Building emotional resilience enables leaders draw on their inner strengths to develop new coping strategies and deal with adversity. You may consider yourself a puppet of your emotions but remember that emotional resilience can be cultivated with time and commitment. By taking steps each day to build up emotionally resilient muscles, you can become a better leader. “Emotional resilience” is why some people seem to sail through stress without a care in the world. If you often feel driven to avoid conflict like the plague, frequently experience periods of despair, or struggle to regulate and manage your emotions, here are 6 steps to help you build emotional resilience.
Face Your Fears
Fears hold a lot of power over us but confronting your inner demons can work wonders for your emotional well-being. We are all afraid of something, be it public speaking, taking a leap of faith, venturing into the unknown, flying, swimming, or even commitments. Instead of trying to talk yourself out of your fears, the right way is to tackle the emotions directly. Start out by expose yourself slowly and gradually to the thing that scares you.
For instance, if the prospect of speaking in public makes you break out in a sweat, try talking more in meetings or giving a toast at a small wedding. Once you are comfortable speaking up in small circles, incrementally increase the challenge until you can nail that important client pitch or give that TV interview. Similarly, if you have flown 100 times and the plane has never crashed, you can slowly make your body believe that flying is safe. This kind of exposure therapy, albeit in small doses, helps you change the associations you have with a particular stimulus.
Explore the power of positivity
Research tells us that positivity helps people recover from setbacks. If you are wondering what kind of positivity we are talking about, think in terms of emotions like amusement, serenity, hope, joy, love, affection, and appreciation. When you are in a positive state of mind, you are more likely to think broadly and look for the good in any situation. Positive emotions can build greater resilience that will come in handy when you face adversity at work.
The key is to embrace optimism even if things don’t seem to be working your way. Stifling your inner pessimist and adopting a positive outlook on life will lead to improved quality of life, better health, and enhanced performance at work. Optimism enables you to lead with empathy and makes you wonder how you can help others have a better day as well. This outlooks helps you bring a sense of hope to the workplace every day.
Change The Narrative
When something bad happens, most of us tend to relive the event over and over in our heads, dwelling in our misery, making the pain resurface everytime. Remember that rumination doesn’t let us move forward and prevents personal growth and healing. The best way to gain new insights on the challenges in our lives is through expressive writing. Whenever you face adversity or a setback, give yourself 20 minutes to write freely about your dilemma, allowing yourself to explore your deepest thoughts and feelings around it. Don’t concentrate on creating a memoir-like masterpiece; simply pen down your emotions and feelings.
Here’s how it helps: putting down things in writing helps you confront one idea at a time, which may change your perspective on things. The simple act of crafting your own life narrative helps you regain a sense of control. Once you have explored the dark side of an experience, you may find yourself contemplating some of the upsides as well. Try to find at least 3 positive things out of an upsetting experience and how it helped you grow.
Build Your Support System
Even though emotional resilience is all about autonomy and inner strength, it is not possible to build emotional resilience on your own. Most leaders think that reaching out is a sign of weakness, but on the contrary, asking for help when you need it, shows that you understand the value of human connection and are in tune with your own limitations.
To build psychological resilience and strengthen your sense of belonging, you need to have a strong support system that you can count on, including your trusted family members and good friends, as well as your colleagues and neighbors. Other people could be a part of your support system as well. For instance, a therapist could play a positive role in your life when you are facing an active crisis, perhaps by and increasing your self-knowledge or offering a useful forum for reflecting on decisions. Prioritizing relationships and connecting with empathetic and understanding people, remind you that you are not alone.
Instead of running towards something temporal to ease discomfort, you need to get to the root cause of a problem. It could be a chronic condition or an unresolved hurt which may not have an immediate solution but attacking its very foundation will let you garner the peace you want. Resorting to superficial solutions may provide temporary relief but the problem will keep on recurring. If you want to become emotionally resilient, you need to move into the upward investment of the lasting reward.
Lead your wellness
Practicing self-care when it comes to your body, mind and spirit helps to strengthen your resilience and can minimize your susceptibility to illness. Catch up on sleep and include physical fitness into daily routine. Even making small changes such as going for a regular walk outside may help you to feel less stressed. Consistently go to bed at the same time every night, and make sure to keep all technology out of your bedroom. Additionally, stop using your phone or any gadget at least an hour before you go to sleep to improve your sleep quality. Laugh more since laughter has been shown to have psychological benefits.