How to develop emotional resilience

What does it mean to be emotionally resilient? As a resilience coach, I can tell you that, on a micro level, being emotionally resilient is going to mean something different to everyone. But on a broader level, it’s probably as simple as having deep resources to adapt, survive and bounce back - and then go on to thrive. This second part is often what gets forgotten when it comes to resilience. How being more resilient isn’t just about survival but creating fertile ground in which you can reach your full potential, too.


Where are you now?

At the starting point of any growth and development journey, it’s important to stop and look at where you are right now. Maybe you feel very resilient but you also have a sense that something is missing in life (a typical response for someone who has nailed survival but not thriving). Or perhaps daily life feels like being on a rough sea, continuously buffeted around by the events and other people’s influence, with no real feeling of control or direction.

Inconsistency is part of being human

There’s no shame in not being resilient - or in feeling like you once were resilient and somehow lost it. Being a human is not a consistent experience. We will all go through periods in our lives of feeling primed for growth and then static and stuck. You’ll never eradicate the challenges and lows - and that’s not the point of how to develop emotional resilience. Instead, you’re creating a firmer foundation so that you can flexibly go with the flow. After all, you can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.

How resilient are you?

Ask yourself the following questions to start getting a sense of how resilient you are, both in terms of survival and thriving. The more “no”s you accumulate, the further down the scale your resilience is likely to be.

  • Do you feel able to cope with most of what life throws at you?
  • When you wake up in the morning do you feel excited/calm/confident or happy about the day ahead?
  • Do you have a clear sense of who you are and what you want from life?
  • Are your connections strong and do you feel like the relationships in your life bring you joy?
  • Do you find it simple to make decisions?
  • Do you feel like you’re living with purpose and alignment with who you really are?
  • Does it feel like you’ve let go of any old issues, self-sabotage and destructive behaviours?

Where do you want to go?

Emotional resilience is a kind of rocket fuel that can propel you towards your goals and a fulfilling life that contains all the elements you want. So, getting a clear idea of what’s lacking - and where resilience is low - is a golden opportunity.

Even though it might feel a little disappointing to be honest about what you don’t have and what you haven’t achieved, this is key data. Once you’ve taken an honest look at your life you can use this information to create a goal. Or goals. What do you want your life to look like further down the line and - most importantly of all - how do you want to feel on a day-to-day basis?

The tools of resilience coaching

When it comes to how to develop emotional resilience, obviously there are advantages to working with a coach like me. I can challenge you where you’re limiting yourself with blinkered thinking and create a supportive environment in which you feel safe opening up.

Resilience coaching works over 6-9 sessions, taking a goal that we design together and then gradually putting the structure in place to bring it to life. There are many different factors at play within this process - and you can build emotional resilience in a whole range of different ways. However, in my experience, there are 4 big factors in making this process a success.

Four factors that influence resilience

1. Intuition

No, not woo woo business that you’ve somehow intuited out of the air but your connection to yourself. The data you’ve acquired over the years, your own values and belief system, urges, wants, desires and needs. When you strengthen your intuition you become confident in making decisions for yourself because you know what is going to work for you.

2. Courage

No one wants to think they are lacking in courage but we don’t live in a world that rewards it these days. Heroism, maybe but not true courage. The word ‘courage’ has evolved from the original Latin which meant to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. It’s impossible to be truly resilient if you’re keeping part of yourself hidden or refusing vulnerability.

3. Confidence

This is what many people consider the golden goal - and yet we also tell ourselves that it’s just something some people have and others don’t. Wrong! Confidence is a habit, pure and simple. Anyone can build a confidence habit through things like knowing your strengths and passions and regularly getting outside your comfort zone.

4. Clarity

It’s just not possible to get somewhere if you’re not clear on what that is. When you’re resilient your vision isn’t being clouded by the stuff you’ve been carrying around since you were young. Or since someone dumped you. Or since you were fired. All the painful experiences we have in life can accumulate and block clear vision - building resilience through coaching can open up a clear, light vision forward.

In terms of developing emotional resilience - the methods you choose to make it happen - you can do this alone with self-study and taking time for yourself, or with a coach like me. But it is an incredibly valuable process that will not only give you deeper resources to cope with the challenging moments in life but also the determination, vision, confidence and sureness to create the life you want.

If you’d like to find out more about the resilience coaching process, book a free discovery chat.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Winchester, Hampshire, SO23
Written by Alex Pett
Winchester, Hampshire, SO23

Alex is an ICF trained coach with a wealth of experience helping people to deepen their resources to adapt and bounce back - and go on to thrive. Her work with clients has encompassed everything, from building confidence to improving self-knowledge and emotional intelligence, boosting productivity and clarity and overcoming fears and limits.

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