Emotional Resilience: How to Start Building Your Ability to Adapt

By Krista

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Last Updated: August 4, 2022

Life is filled with a rollercoaster of events and emotions.

At times, it’s easy to get overwhelmed—we’ve all been there! And most of us know how unpleasant this can be, especially if you let your thoughts and emotions run away from you.

Yet, you can get back in the driver’s seat and stay in control. This all comes down to your emotional resilience. 

Emotional resilience involves your ability to cope mentally and emotionally—and ultimately, stay in control of any negative emotions. This allows you to “roll with the punches” and ride that wave of life as opposed to being thrown around by it.

So, let’s dig into this topic a bit more. What makes someone emotionally resilient? And how can you become more resilient?

 

 

What Makes a Person Resilient?

You might look at your friends or family and wish you could be as resilient as them. You see them gracefully handling life’s adversities, bouncing back after pitfalls, and generally, succeeding in all they set out to do. What gives?

Here’s the thing: Emotional resilience is determined by a combination of factors including genetics (thus, if your family is good at it, you’re more likely to get or be good at it too!), environment, situational context, and personal history.

At the same time, genetics are only a small piece of the equation (no surprise there!),

This means you have more control than you realize when it comes to being more emotionally resilient. 

At the same time, it’s interesting to note that experts pinpoint the state of your relationship with your parental guardian as one of significance in regard to emotional resilience. Your resilience is probably quite high if you were well-loved and cared for as a child.

On the other hand, you might struggle if you had a traumatic childhood. But the good news is that you can learn!

 

 

What Are the 7 C’s of Resilience?

Building emotional resilience comes down to seven key pieces, including the 7 C’s:

1. Control

Two major things that people need in their life are control and connection. You need to feel in control of your own life. As a teen (or partner), this can sometimes feel very limiting. You might find you cater more to your partner than yourself or you may find your parents are rather strict. 

Ideally, you want the room to be able to think for yourself and make your own decisions! This can lead to a better ability to cope later on down the line.

 

2. Competence

When we feel competent, we feel confident.

We are able to push our comfort zone and be okay with that. By developing skills we already have, we can also develop new skills or strengths, helping us expand our emotional resilience even further.

 

3. Confidence

Confidence gives us the ability to explore new endeavors and even coping strategies.

It also gives us the perspective that we will be okay no matter what, guiding you toward bouncing back after tough times.

 

4. Connection

You probably saw this one coming! Connection is essential for every single person. It gives us a sense of community and belonging, something that is undeniably important when you’re going through a rough patch in life.

 

5. Character

This is your moral compass (i.e. what you stand for and your values!). Knowing these and being confident in them can help you overcome particularly stressful situations.

 

6. Coping

There is healthy coping and unhealthy coping. It’s important for every person to develop healthy coping mechanisms, such as self-care strategies and relaxation techniques, to help get through turbulent times.

 

7. Contribution

Helping others actually means you’re more likely to ask for help too.

It fosters a community and sharing approach where we lean on one another and rely on one another.

Related Article: 21 Ways to Improve Your Mental Well-Being Right Now

 

 

How Do I Build Emotional Resilience?

Now, let’s get to it. How can you build your emotional resilience?

Inevitably, you can’t just erase life’s difficulties. Thus, it comes down to coping with them. So, how can you do that?

Here are a few steps you can take today:

1. Set boundaries.

2. Accept life and yourself for all that you are.

You can absolutely want to be better or improve something about yourself AND accept yourself at the same time. These are never mutually exclusive.

3. Balance your life with routine and a good mix of work and play.

4. Allow yourself to fail and make mistakes.

We all do!

5. Use self care or relaxation techniques regularly to look after your #1, you!

6. Find ways to express yourself

Dancing around in your kitchen (yes, this counts!) or getting crafty and artsy with some paint.

7. Begin recognizing your triggers.

  • Do you usually feel overwhelmed when you say yes to too many things?
  • Do you find you need a night a week to yourself?
  • When you haven’t slept, are your triggers worse?

Figuring this out can help you understand yourself better, practice self-compassion, and help you fill in the gaps where you need to.

Related Article: Feeling Burnt Out? Here Are 4 Ways Gratitude Can Help You Recover

 

 

Building Resilience Takes Time!

You won’t hit a home run right off the bat.

This means you’ll probably still get overwhelmed more than a few times. However, pat yourself on the back if you’re starting to do something about it and find ways to quell those feelings of overwhelm.

As Steve Maraboli says, “Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”

Read Next: Hypnosis for Anxiety & Depression: How Does it Work & Can it Help You?

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2 comments on “Emotional Resilience: How to Start Building Your Ability to Adapt”

  1. Well said. It happens to me all the time. One of my mantras in life is emotional mastery. It did not come easy, though. Am now a very stable person in my adult life. All of life aggravations no longer throw me over board.

    We should remember we can not stop the birds from flying over our heads but, surely we can stop them from entering our ears. The seven C's are some of the ways for emotional battle proof.

    1. You always have wise words to share Moses, and we always appreciate your support. I like your message about not being able to control what happens around us, but being able to decide what we take in our heads is our choice. Emotional resilience really IS like a shield, and we are all capable of having one. 🙂

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