Resilience: Managing our emotions

Part 2 in the series looking at Resilience.

You have begun the journey of building emotional resilience.  First of all we looked at the importance of building our lives, and therefore our resilience, upon firm foundations.  Our family, friends and other significant people in our lives can build up our resilience; but sometimes, even unintentionally, they can also have a negative impact upon us.  If we look at what God says about us in the Bible, it can help us to lay a solid foundation.

As we continue to build up these foundations lets take a look at some of the other ways, we can build up our resilience. 

The next step is looking at how we manage our emotions.

Remember!  Being resilient does not mean that we are trying to suppress our emotions; if we do that, they will spurt out of us at another time.

Have you ever had some really exciting news that you were desperately trying to keep inside?  Maybe it was a surprise; maybe you needed to wait until someone else arrived before you could share the news!  Has it ever felt like the news will burst out of you if the person doesn’t hurry up!  When it is good or happy news, we are all excited and that can have a good impact upon our emotional health.  But the impact can be negative if we are trying to suppress anger or sadness in our lives.  Eventually the emotions will erupt out of us like a volcano, hurting people within its immediate vicinity and that could have long reaching effects.  

Have you ever had an argument in your head with someone?  Have you ever tried to imagine what they are going to say?  This internal narrative can change the reality of the situation, and never in a positive way!

Pain and failure are a part of life that cannot be avoided.  Pain is our bodies protective factor; it helps us to know when something is wrong and it’s important to recognise what is giving us the pain and to do something about it.  If it’s a physical pain, for example you’ve hurt your ankle or your arm, it can be easier to do something about.  But what if the pain is an emotional one?  Your heart is hurting, this type of pain can be harder to deal with.

‘Jesus wept’ is the shortest verse in the Bible, in John chapter 11 verse 35. Jesus wept when His friend Lazarus died and he saw how distressed Mary and Martha were.  When Jesus had heard that Lazarus was sick, He didn’t stop what He was doing and rush to see Lazarus; He had waited and when He arrived at the house, Lazarus had been dead for four days.  Mary and Martha were angry and upset with Jesus, and they told.  They didn’t try and suppress their feelings, to make out all was ok.

Have you ever felt angry at God because He didn’t answer a prayer that you had prayed? I know I have.

Jesus had stayed away because He knew that He was going to perform a miracle and raise Lazarus from the dead; but He still wept when He saw how distraught Mary and Martha were.  Mary and Martha’s relationship with Jesus and their faith in Him changed that day because they were real and honest about their emotions, about what they were struggling with and Jesus comforted them in their pain.

Being able to recognise and name our emotions is an important part of being resilient.  If we can identify how we are feeling we can put different strategies into place to help manage those emotions in a positive, rather than destructive, way.  You can have a look at some of the videos on the website about anger, sadness or anxiety for some different ideas.