Psychologists define emotional resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or any other significant sources of stress. Resilience involves bouncing back from difficult experiences—and it can lead to profound personal growth. Here are some strategies to help you become more resilient in 2022.
1. Validate your emotions. If your days sometimes feel like a slog, remind yourself that there are good reasons for feeling that way. Research shows that when we negate our emotions, we wind up feeling worse. Validating them acknowledges the truth of our experiences.
2. Check in with your body. Take notice of physical symptoms like stomach tension and heaviness in the chest. It might be an indication that you need to slow down. Deep-breathing exercises and distractions like reading or watching TV can ease both body and mind.
3. Accumulate positive emotions. Make a daily commitment to doing things you enjoy. This has been especially important during the pandemic, when such opportunities can feel even more limited.
4. Take opposite action. Instead of isolating and being inactive, reach out to others and increase your activity. An improved mood just may follow.
5. Practice everyday acceptance. It’s easy to get needlessly upset with headaches, hassles and inconveniences. But minor problems can provide opportunities for acceptance. Simply take a deep breath and say to yourself, “This is what life is like.”
6. Make a list of problems you don’t have. It can help you step away and gain a healthier perspective.
7. Be flexible. Being too rigid creates needless misery. Be open to the perspectives of others, rather than imposing your own will.
8. Practice daily self-care. Make specific healthy commitments, write them down, and share them with friends and family. Then be sure to follow through.