Three ways to Build Emotional Strength

Over the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to stop and reflect on my life. Everything is quiet, I’m good, I’m happy. I seem to be able to handle my emotions with more ease. The roller coaster of emotion that I have experienced in the past seems much less of a thrill ride. Rewind a few months; I’m in a job I don’t really like. I am constantly confronted with choices with no easy, happy outcome. I find myself whining and complaining about every little thing. This roller coaster is much more intense. In the quiet times that I experience now, I have found that it is really important to savor the quiet emotional solitude. I know that the exciting (read that as hard, challenging, pain in the ass) times will come again. They will come for you. Maybe, you’re already there. Maybe, you’re at the point emotionally where you need an outlet, a vent, or a change. So what can we do, right now that will help us ride the roller coaster? What will help us grow; to be less influenced by the whims of every thought? Here are three of my favorite ways to build emotional strength.
  • Spend time in reflection
If you’ve read my other blog posts, you know that I am a big proponent of mindfulness. I have found that the still, quiet breath is vital to happiness. Without taking time to focus on my breath and reflect on what I’m experiencing, I find myself being more mindless, less connected, and deeply unhappy. When I spend time in reflection, with the ground rule of loving myself and whatever comes up, I find that I experience more gratitude.
  • Write in a gratitude journal
You don’t only have to write about gratitude, but it is important to take note. What is it about your life that is working? Solution-focused, positive psychology teaches us that focusing on problems bring us more problems. Focus on what is working in your life. Try prompts like: What are three things that I enjoy about my best friend? What would I write in a letter to the person who has done the most about me? and What is a one thing that is different today than a year ago that I am grateful for?
  • Commit to keeping a kinder inner dialogue
What would you say to a friend who was struggling with the same things? If you had the most compassionate words and tone, what would it sound like? Commit to changing that harsh inner critic. Take a breath and compassionately change the script. Do it every time you catch yourself in criticism. Practice and develop the most compassionate voice you can find. These are a few of my favorite skills for building emotional strength. As with every good thing, they take work. Practice these skills for a more stable, strong foundation that will get you through even the craziest roller coaster.