How to build emotional resilience and what skills you need?
By Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis
Take full responsibility for everything
Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis Why Resilience? …
I had a rough start in life; my mother was only 16 years old when she gave birth to me, and my father didn’t want to know about me. I grew up with my grandparents and we were very poor. When I was 10, my grandfather died, and I was left with my grandmother who was a very sweet soul but couldn’t really mentor me; I was bullied at school by the other kids and even by teachers. I realized at a very young age that I had to fend for myself, and I did. I started working at the age of 13 and never looked back. I had learned to become resilient. Sometimes my husband tells me that I don’t take anything seriously when I laugh at something that other people would consider a disaster. I have learned to think before I panic, I apply the 5 by 5 rule: If it’s not important in 5 years, I don’t spend more than 5 minutes being upset about it.
One of the best moments in my life was when I understood that happiness is created by me and not by any outside circumstances. We create with our thoughts, we attract with our thoughts and emotions, whatever we focus on, we find. The power is in how we react to everything because we cannot choose what happens to us. We create the values in our lives; our mind listens to us and does for us what we tell it to do.
What is resilience Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis?
This is what google says: Resilience is the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events. Being resilient does not mean that people don’t experience stress, emotional upheaval, and suffering but they have tools to deal with it.
My resilience role model
The first person who comes to my mind when I hear the word resilience is Dr Victor Frank, one of my role models and the author of one of my favorite books called “Man’s search for meaning. During the second world war Frankl and all his family were taken to different concentration camps and he didn’t know what happened to his family. During his captivity he helped fellow prisoners fight depression and prevent suicide attempts by encouraging them to reflect on positive memories, scenes, and thoughts. Frankl’s most famous quote is my life motto: Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
When life gets tough, it is essential to express and accept how we feel. We all experience fear, guilt, insecurity, sadness, and frustration. It is our choice how we want to deal with it and there is no one size fits all approach. We must find out for ourselves what tools we want to use when the going gets tough.
Let’s fill your resilience toolbox
Can we change it or not?
Analyze the situation and pinpoint which aspects of the situation that’s affecting us can we change. There are things in our lives which we cannot change. The only thing we can do is change the way we look at the situation. We cannot change the weather, we cannot change other people, we cannot change the past etc. What we can change is to make the best of what you have. If we can change what we are given, it’s important to take the right steps. What can we do?
Resilience: Check our thoughts and limiting beliefs
There are thoughts and beliefs in our heads which behave like unwanted guests. They sit in a corner and when they come out, we feed them. At some point we even forget that they are there. Some of them have been with us since we were children. Phrases like: “we are all overweight in this family”, “you are a good girl if you finish your plate,” “money doesn’t grow on trees”, “money doesn’t buy happiness” (Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis) etc. I was told as a child that I will never amount to anything, and this gave me the fuel to succeed. Limiting beliefs can be removed.
We spend lots of time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future without realizing that neither of them are real. The past is gone and cannot be changed, and the future is never guaranteed. Being mindful means being in the present moment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. A very simple mindfulness exercise is just closing your eyes and concentrating on your breathing, making your outbreath longer than your inbreath and letting go of any thoughts that may appear.
One of the ways to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy way to express ourselves. This makes a journal a helpful tool in managing our mental health. Journaling can help us manage anxiety, reduce stress and cope with depression. Journaling also helps control our symptoms and improves our mood by helping to prioritize problems fears and concerns and tracking any symptoms so that we can recognize triggers and lean ways to better control them.
Research shows that people who exercise regularly have better mental health and emotional wellbeing, and lower rates of mental illness. Taking up exercise seems to reduce the risk of developing mental illness. It also seems to help in treating some mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety. When we exercise, our brain releases serotonin and dopamine, happiness hormones that make us feel good and help us heal. You need to find out what kind of exercise you like and what gives you joy.
Stop comparing yourself with others
The only person’s life which we really know inside and out is our own. We have no idea what goes on in other people’s stories and especially with social media we see many people exaggerate and show off. The tendency to compare ourselves to others is as human as any other emotion but it is a decision that only steals joy from our lives. The only person that should compare ourselves to is the person we were yesterday.
…And last but not least
Develop a sense of humor
There is nothing more relaxing than a good laugh, learn to laugh at yourself or watch something funny that makes you laugh, giggle with your friends, and smile even when you don’t feel like it. Learning to laugh at yourself is actually a surprisingly effective way to deal with your negative circumstances or self-doubt. Studies have shown that laughing at yourself is actually linked to better confidence, self-awareness and mental health. A good sense of humor also makes us more fun the be around with.
About Elisabeth Villiger Toufexis:
Master Life Coach and Director of Global Woman Club Cyprus, Elisabeth is also the number one podcaster in the category of travel and places in Cyprus. Her poadcast is called “Most Memorable Journeys”! (Apple podcast Spotify )
She is also the author of “The soul Kit- First Aid for the Soul”