PREVIOUS: Resilient Thinking – #2
SITEs: 15 Traits of Emotionally Wealthy People
POSTS: All about Es (June/July 2011) & Accepting & Accessing Es (2012)
EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE (E>R>)
Emotional (E) STYLE – the consistent way we respond to our experiences, governed by specific brain circuitry that can be measured scientifically. All stressors trigger emotional responses, so we need a solid mental & emotional foundation to help us cope.
Growth GOAL: To be in charge of our Es, & to toughen up (not be so vulnerable!) without losing our soft, sensitive strengths & becoming cold, hard & bitter
DEF of E>R>
• An emotionally flexible state allowing a person to return to a previous ‘even keel’ by making big or little adjustments in response to stressful situations, without loss of basic identity
• The capacity to bend or stretch without breaking, make meaning out of adversity & return to original condition
ACoAs: Of course – what we return to after another upsetting situation can hardly be called ‘an even keel’. The norm for us is some combination of depression, anger & isolation – fight or flight or freeze. So we’re not looking to bounce back to that, but aim for P-TG – post trauma growth.
Process: A major prerequisite for gaining E>R> is lowering the anxiety level that’s left over from our damaged childhood. That comes with doing deep FoO work, sometimes aided by the right kind of meds. It includes:
— Finding the right combination of support systems
— Getting new, correct info about addictions & our human needs /rights
— Correcting Toxic Beliefs, & changing defensive behaviors
— Re-experiencing old painful emotions, & learning to comfort ourselves
Frame-Reframe: Our E. are related to what we’re thinking about ourselves & a person or event, which is related to our early experiences.
In a tough situation, ask which parts of it are permanent & which can possibly change:
“Is my reaction colored by my wounded past OR seen thru healthy adult eyes? // Do I need to think about this differently, OR is my evaluation accurate?” (<—- CHART)
Pleasant Es: ACoAs are addicted to painful emotions – what we lived with day-in-day-out as kids. Healing allows us access to the pleasant-to-joyful ones as well, maybe for the 1st. time. All the literature refers to them as “Positive”, which implies we should not have the ‘negative one’. But we need a wide range, while not being stuck in old pain.
Research suggests that pleasant Es (amusement, awe, enjoyment, gratitude, hope, love, pride, respect, serenity….) provide many benefits:
• Increases curiosity, open decision-making, mindfulness, physical health (7-10 years longer) – including peripheral vision, connections with people, combining ideas more easily, & hopeful dreams into practical outcomes
• Encourages emotional flexibility, healthy helping, the sense of ‘we’ instead of just ‘me’, tolerance of ambiguity & uncertainly
Handling Es : In ‘R.-individual #1‘, self-regulation was related to actions. Here it’s in relation to Es. Emotions move us. Whether conscious or unconscious, all Es tell us to either Approach, Avoid, or Attack something or someone.
So, emotional resilience must include being in charge of our emotional responses & related actions. Self-regulation is the capacity to manage strong feelings & impulses rather than behave inappropriately – the ability to calm oneself down when anxious or angry, & cheer oneself up when sad or depressed.
This doesn’t come naturally for young children because their emotions are bigger-than-life, their brain not yet fine-tuned – programmed to be aroused (up) rather than to be dampened (down). So it’s a skill all children must learn from adults – as their role models – caretakers who are usually in control of their own Es & willing to actively sooth the children, whenever they’re upset.
For those of us who got little or no soothing & had depressed or volatile parents – it takes time, consistent effort & lots of help – to develop this ability now. We need:
• new role models – kind, reasonable, fail, available, sober, & with boundaries
• AND daily communication with both healthy & wounded Inner Kids
(POSTS: resisting dialoguing)
❤️ This model can be used to help the WIC deal difficult or unpleasant Es:
JUMP In! means Recognize & acknowledge them
STAND Strong! means Own them & Survive
RISE Up! means Grow From them & Thrive …..(explanations)
“Love does not need to be understood, just to be demonstrated” ~ Paulo Coelho
NEXT: R- emotions #2