When challenges or problems arise that shake you to your core, how do you respond?

Your response to struggles is a direct reflection of your emotional resilience. Let’s talk more about emotional resilience and how you can develop that skill!

What Is Emotional Resilience?

Emotional resilience, also called emotional agility, is the ability to bounce back emotionally from stressful situations. It’s when you can calm your frantic mind after encountering a negative experience. 

Being emotionally resilient means you can cope or deal with distress and move forward. To put it simply, emotional resilience is the ability to cope with something healthily and constructively.

Life can be unpredictable. One second everything is going right, and then the next moment, your world is turned upside down. When things get turned upside down, we have two choices – to accept defeat or rise above. 

Rising above the rapidly shifting world requires energy and strength from emotional resilience. People with stronger emotional resilience can handle these stresses more effectively and calmly. They are also able to manage crises more easily. 

The good news is emotional resilience is not an innate talent or extraordinary ability. Everyone can be resilient! And, there are exercises you can use to strengthen your emotional resilience skills.

What Resilience Isn't

Having emotional resilience doesn’t mean that we won’t experience difficulty or distress. In fact, people who have suffered major adversity or trauma in their lives commonly experience emotional pain and stress. But it’s that pain and stress ultimately strengthen your resilience. 

People also can confuse resilience with “being tough” or “toughing it out.” But resilience is not about being tough or not feeling emotions. Being resilient means that you can healthily cope with your emotions.

The road to resilience can involve emotional distress. Like building a muscle, increasing resilience takes time and intentionality. But on this journey, we can rise above the situation through moments of heartbreak, stress, and frustration, like a phoenix from the ashes. 

Discover Your Resiliency Level

The resilience test is a series of 14 statements. Each statement encourages you to reflect on how your childhood circumstances developed your resilience. 

This test is designed to help you see a clearer picture of your childhood experiences and their impact on your life. It is through this that all can learn to see the hope of God’s faithfulness. Resilience is not just stumbled upon. It is forged in the trials and tribulations of life, causing us to become mature and complete (James 1:3-4).

Let’s take a moment to understand where this deep-seated resilience comes from in our life.

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The Characteristics of Resilience

Resilience is a skill that can be developed over time. Here are some characteristics of people who have strong coping skills and resilience. You can develop these characteristics as you strengthen your resilience.

  • A sense of control
  • Optimism, positivity, or a feeling of hope
  • Emotional awareness and intelligence
  • Social connection and support
  • Perseverance

How To Build Emotional Resilience

Taking steps to build your emotional resilience can help you deal with pressure and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. Resilience isn’t a personality trait – it’s something that we can all take steps to achieve.


1. Cultivate Optimism

Specifically, improving your emotional resilience requires you to be a more optimistic thinker.


2. Focus on Self-Care

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities and responsibilities of life and forget about yourself. But when your goal is to building resilience, self-care is essential. Whether you choose to journal, go for walks, or another self-care habit, taking time to care for yourself will help.


3. Get Inspired By Others

Whether you’re working through injury recovery, struggling with depression, mourning a lost loved one, or hitting speed bumps in your career, there’s an inspiring and helpful story out there from someone else who’s been through it and bounced back (just like you will).


4. Have Grace

Learning to have grace and be kinder to yourself is crucial. With grace and kindness, you can help control the amount of pressure you feel in different situations and feel less stressed.


5. Learn From Failure

Failing is a totally normal part of life. The next time you fail, ask yourself, “What is this experience trying to teach me and how can I learn from it so that I become a stronger person?”


6. Build your support network

Remember that whatever you’re going through that’s causing you stress, you don’t have to cope with it alone. Your family and friends can be there to help when you face stressful situations. 


7. Ask For Help

Getting help when you need it is crucial in building your resilience. For many people, using their own resources and the kinds of strategies listed above may be enough for building their resilience. But at times, you might get stuck or have difficulty making progress on the road to resilience.


Shelly Pinomaki, the founder of Seeking Hope, offers emotional first aid coaching in person and online. Click here to learn more!


The important thing is to remember you’re not alone on this journey! None of us can control all of our circumstances. But we can grow by focusing on the aspects of life’s challenges that we can manage with the support of loved ones and trusted experts.