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Alcohol and Mental Health

12 Ways To Boost Your Emotional Resilience

July 11, 2023
11 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
July 11, 2023
11 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
July 11, 2023
11 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
July 11, 2023
11 min read
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Reframe Content Team
July 11, 2023
11 min read

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns that jolt us from our comfort zones. This journey, as exciting as it may be, is also fraught with challenges. Our ability to bounce back from setbacks is rooted in our emotional resilience, a vital trait that buffers us against life’s blows. But, as we know, not all coping strategies are beneficial. Some, like reaching for the solace of alcohol, can undermine our emotional resilience, leaving us more vulnerable to stress. So what is emotional resilience exactly, and what stands in the way of becoming resilient? Are there ways of building emotional resilience? Let’s find out more.

What Is Emotional Resilience, and What Hinders It? 

Emotional resilience is our ability to cope with challenges and deal with setbacks. It’s the capacity to draw on inner reserves of strength to face whatever life gives us head-on and do our best to cope with it in spite of the emotional or physical discomfort we might experience. Situations that can impede our emotional resilience range from personal life crises such as divorce, bereavement, or job loss to more ongoing issues like chronic stress, negative thinking patterns, or toxic relationships. 

In trying times, the lure of alcohol can be strong. It promises a brief respite, a fleeting escape from reality. But “liquid courage” doesn't strengthen our resilience. Instead, it might fuel a host of issues from misuse to physical and mental health problems, ultimately weakening our emotional defenses.

So, how do we fortify our emotional resilience in a healthier and more sustainable way? Let's delve into twelve scientifically backed strategies.

1. Becoming Resilient by Embracing Positivity

Positivity isn't about ignoring life's difficulties; it's about maintaining a hopeful outlook in the face of adversity. Numerous studies attest to the power of positive emotions in enhancing resilience. They act as a buffer, shielding us from the ill-effects of stress and fostering mental well-being. We can train our minds to focus on the silver linings, even when the clouds seem unrelentingly dark. By focusing on what went well each day instead of dwelling on what went poorly, we start to shift our mindset from one that narrows in on what we lack to one of abundance. 

2. Nurture Relationships To Boost Emotional Resilience

Strong, supportive relationships are the scaffolding upon which our resilience is built. They provide emotional succor, offering a listening ear, empathy, or even tangible help during tough times. Let's invest time and effort into building meaningful connections with family, friends, and communities. Reach out to loved ones daily, whether that’s for a quick phone catch-up or an in-person coffee date. Human connection is one of the most foundational pillars of life, so the time we invest in our relationships is time well spent. 

3. Building Emotional Resilience by Taking Care of Physical Health

Physical health and emotional resilience are closely linked. Regular exercise not only keeps our bodies healthy but also has a profound impact on our mood, thanks to the release of endorphins. A balanced diet fuels our bodies with essential nutrients, keeping us energized and well-equipped to face life's challenges. Finally, adequate sleep refreshes and rejuvenates our minds, enabling clearer thinking and better emotional regulation. Making simple tweaks to each of these areas can have profound impacts on how we feel emotionally.

4. Practice Mindfulness for Emotional Resilience

Mindfulness anchors us in the present, steering us away from unproductive rumination about the past or anxiety about the future. It fosters a balanced mind, enhancing our capacity to handle stress. Simple mindfulness practices, like mindful breathing or mindful eating, can go a long way in bolstering our resilience. We have over a dozen guided mindfulness meditations to choose from in our app! 

5. Set Realistic Goals To Avoid Setbacks

Having clear, attainable goals gives us a sense of purpose and direction. They provide a roadmap that guides us, especially when the journey gets tough. When setting goals, it's important to ensure they are realistic and manageable. Use the SMART framework to guide you and hold you accountable to your ambitions. Remember, every small step towards a goal reinforces our resilience and sense of efficacy.

12 Ways To Boost Your Emotional Resilience

6. Accept Change To Build Emotional Resilience

Life is a constant flux. Accepting this can equip us with the flexibility to adapt to new circumstances, making us more resilient. Whether it's a sudden job change, moving to a new city, or dealing with a personal loss, acknowledging the reality of change can help us navigate these situations with greater ease.

7. Cultivate Emotional Intelligence To Manage Emotions

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage our emotions effectively. It allows us to recognize our emotional triggers, control impulsive reactions, and navigate emotional difficulties with grace, significantly enhancing our resilience. We can cultivate emotional intelligence by putting ourselves in others’ shoes and thinking before we speak. 

8. Develop Problem-Solving Skills

Problem-solving skills give us the confidence to tackle difficulties head-on. Instead of avoiding problems or letting them overwhelm us, we can learn to break them down into manageable parts, find practical solutions, and take action. For instance, if we have a massive project to take on at work, we can cut it down into small pieces and take it one step at a time. This proactive approach can considerably boost our resilience and prevent us from getting overwhelmed.

9. Practice Gratitude as a Way of Building Emotional Resilience

Gratitude is a potent resilience booster. By focusing on our blessings, we shift our attention from our problems, fostering positivity and resilience. A simple daily practice, like maintaining a gratitude journal, can have profound effects on our well-being.

10. Seek Help When Needed

Recognizing when we need help and seeking it is a sign of strength. Whether it's from a friend, family member, or a mental health professional, getting support and guidance can be crucial in navigating life's challenges and building resilience. Others’ feedback can give us the necessary perspective to see our situations more clearly and approach them from a place of empowerment. 

11. Develop Emotional Resilience by Finding Purpose in Pain

This might seem challenging, but finding meaning in our struggles can transform them from burdens into opportunities for growth. It provides us with a new perspective and a sense of purpose, deepening our resilience. We might ask ourselves: What has this experience taught me? How has it made me a stronger person? How can I use it to help others?

12. Celebrate Small Wins To Support Emotional Growth

Every achievement, no matter how small, is a testament to our resilience. Celebrating these small victories can boost our self-esteem, reinforce our sense of efficacy, and motivate us to continue on our resilience-building journey.

Final Thoughts on Becoming Resilient

Navigating life’s intricate labyrinth requires more than just surviving; it calls for resilience, the ability to bounce back stronger from adversities. Alcohol, while seemingly offering an easy escape, is far from a real solution. Instead, equipping ourselves with the strategies mentioned above can help us foster a robust emotional resilience that serves us well.

Developing resilience is a journey, not a destination. It's an ongoing process that requires effort, patience, and self-compassion. With each step we take, each challenge we overcome, we are not just enduring; we are evolving, becoming stronger, more resilient versions of ourselves. Because, at the end of the day, we won’t just be people who weather the storm — we’ll be the ones who dance in the rain.

Boost Your Emotional Resilience With Reframe

Although it isn’t a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD), the Reframe app can help you cut back on drinking gradually, with the science-backed knowledge to empower you 100% of the way. Our proven program has helped millions of people around the world drink less and live more. And we want to help you get there, too!

The Reframe app equips you with the knowledge and skills you need to not only survive drinking less, but to thrive while you navigate the journey. Our daily research-backed readings teach you the neuroscience of alcohol, and our in-app Toolkit provides the resources and activities you need to navigate each challenge.

You’ll meet millions of fellow Reframers in our 24/7 Forum chat and daily Zoom check-in meetings. Receive encouragement from people worldwide who know exactly what you’re going through! You’ll also have the opportunity to connect with our licensed Reframe coaches for more personalized guidance.

Plus, we’re always introducing new features to optimize your in-app experience. We recently launched our in-app chatbot, Melody, powered by the world’s most powerful AI technology. Melody is here to help as you adjust to a life with less (or no) alcohol.

And that’s not all! Every month, we launch fun challenges, like Dry/Damp January, Mental Health May, and Outdoorsy June. You won’t want to miss out on the chance to participate alongside fellow Reframers (or solo if that’s more your thing!).

The Reframe app is free for 7 days, so you don’t have anything to lose by trying it. Are you ready to feel empowered and discover life beyond alcohol? Then download our app through the App Store or Google Play today!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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