Developing Emotional Resilience

Those of us living with addictions and mental health issues can find ourselves struggling with emotional overwhelm – feeling anxious, overly worried and frightened when challenges arise. As part of our recovery process, we can work to increase our emotional resilience by adopting a few changes to how we go about handling things.

For one, we can have acceptance when we feel difficult emotions rather than resisting them. When we panic at the onset of anxiety, for example, we’re compounding our fear and giving it more energy. Instead we can say things like “I accept that I’m feeling this way right now.” Allowing ourselves to feel our emotions as they are helps us to take back our control over them.

Next we can remember that both our emotions and our thoughts are always changing and that we have the power to direct our energy in different ways to make ourselves feel better. We sometimes think of our painful thought patterns and feelings as being set in stone. We think that once they’re there, there’s nothing we can do about it. We think we’re at their mercy. The truth is, though, we can redirect our thoughts and our emotions, by intentionally applying our attention, focus and energy to the ones we do want to feel. When we feel overwhelmed, for instance, we can talk to ourselves in calming, nurturing, comforting ways. “I am calm. I am at peace. I can handle this. I will get through it.”

As we’re accepting our thoughts and feelings and then adjusting our energy to redirect our focus, let’s add the power of our breath. When we are overwhelmed, we are often taking shallow, quick breaths. Let’s give ourselves the gift of deep breathing, intentional breathing, breathing that can help calm our inner turmoil with each inhale and exhale.

Let’s work to undo our limiting beliefs that we are weak, powerless and can’t handle challenges by creating new ones reinforcing and amplifying our emotional resilience. “I am strong. I am brave. I can get through anything. I believe in myself. I am resilient.”

The more we practice using these techniques in response to our emotional overwhelm, the more we’ll be able to handle whatever arises. Living with uncertainty can be a real challenge for us. As we increase our emotional resilience, we develop more faith in ourselves that we will always get through anything we are presented with. Our emotional resilience can be one of our greatest assets in our recovery.

The community at Riverside has personal experience with recovery, and we are here to help you. Call (800) 871-5440.