Do you have emotional resilience?

The capacity to be extremely emotionally resilient is within us all. Truly. True, it’s naturally better developed in some people than in others as you have witnessed in your life I’m sure. This variety is due to a combination (like so many other aspects of being human) of factors relating to Nature and Nurture as well as our own willingness to work on ourselves.

Can you think of two resilient people (Pair A) and two not very resilient people (Pair B)? What do the people in each pair have in common with each other? What are the differences between Pair A and Pair B? Which pair do you resemble the most at the moment?

It’s also natural that our resilience varies over time – I’d like to say that it improves as we get older, but I’ve seen too many people in mid-life and beyond who have been badly thrown by an event or situation.

Why this might be is interesting, at least to me. It could be due to them developing a range of responses to difficulties that show to people around them (and themselves) that they can cope well with setbacks. But this protection can too often be shattered by a difficulty appearing that is immune to these responses and then the hurt can be intense. But so, too, can the learning that might follow.

Do you want to score yourself?
I’m sure you’ll not be surprised to learn that there are lots of scales available to score a person’s resilience level. Many are much longer and more detailed than the one I offer you below, but I like the simplicity and ease of use of this one.

Score your response to each of the following statements using a 0 – 5 scale. 0 = you strongly disagree with the statement and 5 = you strongly agree with the statement.

“I view setbacks as temporary and expect to overcome them with ease.”
“Any negative feelings I do have don’t linger long.”
“I am very comfortable with uncertainty and am quick to adapt to changes in my life.”
“I always focus on solutions rather than problems and make things work smoothly.”
“I am strong when difficult times appear in my life.”
“I enjoy being a part of a community.”
“I am loved and valued by people.”
“Criticism and bad experiences teach me something.”
“I love my life.”
“I am respectful towards myself and other people.”

Total your scores and read what my view of this total might indicate:
0-25 – low resilience which means you struggle with stresses, setbacks, criticism and pressure. You sometimes feel hopeless and helpless.
21-40 – medium resilience which means you could improve your ability to bounce back from setbacks.
41-50 – high resilience which means you are emotionally well-balanced and bounce back well from setbacks and learn the lessons they offer.

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About the Author Nigel Lowson

I loved teaching and loved working in schools because I learnt so much from my colleagues and the students. They never failed to inspire me and make me laugh! My curiosity in what makes people tick moved me into pastoral care and I was privileged to be in charge of a school's pastoral care and co-curricular programmes for 18 years. Here I saw first-hand the pressures on both staff and students (and their parents) and learnt so much about human nature, especially under stress. My focus has always been on offering practical, easy, quick solutions that work which are supported by science.

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