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« 2. Emotional resilience: Tough head or warm heart? »

Written by Rachel Green, Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute, accredited user of the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso-Emotional-Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and internationally recognised Emotional Intelligence Coach.

Emotional intelligence is not about being soft and gooey, far from it. The ability to generate positive emotions in your working life is certainly an important part of it but so is emotional resilience and dealing with negative emotions.

Emotional resilience is a significant emotional intelligence competency that comes under the emotional intelligence banner of emotional self-management.

Who needs emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience is important for everyone in the workplace.

The workplace is full of unexpected problems, negative outcomes, unrealistic deadlines, endless changes, a lack of resources, difficult people and volatile discussions.

And that's just on a Monday!

Your ability to stay healthy and productive through these ever changing scenes is vital.

If you can do this you have emotional resilience and emotional intelligence.

What is emotional resilience?

Emotional resilience has a number of key attributes. I think of it as having a tough head and a warm heart at the same time.

Out of its many features here are ten pivotal ones.

Want to know what levels of emotional intelligence you have and identify areas of possible improvement and receive coaching from a top emotional intelligence coach? Sign up to have the MSCEIT conducted and receive coaching on your results. It could change your life - for the better. Click here to find out more.

Emotional resilience is the ability to:

  1. Not let insignificant issues trouble you or distract you from your priorities or emotional wellbeing.
  2. Not take things personally those matters, comments or actions that are not to do with you, so you don't waste time and energy being upset, sulking or retaliating.
  3. Stay calm and clear headed when the pressure and stress around you is high. In other words you have the mental toughness to guard against being sucked in.
  4. Bounce back quickly after upsets, set-backs and bad moods or emotions. You don't get stuck in bitterness, anger or resentment.
  5. Look after yourself psychologically, spiritually and emotionally even when you are frantic. You don't neglect yourself whilst still being able to care for others. This takes mental discipline and an appreciation of what's important. Too often when people are no longer resilient and they become overwhelmed, tense or stressed, they stop looking after themselves and indulge in self-defeating behaviour.
  6. Keep a sense of humour. Losing your sense of humour and no longer laughing at issues you'd normally laugh at is one of the early warning signs of too much stress.
  7. Keep things in perspective, rather than letting emotions such as anger, exasperation or anxiety distort your world view, so you can judge situations fairly.
  8. Not take on board other people's problems, stupidity or emotions, whilst at the same time being able to be compassionate and care for others. This requires mental toughness and a warm heart.
  9. Stay physically well and strong with a healthy immune system even in times of emotional or physical difficulty. This may include whilst undergoing work problems, poor performance feedback or even grief.
  10. Being able to feel and express your emotions in ways that are safe, clear and healthy. Emotional resilience does not mean pushing your emotions down or away, or ignoring them altogether. It means acknowledging and managing them well. Your heart needs to stay open toward you, so you can care for yourself in even the worst times.

Emotional resilience is not:

  1. Drowning your sorrows in alcohol.
  2. Blocking out your feelings with drugs.
  3. Saying to hell with you and to hell with everything.
  4. Ignoring everyone else and always putting yourself first.
  5. Being aggressive, verbally violent or looking for a fight.
  6. Not crying when someone you love dies.
  7. Pretending that everything is okay when it is not.
  8. Being too tough to tell someone you are proud of them, love them or appreciate them.

Emotional resilience is not just about being tough as this is often based on the denial of emotions and physical and emotional needs. 

Emotional denial or suppression may be needed at specific times in order to survive when you're in the military or the police and witnessing traumatic events, but over time this may lead to health problems or post-traumatic stress.

In contrast, emotional resilience is a healthy balance between a tough head and a warm heart, set in a context of emotional self-awareness. 

Emotional resilience is a healthy way of managing your life and your emotions, and staying well even in difficult circumstances.

How high is your emotional intelligence & emotional resilience?

There is so much that you can do to develop your emotional resilience and the E.I. Institute has a number of options to help you:

Worried that you don't have enough emotional resilience and that you need to develop your emotional intelligence more? Our unique, practical, 5-star emotional intelligence coaching package is available for you and includes the opportunity to have your emotional intelligence assessed. Boost your resilience now. Find out more here.