Our physical health is no more important than our mental or spiritual health. Overall health is a balance of the body, mind and spirit. Yet in order to understand, scientists reduce or simplify their queries into our human behaviors by compartmentalizing them into manageable packages. One such package is emotional resilience (ER). This is how we seek to learn not only to notice our emotional responses but to choose responses that serve us in more positive ways. It is how ER can help you be healthier.
Finding ways to be uplifted and motivated by the challenges life brings really is a choice that we have control over. We can no more control the circumstances or events that happen to us than we can predict the future of their outcomes. After all, we don’t own a crystal ball.
But, even during the most traumatic and challenging of times we can find our way to safety and healing by learning to focus on what we can do, on what we still have, and on what we can create or innovate. This is how emotional resilience can help you be healthier.
First, it’s about controlling what you think about what is happening in your life. Our thoughts have energy and can guide or influence our behavior through the emotions those thoughts generate. How we feel about what is happening is our perspective.
Being aware that our perspective is not permanent but can change, just like our emotional states change and adapt to the circumstances we find ourselves in, allows you the space to choose your response. An initial fear and anger reaction to having your car rear-ended can morph into sympathy and understanding after meeting the apologetic, elderly driver.
Switching from anger to compassion allows you to focus on the solution, to consider the other side of the situation, and to avoid rash decisions and behaviors that occur when we stay in anger. Choosing compassion over anger is how emotional resilience helps you to be healthier.
Kindness serves us, as well as others, in many positive, affirming ways.
Road rage occurs when we fail to choose a different perspective and instead act on that initial burst of anger. We see our damaged vehicle and can only think about the expense and inconvenience. But when we slow down, we can remember that we can choose a perspective of gratitude; no one was severely injured, both parties have insurance to cover expenses and repairs, and cars are replaceable while people are not.
Focusing on an attitude of gratitude uses one of the strongest positive emotions in our ER tool kit. According to Martin Seligman, the founder of the Positive Psychology movement and author of the book “ Authentic Happiness”, being grateful is key to obtaining happiness and living a full and healthier life. Emotional resilience helps you to be healthier because it helps you cultivate optimism by focusing on what you still have rather than what you may have lost. It’s the glass is half full perspective.
Lastly, changing one’s perspective by choosing compassion and gratitude, and then leading with the glass is half full mindset is very motivating and it generates hope. It opens the way to finding creative changes that you may not have even known you needed!
Life happens and most of it is beyond our control. The 3 reasons we can choose emotional resilience to be healthier are
- self-compassion and gratitude helps to change our perspectives,
- to encourage and attract more positive emotional energies into our lives
- to combat negative stress and unbidden duress.
Ruby, my 89-year-old mother, recently shared these words of wisdom after reaching for a glass of water. Her arthritis kicked in painfully preventing her from grasping anything. Her response? “Well, at least I know that I’m still living!” She immediately shifted into gratitude instead of a sour grapes mentality of not wanting the water at all or feelings of self-pity for her loss of dexterity. Glass may be too heavy for her now but paper cups work just fine, thank you!
“Well, at least I know that I’m still living!“
Finding innovative ways to solve a problem or manage a challenging issue is how we learn, how we grow, and how we get to flex our creativity muscles. It’s how we are reminded that we are indeed, very much alive! It is how we get to connect and work together to co-create a better world for ourselves and for all of humankind. It is how ER helps you be healthier and may I also add to be happier on your life’s journey.
I’m Dr. Sy Powell a board-certified OBGYN gone rogue! I now work from a holistic functional medicine perspective. I know that a functional medicine approach can completely change your life for the better. It’s done so for me. For a FREE e-book about taking back control of your health, visit this page. And to learn more about my work, visit my services page. Yours In Health