Ever wondered why some of your friends or relatives are able to remain calm in high-pressure or stressful situations when others seem to come undone? People with the uncanny ability to keep their cool where others might lose theirs have what psychologists call emotional resilience, or the ability to utilize their strengths and skills to cope with adversity. It’s an essential tool to have in your mental arsenal, too, because it can improve your life in several ways.
Emotional resilience is important as it may help reduce the risk of some physiological illnesses, anxiety, school/work absenteeism, and depression. It can also improve your life expectancy, cognitive function, and your ability to form lasting relationships with your family, community, and spouse.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at how these nine benefits of emotional resilience can improve your overall quality of life.
Reduces the Risk of Some Physiological Illnesses
There’s a strong link between emotional resilience and mental health. Being emotionally resilient allows you to cope with stress and high-pressure situations in a more positive manner. In doing so, it helps you avoid physiological illnesses associated with stress, such as heartburn, headaches, high blood pressure, indigestion, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.
While stress isn’t necessarily the sole cause of some of these health problems, it’s on the list of causes and risk factors for most of them. It can directly contribute to headaches and heartburn and make existing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease worse.
Anxiety manifests as a reaction to emotional stress. When your emotional resilience is soaring high, you tend to be healthier in the way you respond to stressors. You’re likely to focus less on your worries and more on taking positive action to overcome past tragedies or improve your current situation.
If there’s little you can do outwardly about a stressful situation, you’re more likely to change the way you think and approach it. When you’re this adaptive with your thinking, anxiety diminishes.
It Lowers the Risk of Depression
Being emotionally resilient means you won’t overly dwell on the negative side of adversity. Instead, you’ll strive to find ways to benefit from the situation, whether it’s learning from it or changing what you can more assertively. When you’re able to adapt and move on more quickly, you don’t get stuck in despair, meaning you don’t get depressed too easily.
Gives You Longevity
There’s plenty of scientific evidence linking emotional resilience to a higher likelihood of living longer. In one study, researchers concluded that having high emotional resilience significantly contributes to exceptional longevity in people of all ages. The link between longevity and emotional resilience makes sense on so many levels.
Think about it: Being emotionally resilient lowers stress and depression, two conditions that significantly increase the risk of early death. It also lowers your chances of engaging in high-risk behaviors like drug abuse and alcoholism.
Drugs and alcohol are “easy ways out” people often take when they’re unable to deal with their problems, and having high emotional resilience allows you to face your stressors without having to retreat into these harmful coping mechanisms.
Reduces Work/School Absenteeism
Whether it’s school or work, you’re less likely to have an excellent attendance record when you’re physically ill, depressed, anxious, or stuck in a vicious cycle of alcohol and drug abuse. Either you’ll miss school or work because they’re among your stressors, or you won’t be physically able to attend because you’re unmotivated, ill, or struggling with the effects of drug abuse.
As an emotionally resilient person, you have lower chances of developing the emotional and physical health issues that contribute to school/work absenteeism. When the school/work environment gets too stressful, you’ll be mentally adaptable enough to decide to quit, look for a new job or school, and adjust to your new environment.
Improves Cognitive Function
Poorly managed stress can be costly to cognitive function. Among other things, it impairs attention, cognitive flexibility, working memory, and response inhibition. In simpler terms, these impairments mean a lower ability to control your impulses, focus for extended periods, remember things, and plan accordingly.
Emotional resilience improves your ability to manage stress healthily. In doing so, it allows your brain to stay in good shape, thus improving cognitive function. Improved cognitive function can be beneficial to your performance at school, work, or in your everyday life.
Brings You Closer to Your Family
Among the signs of lack of emotional resilience are crankiness and becoming overly clingy. These traits can make you unpleasant to be around, causing your family to avoid you. Lack of resilience can also cause you to become isolated, which, too, can put some distance between you and your family.
A healthy amount of emotional resilience can help bring you closer to your family by preventing all these symptoms. It makes you a pleasant person to be around and puts you in a better mental state to connect intimately to those close to you.
Allows You To Be More Involved in Your Community
Your immediate community provides opportunities for learning, having fun, volunteering, and forming interpersonal connections. You can’t take advantage of what you have to offer if you don’t spend some time out in the community, and having emotional resilience helps with that.
Psychological resilience improves your emotional literacy, ability to empathize appropriately, reflective ability, and social competence. These characteristics make it easier for you to connect and coordinate with other people involved in community projects and put you in a better position to sympathize with those in need and possibly go out of your way to help them.
Gives You a Better Chance of Forming Long-Term Relationships
It can be challenging to have a healthy relationship when one or both partners have low resilience. There are several reasons for this, among them being that someone who lacks resilience may find it hard to move on from stressors of past relationships. Lingering feelings of worry, shame, or guilt from the past can take a toll on your current relationship’s dynamics and possibly end it.
The lack of resilience may also compromise a relationship’s longevity when one of the partners is affected. As the more resilient party, you may feel like your partner is taking advantage of you. Sure, it may feel good to help them through tough times now and then. But if this happens regularly, you may begin to resent them for being too needy.
Being the low-resilient partner is no fun either. You may feel like you’re not contributing enough to the relationship and eventually resent the other party for not treating you like an equal partner. Low resilience can also cause you to be overly dependent on your partner, leaving you unable to function on your own when they leave. This can lower your self-esteem or cause other mental issues that can make it hard to form healthy relationships in the future.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that you and your partner will adapt to these challenges. However, the solution will likely be short-lived, and the relationship may suffer in the long run unless you jointly work to bring your resilience levels to par.
That does it for today’s post, where we’ve established that having healthy emotional resilience can improve your life at work, home, school, and in the larger community. It can also contribute to a longer, healthier life by reducing your risk of various mental and physiological conditions.
If your emotional resilience has dropped off, don’t worry; it’s fixable. You can work on it by strengthening the five pillars of emotional resilience. These include self-awareness, self-care, mindfulness, purpose, and positive relationships.
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- BetterHelp: 12 Reasons For Developing Greater Emotional Resilience
- Verywell Mind: The Importance of Resilience
- Harvard Health: Ramp up your resilience!
- TradeWind Social Care: Emotional resilience: What is it, and why is it so important in social work?
- GovLoop: How Do You Know When Your Resilience is Low?
- Bounce Back Project: Resilience