About emotional resilience & staying engaged

In a world where information is made available in the extreme, we’re able to witness happenings, ranging from the heart warming, to the irrelevant, to the truly horrifying, across all known borders and time zones. Faced with such a tsunami of events however, could quickly render anyone’s emotions unresponsive. It’s difficult to care about everything, everywhere, all the time, isn’t it?

Consider a normal day

This week has delivered several new and ongoing stories –

  • I’ve been shown the severity, and inequality compared to other events, of the death of a gorilla in a zoo as it swept across media channels.
  • Next to this, justice was once again shown to keep working hours and a pliable application when faced with such fantastic swimming times.
  • Let’s not forget local and global political stories and all the baggage it brings with.

Thankfully, amongst these I’ve also seen –

And this list is only external stimulus, we have yet to reach into relationships, personal experiences and so forth.

The creeping danger

The risk we run when given so many options and demands for attention and energy, is one of apathy, and it’s a sly one. It doesn’t shout or scream to be known, there aren’t any alarm bells or visible symptoms to identify. Yet apathy can be contagious, from parent to child, friend to friend or even between strangers on the bus. It’s easier as well, and justifiable beyond measure in such logical and authentically sounding words.

portal

Apathy allows you to ignore suffering when it knocks on your door, keeps your walking when you stumble across injustice in the street, focuses you inwards, safely wearing blinkers and slowly disconnecting from the realities of others.

It’s also bound to happen to us all somewhere along the line, if for no other reason than exhaustion.

Approaching resilience

While the odds are stacked against you solving all the worlds problems, it is highly probably that you are able to manage yourself sufficiently to stay connected to the world around you and positively impact and influence as life moves.

There are coaches, books, courses and YouTube videos on how to cultivate emotional resilience, some of which are very good should you be in a highly strenuous or traumatic situation. Personally, I’ve limited myself to 3 things in order to keep the exercise simple, these are:

  1. Commitment scope – to avoid feeling overwhelmed and inconsequential.

    No, I can’t solve the world’s problems instantly. Yes, I can improve that man’s day with some positive engagement. I can be there for my friend on a day she is down. I can go volunteer at the children’s hospital. I can manage what I perpetuate on social media.

  2. Rest & direction – to know when I’m the one that needs some support.

    Can I see myself avoiding or becoming unresponsive to those around me? Then it might be time to focus a bit more on what I need at present, so that tomorrow hopefully I’ll have the energy and purpose to once more engage sincerely.

  3. Bias for action – to ensure I focus outwards on tangible results.

    Wow I’m so glad I got to share my thoughts on emotional resilience with others. I hope they will find value in it as well and maybe share their own thoughts. But maybe for a really direct impact on someone’s life I should get my donation box down to the Salvation Army like I’ve been planning.

Conclusion

Emotional resilience is another piece of self awareness that keeps us capable of engaging with the world around us, both on the good and the bad sides. It doesn’t mean you actively seek out engagement on a daily basis, but it does ensure you’re capable of deeper connection when the world delivers you into situations where it’s needed. And that, I most definitely believe, is where the smaller magic takes place in our daily lives.

Maybe you disagree, or you have other suggestions on how to build emotional resilience. We’d enjoy hearing your thought if you wanted to share (:

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The comic strip is from Poorly Drawn Lines, one of my favourites online
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