Ten ways to be emotionally strong

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When the going gets tough, the tough get going… But it’s not always so easy, especially if you have never been given the tools to be emotionally strong.

Most of us – whether we like it or not – respond emotionally much like our parents did. This is likely how it’s been for generations as the “family blueprint” is handed down from parents to children.

It’s only when someone steps back to question their reactions and responses that things can change. For this to happen there has to be an admission that the way someone is thinking and consequently behaving is perhaps not to their benefit.

Neither is it positive for anyone who’s around them. But it’s not easy to change as there is often a moral obligation that goes with these emotions.

That’s because we have been taught what is right or wrong, according to that family blueprint, throughout childhood. This is when our brain is still developing and we are being formed.

Mental health collapse

But what we have learned may not necessarily be the best way. For instance, if we had a mother or father who reacted with rage or self-pity whenever something didn’t go their way… we are likely to behave similarly as well, at least at certain times.

But this can be a heavy burden on our emotions. It can diminish both our physical and emotional energy.

At some point we may get so overwhelmingly mentally distressed that we have what is known as an emotional breakdown. Living in this COVID-19 era is only exaggerating existing issues.

As well, problems caused by it are bringing more people than ever to a severe state of mental anguish. That is, there is a complete collapse of someone’s mental and emotional capabilities.

What are the warning signs of an emotional breakdown

So more than ever we need to be aware of the warning signs of an emotional breakdown. This is to take care of ourselves – and also to keep a watch out for any of these in someone else.

The warning signs of an emotional breakdown include:

  • Eating unhealthily.
  • Anxiety.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Depression, including suicidal thoughts.
  • Abusing drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Loss of sense of self.
  • Breathing difficulties, muscle tension, chest tightness, trembling and/or clammy hands.
  • Indifference to life.
  • Isolation, withdrawing from family, friends and work colleagues.
  • An avoidance of social and work appointments.
  • Detachment from reality.
  • Insomnia.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Emotional outbursts, frequently for no apparent reason.

How to be emotionally strong

Emotional strength is our inner ability to deal with such as a difficult situation or significant change. Emotional rehabilitation is a method to get or regain this.

Life will always throw us the unexpected. A relationship break-up, illness, bereavement, work stress, financial problems, being in or witnessing a trauma…

Even if someone’s emotionally strong, they have to do certain things to keep that strength – for when it’s needed. 

There are ten things that everyone can do to gain and maintain emotional strength.

1. Meditate

If you charge into everything that you want to do in the day as soon as you open your eyes, you will have much less energy than if you started the day with meditation. Giving gratitude for things that otherwise might be taken for granted is also a way to build up emotional strength. 

Additionally, emotionally strong people know there’s a time to relax, and meditation is the perfect method. Meditate in the morning but also at any time to recharge mental and emotional energy levels.

2. Live in the moment

Be mindful, do only one thing at a time and focus fully on whatever it is that you’re doing. Try not to live in the past as regrets are pointless. Try not to worry about the future as nobody knows what tomorrow brings. If you can keep it in the now it will mean your emotional strength is not getting used up going backwards and forwards.

3. Drink sensibly

Avoid excessive drinking – it’s never a way to deal with any problems or anxieties. They will still be there in the morning, along with a hangover and less money.

Too much alcohol, like some drugs and caffeine, can also adversely affect sleep. That’s never good for anyone’s emotional strength.

4. Be connected

An emotionally strong person will feel connected with other people and nature. They will care about other people and always try to understand, even if they disagree with someone’s opinion or actions. Spending time with friends is always guaranteed to lift the spirits – and this is a boost to emotional strength.

5. Be optimistic

A person who is emotionally strong will always be putting their thoughts on positives and everything they have in life. This is an energy boost – as opposed to focussing on what they think is missing in life and all its negatives.

6. Let resentments go

Holding on to a resentment steals lots of emotional strength. Learning to forgive is an asset as it means that you are giving to yourself, which is from where the word “forgive” derives.

7. Find your meaning

Whatever that is, from bringing up your children, to being the CEO of a major business, to being a teacher or a counselor – this is key to a happy and emotionally strong life.

Having a sense of meaning will reward you with emotional strength. It means you know yourself and that means there won’t be loads of emotional energy taken by trying to work on that.

It is part of having a good sense of self, and that means you will have healthy boundaries.

8. Exercise regularly

Exercise at least five times a week for 30 minutes to keep your heart healthy, which will boost the immune system. If you’re feeling good about yourself and are physically fit, you are less likely to catch colds and other illnesses.

This means your energy levels will not be diminished. That’s always positive for emotional strength.

9. Eat healthily

If you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables – and eat at regular times every day – you will get the same benefits as exercising regularly.

10. Sleep well

Sleep for at least seven hours every night. Get into a regular schedule so that you are in bed the same time every night and waking up around the same time each morning. This will help to revitalise emotional strength.

We are in the ideal natural setting to enhance physical and emotional wellbeing. Our luxury mansion by a tranquil lake is made for our guests – with complete relaxation in mind. In Florida we are also fortunate to have beautiful sunshine all year.

Our experienced team has decades of experience helping people with all types of mental health problems and emotional issues. Call us today to have a conversation about how we can help you or someone you know.

David Hurst - Tikvah Lake Recovery

About David Hurst

David Hurst has four books published on mental health recovery, including 12 Steps To 1 Hero, The Anxiety Conversation and Words To Change Your Life. He has written for national newspapers and magazines around the world for 30 years including The Guardian, Psychologies, GQ, Esquire, Marie Claire and The Times. He has been in successful continual recovery since January 2002.

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