Emotional resilience, broadly understood as the ability to adapt to stressful situations or crises, is increasingly recognized as a critical factor in determining our health outcomes. It’s not only about how we bounce back from adversity, but also how we can grow stronger, wiser, and more self-aware from the experience.
Understanding emotional resilience
The concept of emotional resilience stems from psychological literature and is often associated with factors such as personal competence, problem-solving skills, social competence, and a sense of purpose or future (Zautra et al., 2010). It’s not just about enduring through adversity, but about actively engaging with it, learning from it, and emerging stronger.
Resilience is not a trait that people either have or do not have, but rather it involves behaviors, thoughts, and actions that can be learned and developed by anyone. It refers to a person’s capacity to handle stress, recover from setbacks, adapt well to change, and keep going in the face of adversity (Smith et al., 2008).
The relationship between emotional resilience and health outcomes
Recent studies indicate that emotional resilience has a profound impact on our mental and physical health outcomes. For instance, a study by Connor and Davidson (2003) found a correlation between emotional resilience and lower levels of depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Meanwhile, a study by Yi et al. (2015) discovered that patients with higher emotional resilience reported better health-related quality of life. This was also seen in cancer patients, where those with higher emotional resilience had a better prognosis and improved quality of life (Min et al., 2013).
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