Skip to main content

Body Image 2 for Well Clinic SF "What is Emotional Resilience?" blog post

People who have emotional resilience are able to handle the stressors of life better than those who have not yet developed this trait. Since the world is constantly filled with stressful events, it’s helpful to nurture and hone this trait. While it comes more naturally to some people than others, anyone can improve their level of emotional resilience. And it’s well worth it to try.

Body Image 1 for Well Clinic SF "What is Emotional Resilience?" blog post

What is Emotional Resilience?

The definition of resilience is the ability to quickly recover from difficulty.

Of course, it means different things when applied to different situations. For example, if your physical body is injured, resilience might mean that the bones and muscles heal quickly.

Emotional resilience, too, means that you heal quickly. We all go through trauma, challenges, adversity, and just plain rough times. Emotionally resilient people experience those challenges, and suffer from them, but then they bounce back.

Moreover, emotional resilience isn’t just about recovery; it’s also about experiencing growth after the adversity.

Post Traumatic Growth

You have most certainly heard about post traumatic stress. A trauma occurs, and then you have to deal with stress symptoms for days, weeks, or even years on end. In other words, you don’t fully recover.

However, did you know that resilient individuals may actually experience post traumatic growth? A trauma occurs, it’s an awful experience, but the individual incorporates the experience, learns from it, and even grows emotionally as a result of their experience.

Of course, nobody wants to go through trauma. And you don’t have to experience challenges that rise to the level of trauma to grow. But it’s important to recognize that your level of emotional resilience can significantly alter how a difficult situation impacts you.

Body Image 3 for Well Clinic SF "What is Emotional Resilience?" blog post

Traits of Emotionally Resilient People

Emotional resilience means that you’re able to ”bounce back” quickly after stress. You may experience a negative emotion or reaction, but you don’t hang on to it. What does that look like?

Here are some traits of resilient people:

  • Able and willing to learn from past experiences
  • Able to set and meet goals; feel control over own lives
  • Effective at communication
  • Empathy for others
  • Know themselves and their boundaries well
  • Optimistic more often than pessimistic
  • Persistence
  • Respond to experiences thoughtfully rather than reactively
  • Self-esteem is strong
  • Sense of humor
  • Skilled at solving problems

In other words, people with emotional resilience don’t let troubles knock them down. They recognize that they have choices, can respond thoughtfully, and don’t have to react negatively to difficult things.

Emotionally resilient individuals are open to seeing the best in themselves and others, which allows them to find support in community while also trusting themselves to move forward from a difficult time.

Moreover, they rely on a range of different skills to not just survive tough times but to grow beyond them.

Is There A Path to Emotional Resilience?

We aren’t all born with terrific emotional resilience. Think of us each as rubber bands. Some stretch very far, some don’t; that’s our level of resilience. Moreover, our own individual emotional resilience can vary over time.

Resilience is impacted by your age, stage of life, things that you’re going through, past traumas, emotional education, and other factors.

The good news is that we can all build more emotional resilience. If you like the idea of handling tough times better than you currently do, and maybe even using them as opportunities for growth, then you can work. To develop the traits that build emotional resilience.

Featured Image for Well Clinic SF "What is Emotional Resilience?" blog post

5 Key Things to Start Building Emotional Resilience

Here are some things you can start doing today:

  1. Educate yourself about your emotions. Whether through therapy, reading, podcasts, or classes, you can always learn more about how humans cope. You can develop healthy strategies for improving your own mental health.
  2. Build up your support system. In particular, surround yourself with loving, empathetic people who have strong communication skills and an optimistic approach to life.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Avoid distraction. Learn to sit with your feeling without reacting.
  4. Practice differentiating between what is and isn’t in your control. You can’t control the outer world but you can control how you choose to behave in reaction to it. Practice accepting the way that things are and finding the areas where you yourself are in control of change.
  5. Go back to the basics of self-care. When we are hungry, tired, or overwhelmed, our emotional resilience can shrink. Make sure that you’re attending to your basic needs for food, exercise, rest, sleep, and socializing.

Body Image 4 for Well Clinic SF "What is Emotional Resilience?" blog post

Developing emotional resilience as an adult can be a challenge. However, it’s a challenge worth taking on. After all, who doesn’t want to handle life’s stressors a little bit better? Our therapists can assist you in developing this important trait. Contact us today for an appointment.


  • I absolutely love Well Clinic! From the beginning, my husband and I felt like we were in a comfortable and safe space.

    Our couple’s therapy bridged gaps in our relationship and helped us understand each other that much more.

    Ivette B

  • Well Clinic is an oasis, especially for busy professionals like me.

    It’s a relaxing and safe space, nothing like the stuffy or drab offices you’d expect when going to a therapist.

    Brianna S

  • Well Clinic’s inviting and professional design makes me feel comfortable and at ease, which probably benefits the work I am doing.

    In fact, it doesn’t really feel like a therapy clinic at all, which I find awesome.

    Jim M


Send us a text! We're here on weekdays from 9am - 9pm.