5 Easy Ways to Become Emotionally Robust
Increase Emotional Strength
Why do I need to be emotionally strong?
WE know that many physical illnesses and symptoms are caused or contributed to by emotional upset. Whether it is prolonged stress, acute anxiety, sorrow or sadness over events, they will all take a toll on our physical health. There is no part of our body or physiological systems that is not impacted by our emotions, the circulatory system, digestive system, nervous system, respiratory and auto immune systems all 'suffer' when we are in turmoil emotionally and of course the resulting physical symptoms often increase the emotional problems still further.
Clearly our emotional health also has an impact on our mind and emotional problems can impair our cognitive processing. If left unresolved they can lead to mental health problems.
But we can't change the world, life will probably keep causing upsets to each of us periodically so if we are to thrive we need to develop emotional strength. If we want to increase physical strength we accept that we need to train. The same is true for emotional strength so commit to making changes and training yourself to be stronger.
1 - Look After Yourself
It's so obvious but often overlooked, especially when the emotional 'heat' is on. It starts by simply getting the basics right on every level. Look after your body; eat well have a balanced diet of fresh healthy food, make sure you get enough sleep, and try to include some exercise. These are physical things but they help us emotionally - and if we are stressed or feeling low they are the very things we often skip and of course that makes us feel worse.
But it's not just physical, make sure too that you get some time to recharge you batteries, especially in times that are fraught. Taking some time for reflection and relaxation is vital. In terms of building emotional strength try to build in some regular times for some mindfulness or meditation - when you are very busy it is easy to see it as a luxury but it is essential to look after your mind as well as your body.
Make sure that you also make time for friends - the good ones, the supportive friends the ones who make you feel better - over time having those positive relationships will increase your emotional strength.
3 - Be Realistic
You need to develop a realistic view of yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. You are a special and unique individual with many talents BUT you are human. Sadly you are not able to save the world. IN fact you are not able to please everybody all of the time. It just isn't possible. But if that's what you try doing, for example by saying yes to all manner of things that are of no benefit to you simply because you don't want to upset people, then you will suffer the consequences. People who spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep every body happy simply end up exhausted themselves. This is true in business as well as in life. You need to have a clear sense of purpose but you also need to be realistic and learn how to say no to things that will not benefit you or take you in the direction you need to go. People will get upset but their emotions are their responsibility.
2 - Learn to say NO
It sounds so simple yet it is something a lot of people find hard to do for a whole variety of reasons. This links to the next point below but it is vital to learn to say NO to things . Often you need to say no because to say yes would not be in your best interests, taking on yet another role when you are already busy for example, helping someone out when you know you need a bit of a rest yourself, or simply doing something that you don't want to do. I am not suggesting that it is never right to help others out because obviously it is right to do that, but what I am saying is that YOU ARE IMPORTANT TOO and sometimes you NEED to put yourself first. In fact by doing that and developing more emotional strength then you will be able to help more people or be more supportive to those you care about for longer rather than becoming burnt out yourself.
4 - Develop a Positive Mind Set
We all have control over some aspects of our lives and clearly the choices we make will have an impact on us. But there are also those elements we don't have control over, STUFF HAPPENS. Sometimes it can be easy to get into a bit of a hole over things because sadly, loss, change and disappointment are all part of life.
But while we might not have control over the events we can certainly have control over our response. Have you ever noticed how the folks with really negative mind sets seem to always have problems. Well actually they often just have the same as everybody else, they just respond to them differently. Almost everyone will have some time in their lives when everything seems to go wrong and even then we have a choice. We can take action where we can but where there is nothing we can do we can still make sure that our attitude and mind set doesn't make the whole situation worse. Felling sorry for ourselves rarely changes a situation, so while it is ok to express emotion, if we dwell in the feelings, it will be hard to move on. It's a great practice simply to learn to be grateful - not only for the big things but all the little things. Simply counting your blessings, a home, food, friends, and health can help us have a positive outlook even when some things seem bleak. Regularly practising gratitude definitely increases emotional strength.
5 - Learn to manage your emotions
Being positive in our mind set does not mean that we simply ignore our emotions. In fact bottling up emotions will almost always lead to further problems. So we need to learn to express emotions appropriately and then move on. If we are saddened through a loss, it's essential to express that, if we are angry we need to be honest about that feeling and express it appropriately, in a way that doesn't cause damage to ourselves or others. That may mean we need to assertively explain how we see things, while also being prepared to listen, it may mean we make a formal complaint - it may mean we indulge in some physical exercise to 'vent' certain feelings, or we may need to off load to a trusted friend.
The important thing is to acknowledge the feeling so that you can deal with it. I find lots of people live their lives in fear, fear of upsetting people or fear of failing, as well as fears of animals, flying or any number of other things. If you find that a particular fear dictates what choices you make in life then it is probably time to get some help to deal with that fear.
But remember emotions are also really positive, spend time with the people who make you laugh, practise smiling a bit more, make a decision to tell people about the good things - this will help to build 'emotional muscle'.
The time for Action is Now
IN many ways we never know when we may need to be emotionally robust. A phone call or letter can sometimes plunge us into difficult times. So if you want to be prepared to face whatever life throws at you then start to develop your emotional strength now.
BY taking the steps above and regularly practicing the key elements you will be developing your ability to be robust in the face of future struggles. But only if you take action. We have all read things where we think 'that's a good idea' but then proceed to do absolutely nothing about it.
So the choice is yours. You can choose to take action or not but if you want ot become emotionally robust then now is the time to take the first step.