A couple of weeks ago I was considering what I would like as my goals in 2021 by comparison to my 2020 goals. One specific question I asked myself was “What can I do to help build emotional resilience?”

Why?

We have had to learn to do lots of things differently during the last year, and our resilience has been sorely tested.

We are always experiencing new challenges, but during lockdown our ability to cope with the disconnection from our family, friends and work, is and has been, a particularly bitter pill to swallow.

Here are my 5 Tips & Emotional Resilience Exercises

1) Get out into nature

Generally being out in nature can lead to better health, and if you have access to local woods, there is something special about being among trees.

Research has shown that walking among trees has lowered people’s blood pressure, cortisol levels, pulse rates, and sympathetic nervous system activity (related to stress), while increasing their parasympathetic nervous system activity (related to relaxation)

Apart from producing the oxygen we breathe, research says walking in the woods or in forests, can engender trust, a sense of wonder and of being in the presence of something larger than oneself, and also suggests that engaging with trees help us to feel kinder toward others

For all of these reasons, on a daily basis, I engage with trees, whether it’s looking out the window or on my ‘nearly’ daily walk, or while I am driving. I like to appreciate, on purpose, the trees that I see, whether it is the freshness of spring, or the different greens of summer, the glorious changes of colours in autumn.

get out into nature

2) Build emotional resilience by being more active

For those of us who are spending more time in front of screens during lockdown, it is even more important to exercise.  Sitting too much can have a negative effect on posture and health.

So, find ways of moving around more throughout the day, for example:

  • exercise while watching TV,
  • stretch your arms up while sitting in your chair,
  • pace while being on the phone,
  • park further away from where you park your car,
  • use the stairs instead of lifts,

and definitely go for daily walks.

3) Breathe

The kind of breath I find very calming, is to breathe into the belly for the count of 4 and out for the count of 6. You can do this when you are emotionally triggered around health issues, financial concerns, or global concerns.

However don’t wait until you are triggered to practice, practice all the time, so you have it at your fingers tips when you need it

Doing this belly breathing, will leave you feeling empowered rather than feeling out of control of your emotions.

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4) Get a hug regularly

At the beginning of 2021, this may well be easier said than done, especially if you live on your own.

A response to hugging produces the hormone oxytocin, which has many benefits for our physical and mental health.  Among other things, it helps us to relax, to feel safe and to calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful tranquilliser is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms.

And if you are on your own, you can put your own arms around yourself, hug yourself, and then stroke down from your shoulders down to the elbows a few times, and this will trigger the brain into delta wave activity which induces calmness, which in turn regulates your nervous system, and boosts your immune system

we need a hug to build emotional resilience

5) Take responsibility for your life

How, you might ask, do I take charge of my life?

Would you rather live a life with rules imposed on you, or would you prefer to lead a life that is governed by you?

It’s easy to put blame on things that are external to you, as it avoids personal responsibility and allows you to ignore what could be beneficial if you, if you changed.

So what can you change?

  • Eating healthier food, eat less food:
    Try reducing junk food. Cooking from scratch is a good way to start, it allows you to save money, eat the food you love, cooked just the way you like it.

  • Watch less TV:
    Most of us spend too much time in front of the TV. Why not try cutting down to the programmes you really want to watch, so you don’t just mindlessly end up watching anything and everything. Once we manage to do this, we realise just how productive a day can really be.

  • Become more organised:
    It doesn’t matter how much time you have on your hands if you don’t manage it properly, you will end up wasting sooooo much time.  When you get organised there will suddenly be more time to spare and things will start falling into place. Try making to-do lists, and making time in your diary for everything that needs doing – in order of priority. And don’t forget to set aside time for  You can’t do everything you want to do, if you don’t look after yourself first.

  • Spend less time on social media:
    Social media has become a serious addiction. It’s fine to stay in touch with friends and family, but if you consistently spend more and more time each day on social media, it could impact your mood, and wellbeing in general.  We sometimes use social media to numb ourselves to our own feelings, we also experience the fear of missing out, because everyone posts ‘such a wonderful life’ on social media, meanwhile, in reality we are all in the same boat facing similar challenges.  Try doing a detox for an hour, then 2 hours, then 3 hours……and see how powerful that can fee

  • Stop procrastinating:
    The biggest barrier that keeps most of us from reaching our goals. Once we get used to procrastinating it’s difficult to snap out of it, it is so worth it to change this habit.  Once you start doing something, it is easier to continue, so just start.  Try doing something for 2 minutes, and then another 2 minutes…..

I hope you have found these tips useful and can apply some or all of them to help you build emotional resilience. Feel free to share with friends and family!