The second aspect of our own internal resilience support systems can be described as our Emotional Intelligence.
It is unrealistic for all of us to expect life to be smooth and without emotional upsets, and clearly with our common latest challenge of Covid 19, we have no previous specific life experience to draw on. But we do have our emotional skills that can be used in any environment. As Victor Frankl famously said,
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
So how do we do that exactly?
Well, we draw on certain skills of self-awareness, labelling and measuring our emotions and self-regulating. We can also grow our optimism and express our emotions in a useful and helpful way. Again, as with last week’s internal awareness of our unique skills, we do not have to be excellent at all of these aspects to have strong mental health and we can boost each individual area a small amount to improve our sense of wellbeing and resilience. If we can have have some patience around improving rather than perfecting, we can see progress and growth in resilience.
So to start with, we can ask ourselves how we are feeling.
Try to be exact as possible, label that emotion as specifically as you can. There are charts on the internet or apps too assist with this. Then examine how strong or weak that feeling is, gain some perspective around it. Then share it, express it and let it go in time. Depending on the emotion, this can be relatively straightforward or exceedingly challenging, but really sitting with it and exploring how it feels in your body, how it impacts your breathing or your heart rate can help create some distance between the feeling and you.
We never stop learning about ourselves and no one gets this right all the time, but the good news is we can become more skilled at it, and subsequently build confidence around our ability to cope…our resilience.
Here are a few resources to help if you are interested in finding out more:
The Mood meter app for labelling, perspective and responding to emotions