All this talk about ‘resilience’, but what does really mean and how do we experience it ourselves. Dictionary definition is:
1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
2. the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity.
The series of workshops we now run all focus on ‘Closing the Wellbeing gap’ and we chose that title to highlight how being truly ‘healthy’ transcends the idea of just ‘not being ill’. The ‘wellbeing gap’ refers to the distance between just managing and feeling at your best.
Building your resilience, physically and emotionally, strengthens your capacity to cope and bounce back from difficulties and challenging situations life may throw your way. It’s what can allow you to truly thrive, not just be ‘OK’.
Resilience is not about being happy all the time, it is about having the tools to embrace life and cope well and positively with it’s ups and downs.
Physical resilience seems easier for people to grasp, keeping your body functioning well through diet, sleep, exercise makes great sense. But what does good emotional health look like?
Emotional health is a state of ‘positive psychological functioning’, the "optimal" end of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours and how we react to them and how we project them externally.
It can be thought of as an extension of mental health, but mental health tends to conjure up the full spectrum including mental ‘ill-health’ or illness, whereas ‘emotional heath’ focuses only on the positive aspects.
Also emotional health is specifically focused on our social and emotional behaviour, such as the ability to empathise or regulate our emotions, whereas mental health also encompasses cognitive and neurological functioning, including things like memory and impulse control.
The Samaritans definition is;
“Emotional health is about how we think and feel. It is about our sense of wellbeing, our ability to cope with life events and how we acknowledge our own emotions as well as those of others. It doesn’t mean being happy all of the time.”
To build emotional resilience, many mindfulness techniques come into play. These tend to be simple techniques to help us pay attention to what is going on in any one moment and in my experience are really aiming to give you that extra millisecond of awareness to see other possible outcomes before you react, giving you a brief moment to maybe make another choice. This is the path to developing good emotional health.
As with all these things, small habit changes over time can come to have a remarkable impact on your life, so choosing a few techniques, be it with breath, getting more sleep, meditation, taking a regular walk (really whatever works for you) and implementing them into your life regularly will begin to build your resilience and set the positive intention that will help you grow from there.
My favourite quote at the moment and one I belief is really true is;
First it is an intention, then a behaviour, then a habit, then a practice, then a second nature, then it is simply who you are…..