Emotional Endurance: Resilience for the Long Run

Reviewed Jan 6, 2021

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Summary

  • Recognize your limits and give yourself credit for your efforts.
  • Focus on what is going right.
  • Work through your worries with a list.

Many of life’s challenges are short-term. Others, like grief at the loss of a loved one, take time to play out but normally reach a conclusion. In the case of grief, this can be acceptance.

But sometimes no end is in sight. Such is the case with debilitating illnesses that have no known cure. Other life events, like losing a job, can have a similar dispiriting sense of permanence. These situations create stress, not in short bursts, but over the long run. Coping with them calls for emotional endurance, the ability to keep an ordeal of indefinite length from sapping your emotional health. 

This stamina is related to a trait called “resilience”—the ability to take life’s ups and downs in stride emotionally. Resilient people tend to:

  • Take the optimistic view of a situation.
  • Focus on what goes right rather than what goes wrong.
  • Have many sources of being happy.
  • Have a supportive community of friends or family.

Realism needed

Emotional endurance draws on the same assets, but it also calls for a certain realism about what is possible. Focus on the good as much as possible, but don’t expect always to feel positive. Seeing the reality of the situation is also important, as is accepting that a normal human being in your situation cannot always look on the bright side. Give yourself credit for your efforts. This is especially important when the ultimate goal looks frustratingly out of reach.

There are steps you can take to make you stronger for the long journey.

Find new sources of joy and connection

The more sources you have of joy in life, the greater your resilience. If the only thing that gives you a sense of being happy is your job, losing that job leaves you with nothing. If you have a hobby that makes you feel happily productive, you are better equipped for the stress of losing a job.

Build and keep social ties

A group of friends or family is invaluable, both as a support network and as a sounding board. When you’re with people who care about you, you can help face your fears by talking about them: And if all you want is listening—no advice or suggestions—tell them so.

Don’t miss the forest—look at the big picture

It pays emotionally to seek the good wherever you can find it. It also helps to cultivate a habit of gratitude. When nothing in your day-to-day life seems worthy of thanks, you might find some solace by looking at the big picture and seeking a larger meaning in the events that have overtaken you. The search for meaning may be helped if you are part of a religious or spiritual community that gives you a sense that there is some larger purpose of which we are unaware.

Work through your worries with a list

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might want to attack your worries and cares by making a list. Write down every concern you can think of. You may find a long list that includes big questions along with everyday matters such as the bills that need paying this week. Some of these problems will have solutions. Others may not.

But getting a chance to look at all your worries one by one helps tame them. You can sort them out and focus on those that matter most and those that you can do something about. If nothing else, you gain a sense of control, which is one of the best cures for stress.

Learn from the optimists

Know that you are not the first person to face a long, hard slog. Countless others have been in situations like yours, perhaps worse, and some have set an example that you might find useful. Read books that chronicle the lives of optimists and surround yourself with optimistic friends. Real optimists, who don’t pretend that they never have a bad day, and who don’t judge you for having one, are good to have around.

By Tom Gray
Source: Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., president, Creative Energy Options Inc., www.ceoptions.com; Judith Paskiewicz, Ph.D.; M.J. Ryan, www.mj-ryan.com; Jeannette Samanen, Ph.D.

Summary

  • Recognize your limits and give yourself credit for your efforts.
  • Focus on what is going right.
  • Work through your worries with a list.

Many of life’s challenges are short-term. Others, like grief at the loss of a loved one, take time to play out but normally reach a conclusion. In the case of grief, this can be acceptance.

But sometimes no end is in sight. Such is the case with debilitating illnesses that have no known cure. Other life events, like losing a job, can have a similar dispiriting sense of permanence. These situations create stress, not in short bursts, but over the long run. Coping with them calls for emotional endurance, the ability to keep an ordeal of indefinite length from sapping your emotional health. 

This stamina is related to a trait called “resilience”—the ability to take life’s ups and downs in stride emotionally. Resilient people tend to:

  • Take the optimistic view of a situation.
  • Focus on what goes right rather than what goes wrong.
  • Have many sources of being happy.
  • Have a supportive community of friends or family.

Realism needed

Emotional endurance draws on the same assets, but it also calls for a certain realism about what is possible. Focus on the good as much as possible, but don’t expect always to feel positive. Seeing the reality of the situation is also important, as is accepting that a normal human being in your situation cannot always look on the bright side. Give yourself credit for your efforts. This is especially important when the ultimate goal looks frustratingly out of reach.

There are steps you can take to make you stronger for the long journey.

Find new sources of joy and connection

The more sources you have of joy in life, the greater your resilience. If the only thing that gives you a sense of being happy is your job, losing that job leaves you with nothing. If you have a hobby that makes you feel happily productive, you are better equipped for the stress of losing a job.

Build and keep social ties

A group of friends or family is invaluable, both as a support network and as a sounding board. When you’re with people who care about you, you can help face your fears by talking about them: And if all you want is listening—no advice or suggestions—tell them so.

Don’t miss the forest—look at the big picture

It pays emotionally to seek the good wherever you can find it. It also helps to cultivate a habit of gratitude. When nothing in your day-to-day life seems worthy of thanks, you might find some solace by looking at the big picture and seeking a larger meaning in the events that have overtaken you. The search for meaning may be helped if you are part of a religious or spiritual community that gives you a sense that there is some larger purpose of which we are unaware.

Work through your worries with a list

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might want to attack your worries and cares by making a list. Write down every concern you can think of. You may find a long list that includes big questions along with everyday matters such as the bills that need paying this week. Some of these problems will have solutions. Others may not.

But getting a chance to look at all your worries one by one helps tame them. You can sort them out and focus on those that matter most and those that you can do something about. If nothing else, you gain a sense of control, which is one of the best cures for stress.

Learn from the optimists

Know that you are not the first person to face a long, hard slog. Countless others have been in situations like yours, perhaps worse, and some have set an example that you might find useful. Read books that chronicle the lives of optimists and surround yourself with optimistic friends. Real optimists, who don’t pretend that they never have a bad day, and who don’t judge you for having one, are good to have around.

By Tom Gray
Source: Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., president, Creative Energy Options Inc., www.ceoptions.com; Judith Paskiewicz, Ph.D.; M.J. Ryan, www.mj-ryan.com; Jeannette Samanen, Ph.D.

Summary

  • Recognize your limits and give yourself credit for your efforts.
  • Focus on what is going right.
  • Work through your worries with a list.

Many of life’s challenges are short-term. Others, like grief at the loss of a loved one, take time to play out but normally reach a conclusion. In the case of grief, this can be acceptance.

But sometimes no end is in sight. Such is the case with debilitating illnesses that have no known cure. Other life events, like losing a job, can have a similar dispiriting sense of permanence. These situations create stress, not in short bursts, but over the long run. Coping with them calls for emotional endurance, the ability to keep an ordeal of indefinite length from sapping your emotional health. 

This stamina is related to a trait called “resilience”—the ability to take life’s ups and downs in stride emotionally. Resilient people tend to:

  • Take the optimistic view of a situation.
  • Focus on what goes right rather than what goes wrong.
  • Have many sources of being happy.
  • Have a supportive community of friends or family.

Realism needed

Emotional endurance draws on the same assets, but it also calls for a certain realism about what is possible. Focus on the good as much as possible, but don’t expect always to feel positive. Seeing the reality of the situation is also important, as is accepting that a normal human being in your situation cannot always look on the bright side. Give yourself credit for your efforts. This is especially important when the ultimate goal looks frustratingly out of reach.

There are steps you can take to make you stronger for the long journey.

Find new sources of joy and connection

The more sources you have of joy in life, the greater your resilience. If the only thing that gives you a sense of being happy is your job, losing that job leaves you with nothing. If you have a hobby that makes you feel happily productive, you are better equipped for the stress of losing a job.

Build and keep social ties

A group of friends or family is invaluable, both as a support network and as a sounding board. When you’re with people who care about you, you can help face your fears by talking about them: And if all you want is listening—no advice or suggestions—tell them so.

Don’t miss the forest—look at the big picture

It pays emotionally to seek the good wherever you can find it. It also helps to cultivate a habit of gratitude. When nothing in your day-to-day life seems worthy of thanks, you might find some solace by looking at the big picture and seeking a larger meaning in the events that have overtaken you. The search for meaning may be helped if you are part of a religious or spiritual community that gives you a sense that there is some larger purpose of which we are unaware.

Work through your worries with a list

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you might want to attack your worries and cares by making a list. Write down every concern you can think of. You may find a long list that includes big questions along with everyday matters such as the bills that need paying this week. Some of these problems will have solutions. Others may not.

But getting a chance to look at all your worries one by one helps tame them. You can sort them out and focus on those that matter most and those that you can do something about. If nothing else, you gain a sense of control, which is one of the best cures for stress.

Learn from the optimists

Know that you are not the first person to face a long, hard slog. Countless others have been in situations like yours, perhaps worse, and some have set an example that you might find useful. Read books that chronicle the lives of optimists and surround yourself with optimistic friends. Real optimists, who don’t pretend that they never have a bad day, and who don’t judge you for having one, are good to have around.

By Tom Gray
Source: Sylvia Lafair, Ph.D., president, Creative Energy Options Inc., www.ceoptions.com; Judith Paskiewicz, Ph.D.; M.J. Ryan, www.mj-ryan.com; Jeannette Samanen, Ph.D.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2019 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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