’t allow pets and even (usually) fly with you in the cabin of a plane at no extra cost.

Read more about boosting your emotional strength

If you’d like to read more about remaining positive in the face of adversity and learning how to better protect your mental health, we recommend checking out these articles: