How to Build Emotional Resilience in 5 Easy Steps

We are all wondering what makes a highly successful employee. Chances are that most people believe that intelligence and going beyond and above the demands of the job position such as working extra hours or taking extra tasks is the key to become successful at work. Yet, times are changing and so do the traits of successful employees – pay attention to emotional resilience.

Stress in the workplace is increasing along with the pace of global change being associated with work overload, role conflicts, job insecurity, and deadlines. Although the development of business intelligence software helps employees work more efficiently, some of them still feel overwhelmed by their job tasks. Thus, success relies on an individual’s capacity to cope and even thrive when faced with stressful situations. The way resilient employees perceive their occupation and day-to-day tasks sets them apart by perceiving their work as meaningful.

>> Recommended reading: Business intelligence and big data: Two giant steps towards the future

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to respond to pressure and the demands of daily life with calmness. Simply put, it is the ability to bounce back from something challenging or difficult knowing that you can overcome that experience, grow from it, cope with it and move forward. Its definition is often associated with concepts such as flexibility suppleness, speed of recovery, and a cheerful attitude.

Have you ever noticed how some people are stressed and down during transitions while others can just roll with the punches? The difference between those two comes down to emotional resilience.  Natalie Andersen, co-founder of GetGoodGrade.com, told For-Managers that in the dynamic modern workplace, emotional resilience is now considered as a valuable trait of an employee who deals well with the stress and difficulties that occur.

>> Recommended reading: Work overload is an issue that your business can learn to work around

The traits of emotional resilience

Emotional resilience may look different depending on the context and there are varying degrees of how well a person can handle stress. Yet, there are a few specific characteristics that resilient people tend to share.

  • Optimism makes people more resilient by always seeing the bright side of most situations.
  • Emotional awareness is a trait that helps people understand what they are feeling and why thus, enhancing their empathy skills that help them understand the feelings of others.
  • Spirituality isn’t about being overly religious but about being connected to your spiritual side which has been linked with stronger emotional resilience.
  • Sense of humor is connected with the ability to laugh at life’s difficulties, thus coping with challenges more easily.


Resiliency is a trait you develop

Emotional resilience is, to a degree, something that you are born with. Pat Fredshaw, EssaySupply content editor explains: “By nature, some people are less upset by changes and surprises due to their optimistic attitude. Yet, emotional resilience can be built up by each individual in their everyday life and career over time.”

It is a trait that can be developed, learned, and honed through conscious decisions to observe and practice, even if you are naturally more sensitive to life’s difficulties.  Here’s how to be more gritty and tough when life gets hard:

1. Nurture a positive view of yourself

Part of resilience is emotional awareness by helping us get in touch with our psychological needs to overcome difficulties or failure. Self-awareness is an important trait to be able to listen to the subtle cures your brain and body are sending and to be aware of your boundaries. Nurturing a positive view of yourself and developing confidence in your abilities to cope with problems and trusting your instincts help you build resilience.

2. Practice optimism

Looking at the bright side of any situation you may face keeps you going. A positive way of viewing the situation is where you maximize your strengths and accomplishments and minimize your weaknesses and setbacks. Truly resilient people who need to overcome the harshest situations and accomplish their goals balance a positive outlook with a realistic view of the situation.

3. Get and provide social support

Resilient people tend to seek out the company of other resilient people for mutual support. Veronica Wright, CEO at ResumesCentre claims that resilient employees that can work at the highest level with dedication and engagement send a clear and positive message to the other employees or team members.

4. Practice acceptance

Resilient people understand that stress and painful experiences are part of life and that it is better to accept the negative feelings to overcome them rather than denying or repressing them. However, practicing acceptance to build resiliency in not about giving up and letting the stress take over you but to accept the experience with the full range of emotions that you are feeling and trusting that you will bounce back and learn from it.

5. Perceive failure as a learning process

Perhaps the best way to develop resilience is to practice positive thinking towards the problem by turning failures into learning experiences. Failures come with a strong feeling of disappointment that makes people fall apart. Yet, by perceiving failure as a learning process, you can analyze what led to it and find solutions for improvement.

Building resilience takes time and effort but it is a trait that is worth developing for improving your life and the way you experience stress. Since stress and change are part of life, there is always a multitude of opportunities to practice and develop resilience.


James Daily is a seasoned content marketing writer and head of the content department. He is also a frequent contributor to blogs that relate to content development, social media marketing, and spreading brand awareness.

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