Ever notice how some people are stressed during transitions while others can just roll with the punches? It all comes down to emotional resilience. While some of it may be biological, there are ten traits that you can start cultivating today to start living life with less resistance and more ease.
I’ve picked these up from all the roles I’ve been fortunate enough to step into, Humans are Humans – always. In films and plays the situation is often heightened, but these moments of challenge affect everyone on the daily as well.
Here are 10 things that I have learned from my practice of being an actor:
1. Wait for what’s right instead of acting on what you want right now.
Yup, just like the classic Stanford marshmallow experiment, this is about impulse control — the ability to stop and consider whether you want to act on a desire. For example, when a family member makes you angry, your immediate response might be to lash out. However, impulse control allows you to pause and assess whether that’s really the best course of action in the long run. Delaying gratification and controlling our urges allows us to choose actions that align with our best intentions.
2. Sit with discomfort.
Similar to the above tip, those who are emotionally resilient are able to tolerate discomfort. Remember that thing you said out of anger? Or out of hunger? How would that response have been different if you had tolerated your discomfort for an hour? While tip one was about choosing the best action, this is about sitting with an emotion without taking any action.
3. Get some perspective.
If you’ve ever said to yourself, “Hindsight is 20/20” then you recognize the possibility that it may be true for your current situation. Often, when we’re in the trenches, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. Sometimes things happen for you, not TO you. What seems painful now might actually be the gift you couldn’t give yourself.
4. Practice acceptance.
Acceptance is not the same as complacence. It’s not about giving up and letting the stress take over — it’s about experiencing your emotions and trusting that you’ll bounce back.
5. Remember the power of time.
The emotionally resilient remember that time heals all wounds. People who have a tendency to feel depressed often fear spiraling back into it, but feeling an emotion is not the same as getting caught in it. Think back to the last time you felt like this. You may have thought it was the end of the world, but you recovered. The same is true now.
6. Let go of having all the answers right now.
Often, when we try hard to find answers to challenging questions, we unknowingly put our blinders on. We are so consumed with having answers on our schedule that we forget that we only receive when we are ready. The emotionally resilient remember that it’s okay to not have it all figured out.
7. Engage in self-care.
Emotionally resilient people know that self-care is a non-negotiable. It’s a daily practice and commitment to self that strengthens their inner resolve. Ranging from exercise, to meditation, to a cup of tea, the resilient have go-to stress busters that don’t involve hitting the bottle.
8. Laugh it off.
Sometimes things just suck, and you simply need to laugh it off. Humor goes a long way.
9. Choose to be happy above being right.
Emotionally resilient people know that being right is not what will make them happy. Sure, it’s nice to be right, but it’s better to be happy. Ask yourself if picking a fight is really worth it. Are you fighting to resolve the situation, or fighting to win it? In any moment you can choose what’s more important to you: the relationship or your pride.
10. Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, the resilient focus on what’s right.
Remember, where attention goes, energy flows. So why not cultivate more of what you want instead of what you don’t. There’s always something to be thankful for.
Ultimately, emotional resilience is all about attitude. By practicing these ten responses to stress, you’ll be able to spend more time living with ease and grace, spending more time in the light with fleeting moments of darkness!