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Exercises to develop emotional resilience

Kim Morgan gives us the tools to be more resilient in work and life

by Psychologies

Identify your strengths

Focusing on your strengths will increase your confidence, generate optimism and help you to value yourself. Take some time to answer the following questions, without false modesty. If you are feeling brave, ask someone you really trust and respect to answer the questions about you, too.

  • What is the best thing about you?
  • What do you like most about yourself?
  • What are you like when you are at your best?
  • What, or who, brings out the best in you?
  • What is your most significant achievement?
  • How have your strengths helped you in the past?
  • How can your strengths help you in the future?

Try to find new ways to use your strengths each week.

Find the positives and the negatives

When we lack resilience, we tend to zoom in on the negatives of a situation and ignore the positives. Emotionally resilient people look at both the bad and and good aspects equally. Develop the skill of finding the upsides and downsides of a situation. For example, ‘I made a fool of myself by crying in front of my team’ versus, ‘I am only human, and at least the team knows that I care and am comfortable with my emotions.’ It isn’t about pretending that everything is wonderful, it’s about developing a more balanced perspective of situations.

“Those things that hurt also teach”

It is often said that 100 per cent of the courage it takes to do something scary turns into confidence. Learn to take a few more risks and your self-belief will grow. Do it in a managed way and take it slowly. Remind yourself of the bravest things you have ever done, and what you learned from them? Make a list of courageous things that you would still like to do and determine to work through it, setting yourself regular challenges. We are not necessarily talking about sky-diving here! Your list simply has to be challenging for you, and could include things such as:

  • Going to the cinema on your own
  • Changing your hairstyle
  • Taking up a new hobby or sport

Taking risks expands your comfort zone and helps you see that you are capable of far more than you thought, and you may even make new friends.

Read Kim's coaching story on emotional resilience here

Photograph: iStock