Are you the type of person who reacts to the smallest of things? Do you find that your emotions often snowball out of control? If so, you’re not alone. As a society, we are programmed to allow our emotions to be triggered by external events, people, and situations.
However, part of improving our mental health involves developing a stronger inner self. This includes strengthening your mental and emotional resilience so that you are less affected by what’s happening around you. Below are a few strategies to help get you there.
Pivot Negative Thoughts
How often do you monitor your thoughts and redirect them? Most of the time, we’re accustomed to just thinking without conscious awareness. This includes our excitements, worries, stresses, anxieties, annoyances, and the list goes on. And, if you’re a negative thinker, these thoughts can spiral out of control, causing you to feel irritated, angry, and defeated.
Part of strengthening your mental and emotional resilience involves being aware of your thoughts and then consciously pivoting them towards positivity. In other words, taking the time to fix your inner mantras can go a long way towards making you feel stronger. While this can be a challenge at first, it is a great way to start mastering yourself.
One of the best ways to pivot negative thoughts is to use positive affirmations. For example, take the current pandemic. You could choose to focus on all the problems and miseries associated with it, whether it’s death rates, the economy, or the fact that you can’t socialize the way you used to. Or you could choose to pivot your thoughts towards something more constructive.
Even if it’s a minor adjustment from ‘this situation is dire’ to ‘this situation is improving all the time’, it can go a long way towards making you feel lighter and less defeated. Other good affirmations to practice in difficult times include ‘all will be well’ and ‘I am in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing’.
The thing to remember about thoughts is that they easily gain momentum. This applies to both positive and negative ones, so you need to decide on what you want to experience. The more you think a certain way, the more intense it becomes. Thoughts have tremendous power, so choose them wisely.
Bolster Your Self-Reliance
Another way to strengthen your mental and emotional resilience is to become more self-reliant. When we feel weak and incapable of handling life’s curveballs, we can become an emotional mess. Whether it’s as simple as coping with sudden life changes or being able to handle ourselves in our jobs, the degree to which we trust ourselves to get through it can make a huge difference to our mental and emotional well-being.
If you’re not sure how you fare in this regard, consider how well you deal with everyday situations. Do you feel you can manage it if something unexpected happens? Or do you feel anxious if things don’t operate according to plan?
The beauty of self-reliance is that when you believe in yourself, you’re less afraid of the outside world. Sudden changes to your job, relationships, or life path will seem more manageable, and you’ll rely less on external supports to keep you afloat. The more you trust yourself to handle anything that comes your way, the less affected you’ll be by unwanted situations.
So, how do you bolster your self-reliance? One of the best ways is to throw yourself into situations that scare you or make you uncomfortable. The more you can feel the success of getting through something, the stronger you’ll get.
For example, say you’re afraid of public speaking. Each time you force yourself to do it, the more you can pat yourself on the back for getting through it. Another part of improving self-reliance is positive self-talk. Rather than berate yourself, give yourself credit and compliments for all that you’re achieving each day.
When your self-esteem and self-reliance are operating at full throttle, it can act as a wall, blocking out anything that would normally send you off balance. This takes practice, but the more you work on strengthening yourself from the inside out, the more resilient you will be.
Tap into Your Intuition
Our intuition and gut instinct are our greatest allies. Your gut will tell you when to jump, when to stay put, and when to make a change. Your intuition is also one of your best guides when it comes to deciding which career path to take next.
When our intuition is weak, we can end up relying too much on our minds to make decisions. Overthinking can lead to anxiety as we paint ourselves into a corner, unsure of what to do next. But when our intuition is strong, and we’re able to connect to it, it means you are more in command of your life. This also leads to stronger mental and emotional resilience because you trust yourself to adequately respond to life’s demands.
Remember, your intuition is your inner wisdom. When you can fully tap into that power, you will feel less threatened by external events. If you want to bolster your resilience, learn how to tap into your intuition. ‘Feel’ your way forward rather than think about it. You’ll know in your heart whether something feels right or not.
Learn to Master Your Emotions
Learning to master your emotions is a tough one. After all, we’re used to simply reacting to whatever we see and experience. However, when you begin to consciously choose how you want to feel, the outside world begins to have less grip over you.
For example, rather than getting swept up in the media hype around the Covid pandemic, you could decide that you want to feel differently. Instead, you could choose to feel good as often as possible, no matter what world events or personal situations are occurring around you.
This requires discipline and the ability to monitor your emotions and redirect them (similar to your thoughts). While it can be difficult at first, becoming aware of what you’re feeling in each moment gives you more autonomy over your reactions. Instead of being swept up in anger and acting out, you have the power to stop yourself, become aware of what you’re feeling in your body, and then find ways to calm yourself and change your feelings to a more positive state.
As Eckhart Tolle recommends, “Make it a habit to ask yourself: what’s going on inside me at the moment? But don’t analyze, just watch. Feel the energy of the emotion. If there is no emotion present, take your attention more deeply into the inner energy field of your body. When you completely accept this moment, when you no longer argue with what is, the compulsion to think lessens and is replaced by an alert stillness”.
Mastering your emotions takes patience, discipline, and practice, but it can be one of the strongest and most rewarding things you do for your mental health. Over time, you’ll find that you react less intensely to situations and have more command over what you feel. Meditation, deep breathing, and paying attention to the physical sensations inside your body are great techniques for starting this process.
Alternatively, if you need additional support, clinical mental health counseling or therapy can also be highly effective. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is known for helping clients change their thinking and manage their emotions.
Finally, another way to strengthen your mental and emotional resilience is to practice acceptance. In other words, rather than being attached to a particular outcome, you accept the situation for what it is.
Too often, we create misery for ourselves by wanting something to be different than what it is. This kind of non-acceptance can be seen when relationships end, when people pass away, or when something doesn’t work out the way we want.
While acceptance can be one of the most difficult things to do, it is also the most freeing. Being able to accept life and the changes it throws at you means you develop a deeper strength inside. Non-acceptance, on the other hand, can fester and lead to all kinds of physical and emotional illness.
It should be noted that non-acceptance is not about passivity or defeat. It is about letting go of how you think something should be. If someone close to you has passed away, for instance, the healthiest thing to do is let go and move on. Non-acceptance of the situation can lead to a state of despair while you rage about how unfair it all is.
To put it simply, acceptance is about letting go. It is about being non-attached to situations, people, and even objects and allowing yourself to flow through life. Acceptance is also about feeling strong in the face of adversity and trusting yourself to get through it no matter what. It is about moving on and not depending on an external situation to make you feel okay. And, ultimately, it is about acknowledgment and release rather than resistance and suppression.