What is Emotional Resilience?

What is Emotional Resilience?

What is Emotional Resilience? How can Employers ensure Resilience at workplace?

“Resilience is a muscle. Flex it enough and it will take less effort to get over the emotional punches each time”

                                                           –  Alecia Moore

The word ‘resilience’ comes from the Latin word ‘resilio’ which means ‘to bounce back’ or retaliate.

Emotional resilience is a way of life that includes self-confidence, self-compassion, and improved cognition. It is the process through which we empower ourselves to see adversity as ‘temporary’ and continue to evolve despite the pain and suffering.

It’s not about winning the battle when it comes to emotional resilience. It is the ability to push through a storm while maintaining control of the sail. We adjust to changes that have never occurred in our lives before every ten years because we live in a technology revolution era. From strict digitalization to social media impact 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from the changing professions to adapting with the ways of Gen Y, it is only natural to feel emotionally tied down at times.

Emotional resilience refers to our ability to bounce back from a difficult situation without allowing it to impair our internal motivation. Resilience isn’t a “bend but don’t break” trait; rather, it’s acknowledging that “I am broken” and continuing to grow while holding the fractured pieces together. When we are resilient, we not only adapt ourselves to stress and disappointments, we also grow the insight to avoid actions that might lead us to face such situations. Consider the following resilience example:

E.g. Rahul is a chemical engineer, a dependable worker, a loving husband, and a great manager. He starts his work on time and is focused. He is keen to learn from his mistakes, never procrastinates and therefore, is able to meet most of the deadlines. Whenever he is unable to meet the target, he introspects the reason for the same, learns from his mistakes and moves forward.

Thus, Rahul is emotionally resilient.


Elements of Emotional Resilience

Emotional Resilience is made up of three components, or pillars, on which we can develop or improve our resilience. The three elements are sometimes known as the three dimensions of emotional resilience (McCarty & Childre, 2010):

Symbols of Resilience


The helix shape (or spiral) is a symbol of resilience. Nature offers many examples of helices (plural)

It is found throughout nature. It is found  in galaxies and weather patterns and in every living organism’s DNA. Sunflowers, vine tendrils, ferns, the shells of  and snails, seahorses, the horns of antelopes and sheep, even our fingerprints all have the helix as their underlying structure. The honey-suckle (which is also the “landscape flower” of Bohuslän) always grows in lefthanded helices. Seashells are  generally righthanded helix.

 Many plants become a helix in order to pass through environmental challenges and explore more of their environment.   In maths, a helix is defined as “a curve in three-dimensional space.An example of shape of helix is a spiral staircase,  the coil of a spring inside a sofa etc.

It symbolizes adaptability and perseverance, finding our way through adversity.

How is Resilience linked to emotional/mental well-being?

Resilience can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. 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.

Resilience can also help offset factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions, such as being bullied or  depression

Resilience is important because it can help to protect against the development of some mental health problems. . If you have an existing mental health condition, being resilient can improve your coping ability.

Resilience helps us to maintain our wellbeing in difficult circumstances.

Can Resilience be  developed ?

Even if you’re not a naturally resilient person, you can learn to develop a resilient mindset and attitude. Like any other skill, increasing your resilience takes time , focus and the right intention Focusing on four core components—connection, wellness, positive thinking, and finding meaning in your life —can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences.

How to ensure emotional resilience at work?

As per  the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a quarter of all employees consider their employment to be the most stressful aspect of their life.  As per mentalhelath.org.uk “Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure” Stress is our body’s response to pressure. Many different situations or life events can cause stress. It is often triggered when we experience something new, unexpected or that threatens our sense of self, or when we feel we have little control over a situation.

Many of us today work in very demanding work cultures that are always connected, always on, and where stress and burnout are common. Since the pace and intensity of contemporary work culture are not likely to change, its more important than ever to build resilience skills to effectively navigate your work life.

The most resilient individuals and teams aren’t the ones that don’t fail, but rather the ones that fail, learn and thrive because of it. Being challenged — sometimes severely — is part of what activates resilience as a skill set.

It’s an understanding that avoidance of failure results into avoidance of success. In order to attain what we want, we recognize we must be willing to accept what we don’t want. Instead of giving up, we welcome obstacles, setbacks and disappointments—no matter how painful, frustrating, big or small—as opportunities to grow and learn instead of as defeat.

An important part  to note is that not all stress is created equal and there are even some types of stress that may also have a positive effect on our well-being and productivity. “Good stress or Eustress,” or what is sometimes known as “eudemonic stress,” indicates that some types of stress can make us healthier, motivate us to be our best, and help us perform at our peak. A useful way to think about it is that stress is distributed on a bell-shaped curve. Once past the peak or high-performance apex where stress motivates us, we experience the unhealthy effects of stress which, if sustained over time, lead not only to burnout but also to chronic disease.

Its clear that stress and burnout related to the increasing pace and intensity of work are on the rise globally. 

Promoting the emotional resilience of employees, enabling them to function more effectively in all areas of their lives, can play an important role in helping them to enhance their productivity and performance. Such efforts also complement more traditional and widely recognised strategies to manage and reduce workplace stress.

Building the requisite mental skills means equipping staff with the tools to cope with the prevailing working environment, whether this entails multiple tasks, challenging managerial relationships or high workloads.

Strategies for  Employers for Building resilience at workplace  :-

Below are the key steps to help employers to achieve this and to support their employees’ mental wellbeing and resilience: –

 1 Understand Your Employees:

Resilient employees make resilient organizations. People who are supported, motivated and equipped are best positioned to overcome obstacles and distractions. Having an understanding of t what work-related stressors impact employees the most can help the organization take requisite steps  for alleviating their stress levels.

2. Profile the health of your staff

Support and advice for staff on how best to build mental resilience can deliver significant benefits, but employers should first establish if, where and how employees need support and coping strategies. By building a health profile of your workforce, businesses can determine the most appropriate plan of action and help in resilience building of their employees.

3. Establish a supportive environment

This environment can be characterized by factors such as employee reward and recognition, employment security and a management style and culture that promotes mutual trust and respect. A supportive workplace environment in which employees feel empowered can help enhance employees’ stress-management capabilities.

4. Identify benefit support

Support for staff can be found in employee benefits – notably in employee assistance programmes (EAP).

EAPs can offer one of the most effective methods of building emotional resilience, offering confidential advice and counselling. EAPs, which provide access to experienced counsellors and a 24/7 telephone helpline, can help staff address and tackle a range of issues, such as anxiety, stress and depression. They provide a particularly cost-effective solution, providing staff with access to experienced counsellors and a 24/7 telephone helpline.

They allow employees to confidentially discuss any issues arising from, or affecting, their work whenever they need support. The helpline enables more reserved employees to communicate and discuss problems without having to engage in face-to-face conversations.

5. Resilience and mindfulness training

Emotional resilience capabilities will vary from individual to individual and cannot be taken for granted. Resilience, however, is a skill that can be learned.

Techniques to deal with pressure and stress can be taught through structured resilience training and mindfulness programmes.

Resilience training teaches employees to feel empowered, confident, proactive and decisive. It teaches them not to view difficulties as paralysing events, but rather as challenges. As the benefits of this become more widely recognised, more service providers are looking to offer resilience courses and workshops.

Mindfulness, involving meditation and breathing exercises, provides employees with the tools to improve their awareness of the present moment, rather than being consumed by unhelpful, stress-inducing, thought processes.

6. Promote spiritual resilience

Finally, there is a school of thought that suggests spiritual resilience – an individual’s personal life values and goals – can help to support an individual’s emotional resilience building.

Building spiritual resilience, it is claimed, can have an important role to play in bolstering employees’ inner strength and general sense of wellbeing. If employees believe in their work, regarding it as meaningful and purposeful, they can have a greater ability to cope when faced with difficult or challenging circumstances.

Spiritual resilience is regarded, alongside emotional resilience, as being one of the key ingredients to mental health by the World Health Organization.

In a resilient workplace, company higher-ups make employee mental and physical health a priority. They have a clear vision for workers and display strong, confident leadership. They create a culture of appreciation and giving meaningful, real time feedback.

Are you looking for Emotional Wellbeing partner for your organization?

Proud HR Services provides holistic training related to resilience building, emotional wellbeing and happiness at work. It also provides Employee Assistance Programs for ensuring emotional well-being of employees. It also has a panel of counsellors, psychologists and soft skill trainers who can provide support regarding employee wellness programs. For more information, pls get in touch with us at info@proudhr.com .

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