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“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
― Margaret Thatcher

Resilience is a muscle. Flex it enough and it will take less effort to get over the emotional punches each time.

Emotional resilience is not about winning the battle. It is the strength to power through the storm and still keep the sail steady. Living in the era of technological revolution, every ten years we adapt to changes that never existed in our life before. From rigorous digitalization to the 24/7 social media influence, from the changing professions to adapting with the ways of Gen Y, it is only natural to feel emotionally tied down at times.

The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means ‘to bounce back’ or retaliate. Emotional resilience is an art of living that is entwined with self-belief, self-compassion, and enhanced cognition. It is the way through which we empower ourselves to perceive adversities as ‘temporary’ and keep evolving through the pain and sufferings. In a broad way, emotional resilience means bouncing back from a stressful encounter and not letting it affect our internal motivation. It is not a “bend but don’t break” trait, rather resilience is accepting the fact that ‘I am broken’ and continuing to grow with the broken pieces together. When we are resilient, we not only adapt ourselves to stress and disappointments, we also grow the insight to avoid actions that might lead us to face such situations.


Elements of Emotional Resilience

Emotional Resilience has three building blocks – these are the pillars on which we can build resilience or work on improving it. Also referred to as the three dimensions of emotional resilience, the three elements include:

1. The Physical Elements

Involving physical strength, energy, good health, and vitality.

2. The Mental or Psychological Elements

Including aspects like adjustability, attention and focus, self-esteem, self-confidence, emotional awareness and regulation, self-expression, thinking, and reasoning abilities.

3. The Social Elements

Including interpersonal relationships (work, partner, kids, parents, friends, community, etc.), group conformity, likeability, communication, and co-operation.

Developing emotional resilience is a matter of being aware of our inner potentials. The only thing that differentiates an emotionally resilient and an emotionally fragile person is the way the former chooses to ‘respond’. Emotional resilience doesn’t mean that stress won’t affect us or losses won’t depress us, it only implies that we still have the vision to stand up right back and keep moving ahead.


What Makes a Person Resilient?

An emotionally resilient person:

  • Is aware of his thoughts, emotions, and inner potentials

  • Thinks before reacting

  • Is patient, understanding, and willing to adapt

  • Is high on acceptance and forgiveness

  • Focuses on finding solutions

  • Expresses his emotions in a socially acceptable way

  • Does not bottle up negative emotions

  • Is able to create and sustain long-term relationships

  • Is not ashamed to ask for help when they need it the most

  • Believes in sorting out conflicts through discussions


Emotional Resilience in Social Work

Emotional resilience is promoted by factors that lie within us, the factors that lie in the organization that we work in, and the educational factors. When it comes to resilience in a profession, it is usually two-dimensional – the first dimension is the experience of adverse or stressful situations, and the second one is to skillfully cope with them.


Undoubtedly, social work is a job that requires tremendous emotional intelligence and empathy. Due to the nature of their work, social workers often need to hide or suppress their reactions and manage their emotions whilst acting in a professional manner. Doing this for years is undoubtedly stressful and can take a toll on the workers’ resilience and emotional tenacity.


Emotional Resilience in the Workplace

Promoting emotional resilience for employees can directly impact on their overall productivity and help them maintain a better quality of life.

Studies have shown that a large portion of employees who either get terminated or voluntarily resign from their jobs do so due to personal stressors like terminal illness or the loss of a loved one.

Today, several successful initiatives are being taken by organizations to assess the employees’ and leaders’ emotional health and conduct training to build their resilience.

Developing resilience at work may seem difficult when the stress affecting work productivity is actually something unrelated to the work itself (for example – conflict with colleagues, bullying, or personal stress). While it is undeniable that building resilience is not a quick fix that starts working immediately, here are some ways that might help professionals to achieve resilience in a professional setup.


Building Emotional Resilience at Work

Simple Ways to Develop Resilience

  • Be assertive

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle

  • Communicate often

  • Accept feedback and criticisms

  • Relax and breathe

  • Meditate often

  • Practice deep breathing when you feel burnt out

  • Wander in the wilderness once in a while

  • Appreciate nature

  • Cultivate hobbies

  • Explore your passions

  • Spend time doing what you love to do

  • Invest in some good reads – self-help books, positive thinking, inspirational stories, etc.

  • Find balance

  • Be grateful for the little things that make you smile

  • Spend some ‘me-time’ at least once a week

  • Devote time to your family – parents, partner, and kids

  • Catch up with old friends

  • Attend social gatherings at work


Yoga/Exercises for the Emotional Resilience

Tapas, Svadhyaya, and Ishvara pranidhana can be applied in any situation and practiced at any level of spiritual awareness. When your life feels hard, when you feel overwhelmed or victimized or distraught, try asking yourself questions like these: What effort do I need to make now? What (or how) should I surrender? What would the sages tell me to do in this situation? What is the deeper truth beyond these circumstances and emotions?

Essential Oil Therapy

Essential oils can also supplement stress relief. Essential oils that are high in linalool have been shown to help relax smooth muscles in the body and reduce sad and anxious feelings. To combat stress, use Petitgrain, Lavender, Clary Sage, Basil, Cilantro, and Coriander.

Taking the time to reduce your stress each day can dramatically improve your quality of life and long-term health. A stress resilient lifestyle is composed not only of regular exercise and healthy supplementation of essential oils, but also includes a healthy diet and consistent sleep habits. Be sure to consult your physician before making any significant changes to your daily regimen.


Chakras, Breathing, Body Scan, Sensory and Deep Meditation 

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