Three Ways to Test Your Emotional Resilience

Everybody wants to be resilient these days. Resilience, defined as the ability to bounce back in the face of challenges, is considered a sign of emotional health, strength, and positivity. Studies have found resilient individuals to be better employees, better life partners, and even better parents.


So, are YOU resilient?


Perhaps your resilience has never been tested in a major way, like a critical illness or a traumatic event. If you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be resilient, here are three things to be on the lookout for that can signify a resilient personality:


Listen to your Language


When you talk to yourself, particularly during a stressful situation, what is the voice in your head saying? Is the voice blaming someone else? Or wondering “why do these things always happen to ME?” If so, you might be less resilient. As you’re talking to other people, do you often find yourself venting about a situation over and over again? If so, you might be less resilient. Talking to other people is perfectly healthy, but when you ruminate or repeat the same story over and over again, it takes a toll on your mental health. Also watch out for fatalistic language like, “this is never going to get better,” or “I guess I’m just destined to always have these problems.”


Watch How You Respond to the Little Things


Common frustrations like your commute can be a perfect time to test your resilience factor. No one likes being stuck in traffic, but do you get unreasonably angry at the other cars around you? Do you feel like the only person on the highway in a hurry? If so, you might be less resilient. More resilient individuals tend to focus on solutions, like a quick call to the office to let their boss know they’re going to be late, or finding a less congested back road. Being able to find humor in a stressful moment is a great indicator of resilience, so see if you can find something to laugh at.


Check Your “Forget Factor”


When something in your life is frustrating, how long does the problem linger with you? Does it bother you for the rest of the day? The rest of the week? Resilient individuals have a strong “forget factor” – they don’t tend to carry as much mental baggage from the past as the rest of the world. They fix the parts of the problem they can fix, and try to move on. Resilient individuals are also less likely to globalize a problem – if something goes wrong at home in the morning, they don’t throw up their hands and expect the whole day to be a disaster. If you tell yourself, “Well, this is going to be the worst day ever,” you set your brain up to feel defeated for hours. Look at how quickly you can shake off your struggles and move on.




Resilience comes easily for some people, but the rest of us can earn our resilience through practice. Test your emotional resilience using these three techniques, and then pay attention to your behaviors and the voices in your head, to help build your emotional strength. You’ll need it someday, for sure!