Emotional Elasticity

What is Emotional Resilience

One of the biggest issues in psychology and human resources (HR) today is so-called resilience. Resilience in Greek can be translated as Elasticity, or Emotional Resilience.

What Emotional Elasticity – Durability Practically Means

Examining the origin of the word (from the Latin resili – to come back / recover after pressure) gives us the popular understanding of the concept, the ability of people to come back after adversity or mishaps.

Another definition comes from the American Psychological Association (APA), which defines resilience as “a process of adaptation to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats and major sources of anxiety”

Two things stand out when we compare the two definitions, except for the lengthy description of what constitutes “misfortune”

1. The first is that resilience (at least according to APA) is a process and not a capability. This is not universally accepted: even theoretically, it is difficult to separate the process where one demonstrates an ability, by the ability in itself. Personally, I believe there are advantages and disadvantages in both definitions.

A process lacks the element of generalization in personality, as it makes resilience a product of circumstances rather than a person’s attribute. While many authors have commented that resilience is not perfectly transferable between different parts of life (resilience at work does not guarantee resilience at the end of a marriage) it is generally accepted that resilience can be cultivated by each individual and used in many circumstances. Therefore, and become part of a person’s character. What we can definitely say is what are the characteristics of a reaction resilience in a bad situation, and we will concentrate later on.

2. The second difference between the two definitions is less controversial: the APA speaks of “adaptation” rather than “restoring”. “Restore” has the feeling of effortless and fast movement. A kind of James Bond, where the main character goes through adversities in less than two hours and crosses the finishing line with perfect hair and make-up.

Apart from being unrealistic, this vision can be repressed and disrespectful: e.g. to a woman who mourns the death of her husband, which not only means the loss of her beloved, but also brings new financial concerns, waiting for her to “come back” is the disrespect of her love and life, as well as her emotional investment . People (except for psychopaths) can only be oblivious to things that were not important to them.

“Adaptation” means recognizing feelings and needs (instead of suppressing them or ignoring them), but at the same time we aim at the optimal situation. Deciding what is now the best situation after the change is also part of the “adaptation” and indeed, one of its most difficult pieces.

This brings us to the second reason that “recovery / recovery” as a vision may be inappropriate, there are cases where change is irreversible. For example, a professional marathon runner may have been paralyzed after a car accident. In this case, it is even more obvious that “adaptation” should be both in terms of attitudes (what we do) and expectations (what are the goals we put).

Characteristics of a Resilient Response

Every school of psychology has given its own answer, based on how it defines people. However, as I am interested in the practical results here, I have collected the main features that have priority in Emotional Resilience, selectively from many faculties. I’ve also organized them to give the acrobat


Ecological change
Life story
Emotional moderation
Circle of control

As we have seen, it is important to shape a goal as the best possible situation after the change. Even more essential is not only to envision, but also to challenge / examine the possible outcomes to find the best possible goal.

In a simple model, it recommends recognizing the person they are and where they want to be. Starting with where it is, the first feature of resilience is respect for reality, or Realism.

To hide in illusions or to procrastinate does not show resilience. Realism / respect of reality can be found as a key feature of success in the whole range of psychological literature from Maslow’s self-realization to the popular 50 cent psychology.

Realism, of course, does not mean reading a newspaper, but it is an extremely difficult and demanding (for identity) work, unreasonable belief systems, repressed memories (Freud) and false answers (Pearls) are examples of defense mechanisms we often use automatically an effort to avoid an unpleasant reality. Realism means critically reviewing his situation, often with the help of a specialist who can break the vicious circle of denial.

Once someone knows and accepts the reality of the situation, the next step in a resilient response is to envision a more favorable future than the present (not the past before the change). Creating a goal for the future instead of being absorbed by the present problem is one of the key features in Emotional Resilience: looking for a forward solution.

In addition, this solution must be realistic (partly covered in the previous paragraph) and Ecological, ie with respect to the consequences this goal will bring. This is complementary to the realism of the previous point, as realism is about the current situation, while ecological change is to overcome avoidance and prepare for future Consequences.

However, recognizing the current situation and talking about future ecological change is useless if it leaves them at the first hurdle. As the (CBT) cognitive theorists Neenan and Wyden have said “if it is not strange that it is not change.” This means changing a state or behavior will encounter some emotional inertia: as uncomfortable as the current situation is, it is more intimate.

Thus, the next feature of resilience is to be able to persist in order to bring results even if it is not pleasant: Self-Discipline. This is critical, especially since situations requiring Emotional Resilience are quite difficult on their own, and so the added pressure for adherence to an action plan is often too much.

This is perhaps the characteristic that may seem most “magical” how some people can cope with their problems and discipline themselves to take the “right” steps.

Fortunately, this seems to be a traitable feature, social psychologists talk about high frustration tolerance (HFT), low frustration tolerance (LFT). People with HFT seem to be able to withstand unpleasant situations in order to reach the goal later. In addition, HFT is not necessarily inherited, there are some indications from studies in twins that resilience also has a hereditary part and can be trained with gradual exercise.

One of the best ways to develop HFT is the gym! It is a slow, painful process but with tangible results. It has also been shown that exercise reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety, while increasing attention, planning ability and decision-making.

With the gym we go to the next feature of resilience:

Interests. As the bubble-wrap paper absorbs vibrations thanks to the movement of air between the bubbles, so an individual can divert the pressure he feels into his interests. Having different interests allows pressure to diffuse, creates alternative outlets of energy and anxiety and puts things in perspective, the problem lies in only a part of his life.

In addition, success or even the pleasure he enjoys through these other interests will allow the person to be in a more positive attitude. If the whole of the person’s time is invested in a subject, and personna is threatened or can no longer exist, then it is difficult to incorporate change into a broader positive image and keep things in perspective.

Which brings us to another well-documented feature of resilience: Life-Story, personal life story. This essentially means redistributing the meaning of an event from negative to positive or at least neutral.

In a CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) model, emotional responses arise from beliefs in a linear ABC progression

A-> B-> C

Where A is the action (action, it happened) B are the beliefs about what this action is and C are the consequences. While recognizing the A and accepting it is part of realism, with the control of beliefs, the individual is able to control the emotional consequences. In Life-Story therapy, people are asked to interpret a situation so that the new interpretation leads or permits a positive future.

Of course, this is easier on words than on practice. The final step in such redesign is the formation of a personal history of life, a technique where the client is invited to narrate the story of his life, to incorporate all previous challenges, including any existing ones, in a positive way.

The next step is to generalize this mood throughout its identity: identity.

This feature is related to self-esteem and self-belief

The individual believes in himself and can adapt to this new situation and respects himself so that he does not surrender. Making Emotional Resilience an attribute of identity is vital, as this will allow the individual to become decisive and, potentially, to enjoy the challenges as ways to prove himself rather than being threatened.

A useful idea is “anti – fragile” as opposed to fragile objects that need special treatment in case they break and become useless, anti – fragile are those objects that improve with adversity. A truly resilient response is not a prescription from a therapist in the right setting, but ties as part of the person’s identity and is consistent with the history of his life.

But all of this may seem like big words when someone is confronted with a mother whose son died.

Which brings us back to another feature of resilience, Emotional Moderation. It may seem tough, but to manifest its feelings all the time without checking or choosing when and how much this happens will make it a slave to them. For this reason, the management and control of emotional outbreaks is necessary.

The above is extremely difficult for someone already confronted with a difficult situation. For this reason, the next feature is the creation of a Network. A narrow social supportive environment that offers a safe haven can make a huge psychological and emotional difference.

However, even if all of the above apply, the end result may still be beyond the control of the individual. Perhaps the reason why someone has to show Emotional Resilience is not a fact of the past, but a constant situation.

One extreme example was the prisoners in concentration camps in the Second World War. The next feature of resilience is given by a survivor of the concentration camps, Victor Frankl, and is the Circle of Control. Frankl realized early on that there were many factors that considered his survival, Hitler’s popularity in Germany, and Allied moves, whether he would be good at his job and would like the guards. He knew that every day the order for his execution could come. He also knew he could not do anything about it.

So he devised a simple system of two eccentric circles: On the outside he wrote all the things in which he did not control and within those things that he could influence Then, demonstrating self-discipline and emotional control, he made part of his identity to be the kind of the person who only worries about the things he might possibly have. This also proves that a resilience response requires action, thus assuming the entire LIABILITY to change the situation.

“Do not let it affect you that you can not influence and live accordingly” This is Emotional Elasticity

Influence Cycle

In the same line of thinking, Emotional Resilience is something practical and apparent from the outcome. Hence, it leaves evidence: Evidence. Measures taken and their consequences, as well as the changes in everyday life in an active response to the difficult situation.

Even a calendar that documents the change in perception is proof of an individual’s attitude in adapting to the subject. As feelings can change quickly, these are the proofs that fix the resilience response process and can be used as a motive in a similar situation.


Ecological change
Life story
Emotional moderation
Circle of control

So we can use the above as a definition of resilience. The very issue of resilience focuses on the answer to a negative event, so it automatically has a negativity. At the same time, it is difficult to imagine success, without any difficulty. Therefore, Emotional Resilience is important to adapt to the path to success, as well as to deal with unexpected miscarriages.

It is characteristic that in 2002, at the Harvard Business Review, Dean M. Becker wrote

“Emotional Elasticity, determines who will succeed and who will fail. This is true in the cancer patients’ room, it is true in the Olympic Games and is true in the boardroom “


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