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What is emotional resilience?

July 5, 2022 biancabilloni

What is emotional resilience?

July 5, 2022 Bianca Billoni
Resilient daisy plant flowering on a sandy desert with no water.

Emotional resilience consists of three main aspects: the ability to adapt to challenges, the ability to keep calm during challenges, and the ability to bounce back and grow from challenges. It’s all three of these traits put together that can make a person emotionally resilient.

“It is the strength to power through the storm and still keep the sail steady,” according to Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury, a psychiatric counselor certified by the Indian Psychoanalytical Society, in an article for Positive Psychology. “It is not a ‘bend but don’t break’ trait, rather resilience is accepting the fact that ‘I am broken’ and continuing to grow with the broken pieces together.”

Emotionally resilient people tend to possess several important qualities, such as:

Emotional awareness & regulation

To be emotionally resilient, you need to be aware of your emotions — and able to regulate them. You need to identify emotions as they arise and decide the appropriate means of expressing them. This does not mean you should bottle everything up or let everything out. Releasing emotions has a time and place, and the goal is to know those times and places so you can do it in a healthy fashion.


This quality is very much aligned with the above definition of emotional resilience. Perseverance entails not giving up even through tough obstacles. It means you’ll push through and make it to the other side of a difficult situation. Being able to keep going through hard times is a large part of emotional resilience.


It’s not necessary, but it certainly helps to have a positive outlook on life to build emotional resilience. I imagine it’s much harder to keep going through life’s obstacles with a pessimistic mindset. If you’re already expecting things to go in a bad direction, it’s unlikely you’ll be willing to push through them, let alone grow from them. Being able to hope for the best means you’re more likely to fight for the best when things aren’t looking so bright, which is very important to emotional resilience.

Social connections

Something that is incredibly helpful for building emotional resilience is a reliable support system. Whether this support comes from family, friends, or a whole community, the important part is the reliability of the support. Having people you can count on, especially through hard times, is a great motivator. There’s no shame in seeking out help when you’re feeling helpless. No one should have to go through hardships alone.

Sense of control

People with emotional resilience tend to have an internal locus of control. This means rather than blaming outside forces for problems in their lives, people will look inward to see how their own decisions led them to this. Not everyone can think this way, but people with an internal locus of control generally will be less stressed because they don’t spend time dwelling on the issue at hand. They will go right into how they can deal with it and move forward.

Some other useful qualities worth mentioning are flexibility, a sense of self-esteem, and a sense of humor. A combination of these qualities plus the ones listed above can be found in emotionally resilient people.

How to boost your own emotional resilience

Building your own emotional resilience can use several approaches. You can build connections by reaching out more to the people already in your life or by joining community groups that interest you. You can take better care of yourself by eating well, staying active, utilizing positive coping strategies and emotional outlets, or practicing spirituality. If you feel as though you have nothing to fall back on in times of struggle, create a list of reasons to keep pushing forward. List things that highlight what you believe to be your purpose or list people that motivate you to push through the tough times. Using these strategies along with building the above qualities act as a solid foundation for your own emotional resilience.

Building emotional resilience is not an easy task, but it will pay off greatly in the long run.

“Resilience is what gives people the emotional strength to cope with trauma, adversity, and hardship. Resilient people utilize their resources, strengths, and skills to overcome challenges and work through setbacks,” according to Katie Hurley, a child and adolescent psychotherapist, in an article for Everyday Health.

It allows you to move through life with motivation and hope. You will accept obstacles as they are thrown at you and find ways to work through them rather than letting them drag you down. Hopefully, now you feel ready to start or continue building your emotional resilience.

Bianca Billoni

Bianca Billoni is working as a marketing intern this summer before finishing her undergraduate degree next year in journalism and music. When she's not writing stories, watching Disney movies, or trying a new at-home workout, you can find her spending time with her cats Artemis and Apollo.

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