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Emotional Resilience

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Emotional resilience refers to one’s ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises. More resilient people are able to "roll with the punches" and adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties; less resilient people have a harder time with stress and life changes, both major and minor (Scott, 2020).

Emotional and physical resilience is, to a degree, something you're born with. Some people, by nature, are less upset by changes and surprises – this can be observed in infancy and tends to be stable throughout one’s lifetime.2

Emotional resilience is also related to some factors that aren't under your control, such as:

  • Age

  • Exposure to trauma

  • Gender

However, resilience can be developed with some effort and practice. If you know what to do, you can become more resilient, even if you are naturally more sensitive to life’s difficulties (Cherry, 2022).

According to Scott (2020), thee traits of emotional resilience are emotional awareness, perseverance, internal locus of control, optimism, sense of humour, support, perspective, and spirituality, and it can be achieved by building connections with other people, managing your own thoughts, and looking after yourself.

Cherry (2022) narrows it down to sense of control, problem solving skills, strong social connections, survivor mentality, emotional regulation, and self-compassion. She says that resilient people are aware of situations, their emotional reactions, and the behaviour of those around them. If you are aware, then you have a sense of control on how you proceed with your decision making. She also mentions that these skills are useful when confronting a crisis.

Another discovery is the Resilience Toolkit by NHS (2022) which gives ten tops for resilience and is a toolkit using activities to build resilience in youth organisations. This offers ten methods; Remain positive, Establish realistic and achievable goals, Strategies, Identity, Learn from experience, Introduce, Enjoy, Needs, Connect, and Embrace change. The activities are interesting, but very mundane. However, this offers useful insight into different ways resilience can be built.

Elizabeth Scott, P.D. (2020) Why emotional resilience is a trait you can develop, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: (Accessed: November 25, 2022).

Cherry, K. (2022) What does it mean to be resilient?, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: (Accessed: November 25, 2022).

See me | end mental health stigma and discrimination (no date) See Me End Mental Health Discrimination. See Me Scotland. Available at: (Accessed: November 25, 2022).

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