We are all living through a period of uncertainty, heightened stress, and difficulty as a result of Covid-19. It can be hard to maintain a steady level of serenity and posivitity with the unpredictability of present times. However, the good news is that there ways to combat that anxiety experienced from Coronavirus through the practice of emotional resilience that can be learned and maintained! These exercises will help you understand how to build emotional resilience with techniques that can be applied to your daily life. We have a lot more time indoors, so might as well find ways to actively cope with the situation while staying sane and mentally healthy.
But first, you may be wondering what emotional resilience is? Simply put it is the ability to adapt and respond to stressful developments in your life. Being emotionally resilient means you have the capabilities to healthily deal with adversity without encountering many long-term negative effects on your mental or emotional health. Whether you are more or less emotionally resilient, integrating these new habits into your life can make a long-term difference in maintaining your mental health through adversity.
1. Build Your Support System
As High School Musical said "we're alll in thiss together!", and as you're figuring out how to build resilience, it's important to remember this; you can't do this alone.This does not dismiss the inner strength and autonomy involved with emotional resilience, but a key component is also about learning that being at your best means having a strong support system behind you. Despite what you may think, there is nothing wrong with reaching out for support. It shows your strength rather than weakness as you are aware of your own limitations and understand the value of human connection. We're all going through this period of change and uncertainty together, so try to reach out and ask for support or offer it.
2. Confront Your Fears
Whether you realize this or not, our fears hold a lot of power when we hide from them, which why facing them can work wonders for your emotional well-being. If you don't believe me take Will Smith's word for it then. A practical approach that can be useful involves using meditation to deal with different emotions. This can be done in two parts to build your empowerment against fear. First, try to recognize your bodily cues for fear i.e. feeling your heart pounding, your stomach drop, or starting to sweat. In response to this, get into the habit of purposefully slowing down the pace of your body by breathing in and out very slowly and deeply, focusing on each breathe until your heart slows down. After this you are going to repeat to yourself "I am afraid of ____", doing this encourages you to take a more objective perspective. Then, repeat a positive affirmation to yourself like "I am calm, safe, and free from fear" until the words resonate and translate as feelings.
3. Evaluate Your Thoughts
In recognizing your strengths and weaknesses to build your resilience, it requires you to regularly work on self-reflecting. This is vital because it allows you to be mindful of your own thoughts (regarding yourself and your life), your feelings, and how you speak to yourself. Overtime, you'll begin to identify different patterns that indicate areas that need some work. More specifically, keep an eye out for a tendency to avoid responsibility for things going wrong in life, and to hide vulnerable emotions (i.e. shame) under bigger, more defensive emotions ( i.e. anger). It can be helpful to implement a daily self-reflective practice like keeping a journal to make a note of these tendencies, as you challenge yourself daily to think of something new you've learned about yourself. Doing this reinforces the idea that even your setbacks can help you improve yourself and life as you realize and change these negative habits.
4. Control Your Destiny
Once you're emotionally resilient, you're able to really see and bask in the happiness that comes with realizing that you are the sole person that has control over your life. Accepting you have full power over how you respond to stressful situations (like this pandemic) and exercising this power can play a significant role in keeping calm and regulating any anxious feelings. An effective method would be to say "I have a choice" whenever you encounter a setback or challenge. This allows you to identify and evaluate your choices, despite how limited they may be, and taking action once you've decided on a path. You'll be surprised how freeing it can be to exercise this control over your life.
5. Mindfulness Exercises
General mindfulness exercises can also double as emotional resilience exercises. Some of these exercises includes body scanning meditations that help you to identify and sit with your own emotions. To do so, spend 5-10 minutes breathing deeply and slowly as you move your attention from your head to your toe. Pay attention to what you feel, emotionally and physically, as you continue to breathe. Try not to judge, but simply observe these feelings, which allows you to accept that whatever you're feeling is okay and helps you to manage your responses to strong emotions. Another meditative exercise to try is to imagine your body filling up with warm, liquid gold that melts all of your stress away. Repeating these exercises helps you to feel more confident in yourself and in the control you have over how you respond in life.
Attaining emotional resilience is possible for everyone, and though not all of these exercises may be suitable for you, trying to implement even some of these practices into your daily life can make a long-term difference towards your emotional and mental health. I mean, we have no where to go so what's the harm in trying?