How to Build Emotional Resilience

October 18, 2017

Emotional resilience is the ability to recover or rebound quickly from difficulties; the ability to spring back after being bent, compressed, stretched.

There’s a word that keeps appearing in my tweets and Facebook feed and it sort of feels like a trendy buzzword being thrown around with other words such as grit, tenacity and mindset.


I hear it in meetings, among my mom friends, and on my entrepreneurial masterminds so finally I had to stop and really dig in to the meaning.  What are we all talking about….?

Resilience is the ability to recover or rebound quickly from difficulties; the ability to spring back after being bent, compressed, stretched. It’s buoyancy.

One interesting thing about resilience is that if you are lucky enough to never experience any sort of adversity, you won’t know how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with life’s challenges, obstacles, stress, and other threats that resilience, or the lack of it, appears and develops.  Nietzsche famously said “that which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” So basically the best way to develop resilience is through hardship. Makes me think about P90X (ever do that fitness program?)  Well, it about killed me. It is a rigorous 90-day regimen to sculpt and tone your body.  The intent is to breakdown your muscles in order build them up in a more defined way.

Resilience itself is a muscle that can be built through your own “breakdowns.” Sounds painful so why do we want to build resilience? The result of these strong resilient muscles is less perceived stress, higher job satisfaction, better health and more engagement and productivity in life. **see the study below

So then how do we build emotional resilience?

The number one factor in developing resiliency is PERCEPTION of an event or experience.  Is an event or experience perceived as traumatic or an opportunity to grow? If perceived as an opportunity then we become more flexible and willing to adjust, learn and adapt, therefore, more resilient.

If we can remember that that nothing lasts forever and one day things will be different, we can navigate through life’s downs while waiting for the next “up.”  If we have the perception of a whole life made of many parts and see our challenges as one part of a whole life, we are more resilient.

Another factor in building resilience is our ATTITUDE so express gratitude and remember that things can always be worse.

Serving others always gives us a sense of worth especially when facing adversity so CONTRIBUTE. Give to others, give care to yourself and do it freely (without feeling selfish).

Now when I hear the word resilience I think of it more as a response than an action. It is not as much about what I am going through but more about I choose to perceive it.

Think of your own life… what’s one challenge or experience you have endured that has built your resilience?  Did it make you stronger? Did you have to use grit and tenacity to navigate through your difficulties? Did you endure? I’d love to hear your story.


** meQuilibrium surveyed 2,000 employed individuals, ranging from age 18 to 64. They completed the company’s proprietary resilience assessment, developed by its team of experts who have spent decades studying resilience and positive psychology. The survey focuses on the seven key factors of resilience –emotional regulation, impulse control, causal analysis, self-efficacy, realistic optimism, empathy, and sense of adventure – which ultimately roll into one resilience score. To validate the impact of resilience, the participants completed industry-standard, validated tests including the Copenhagen Psychological Questionnaire (measure of burnout), PHQ-9 measure of depression, Perceived Stress Scale and the WPAI presenteeism measure.

"Coaching with Elle has given a brand new perspective, and I always look forward to our sessions. She tells me what I need to hear and guides me to find root problems and become more flexible. Now, I’ve filled the gaps in my leadership style so that I can be the leader my people need."

— Stacy Vorhees, Owner/Operator - McDonald's Corporation

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