Dr. Ohemaa Nkansa-Dwamena LSE Staff Counselling Service

Dr. Ohemaa Nkansa-Dwamena
LSE Staff Counselling Service
What is Emotional Resilience?
Problems/Issues arising from low resilience
Ways to Develop/Amend/Implement
“The ability to succeed personally and professionally in the midst
of a high pressured, fast moving and continuously changing
Emotional resilient individuals are “individuals are characterised
by a staunch view of reality. They are very logical in their
interpretations of setbacks—what is in their control, out of their
control, and options for taking action. Finally, this brain activity
leads to the development of ‘‘realistic’’ optimism as well as the
motivational processes involved for pursing the courses of action
related to confidence and the strategies devised for overcoming
life’s obstacles.”
Emotional Awareness
Internal Locus of Control
Sense of Humour
Low self esteem and confidence
Negative thought patterns
Altered sense of self
Affected sleep
Low motivation and enthusiasm
Low morale
Low productivity
Self criticism
Lola is a member of staff in a busy information
and advice centre. The centre is often
understaffed and she is managed by a woman
whom she describes as largely absent. Her
manager makes great demands on her time
and is at times critical of her work. She is
beginning to become more and more stressed
by her work environment, so much so that it
affected her relationships. She works late and
often goes home and falls asleep in her
clothes, her sleep is often disrupted. As a
result of feeling vulnerable, she is short with
her family and easily irritated. Based on what
we have explored so far, what would you
advise Lola to do in order to improve her
situation and develop emotional resilience?
Some individuals are naturally more resilient
than others- however the good news is,
emotional resilience can be learned and
Emotional resilience is made up of different
components, and particularly in a work setting
it is important to attend to the different areas,
continuing to develop as you grow in your
work role
 Self
 Self management
 Social Awareness
 Relationship Management
Know the warning signs
Improve your self esteem
Enjoy Yourself
Develop good relationships
Find a sense of purpose
Nurture Yourself
Change is good!
Good health and easy temperament
Secure attachment and basic trust in other people
Interpersonal competence including the ability to
recruit help
Cognitive competence that encompasses the ability to
read, capacity to plan, self efficacy and intelligence
Emotional competencies include diverse emotional
skills including the ability to regulate one’s emotion,
maintain realistically high self esteem and employ
creativity and humour to one’s benefit
The ability and opportunity to contribute to others
Holding faith that your life matters and has meaning,
including a moral sense of connection to others.
People are already resilient in areas of their lives linked to passionate
interests, committed values or small daily never miss activities. However,
people are frequently unaware of their strengths. Adaptive strengths are
important for emotional resilience
Ask question:
What is something you do everyday because you really want to do it?
Generate strengths
Construct PMR
Turn specific strategies used whilst working on something on which you
demonstrate/ maintain resilience into more general resilience strategies.
How could PMR help to maintain resilience in areas of difficulty?
Write down common challenges in problem areas/ consider. Then scan PMR
for ideas which might help them persist in the face of obstacles, and/or accept
aspects of the situation that cannot be changed. The focus is staying resilient
in the face of difficulty rather than solving or overcoming them.
Practice Resilience
Devise behavioural experiments to practice resilience. These are used to test
the quality and utility of PMR. Debriefing a behavioural experiment lends a
chance to see things through a resilience lens- obstacles and setbacks become
opportunities to learn and practice resilience
Resilience practice not only helps people manage difficulties, it minimizes the
number of life events that are experienced as aversive.
Search for strengths
Construct a personal model of resilience
Apply the PMR to areas of life /work
Practice resilience
Take a Self-Esteem Inventory.
Mastery/learning goals vs. performance goals.
Stop thinking that you need better than
average at everything to have worth.
See setbacks as an opportunity to be kind to
Set Aside Perfection and Grab a Hold of
Accomplishments… and Mistakes.
Set Realistic Expectations.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.
Get Organized
Put important things first. This is the habit of self- management. It involves
organizing and managing time and events around personal priorities.
Develop clear values and a sense of purpose.
Being prepared reduces stress. When you're facing a situation that you know
will be stressful to you, rehearse it mentally or with a friend. Anticipate
what might occur and plan your response.
Do It Now
Procrastination breeds stress! Do your most difficult task at the beginning of
the day when you're fresh; avoid the stress of dreading it all day.
Put Perfectionism in its Proper Place
Perfectionism is often a poor use of time. Not everything requires
perfection. High priority items require more perfection than low
priority items. By demanding perfection of yourself and others, you
may be wasting time in unnecessary effort.
Change Attitudes
Think of stressful situations as a challenge to your creative thinking, rather
than looking at them as insurmountable problems . Generate solutions.
Learn to Say "No"
Say "no" when your schedule is full: to responsibilities that aren't yours; to
emotional demands that leave you feeling exhausted; to other people's
problems that you don't have the power to solve.
Take Care of your Body
You will have more energy and become stress hardy when you eat a
balanced diet, get sufficient sleep and exercise regularly.
Optimistic Self-Talk
Use positive self-reinforcement: "I can handle this one step at a time",
instead of frightening or depressing yourself by coming up with
reasons why you can't cope.
Actively seek support from friends, colleagues, and family.
Take Charge
Take responsibility for making your life what you want it to be . It is more
empowering to feel a sense of control and to make decisions. Commit
to what you want and take action.
Develop problem solving skills
Establish Goals
Take steps to solve problems
Sleep Hygiene
Be Active
Connect with the people around you
Take Notice
Keep Learning
Give back
Black and White Thinking: views things as one
extreme or the other- no middle ground
ERR: Practice noticing when you have a strong
good/bad - right/wrong response to something or
Choose not to attach a judgement to the situation
and consider what may be a middle path of
acceptance- not agreeing or disagreeing, simply
observing you have a response and can choose to
let it pass
Setting Unrealistic Expectations: Inflexible
rules, goals and high expectations. Perfection
and always in control. I must. I have to.
ERR: Catch yourself when you are using
shoulds, must, and have to’s. How can you
reframe the statement so it is less emotionally
charged? E.g. I prefer to, he could consider, she
may like to know
Looking on the dark side-Pessimistic
thinking: Looking at the world through dark
coloured glasses- dwelling on unpleasant event
or seeing the bad in a situation/ person. Only
bad things happen
ERR: Choose to make a conscious effort to
think of one positive thing every time you find
yourself focused on a negative thought or
judgement. Help others.
Overgeneralization: This is when you believe
because one thing has gone wrong in the pastyou assume that everything else will be a
disaster too.
ERR: Become aware of our language, how often
do you engage in negative self talk? Make an
effort to stop labelling and judging yourself.
Imagine an alternative outcome
Making Mountains out of molehills: This
occurs when you focus on something that may
be uncomfortable or unpleasant experience for
anyone and you exaggerate these feelings.
ERR: Review the situation and ask yourself
whether you are exaggerating the impact of a
mistake or setback. Decide to let it go so you
can focus on the future.
Catastrophising: This is when situations are turned into life
or death issue
ERR: 80-90 % of the things we worry about never happen.
Remember human beings are resilient, and are remarkably
adept. Recall a time when you have demonstrated this.
Personalising: It’s all my fault. This means you assume
responsibility and blame yourself for anything unpleasant
ERR: Try not to assume responsibility for someone else care
about others and their feelings and empower them to take
responsibility for their own feelings and behaviours.
Developing your emotional resilience by
Donald Robertson
Developing Resilience: A cognitive behavioural
approach: Michael Neenan
Emotional Resilience by M.D. Viscott
Just one thing\; Developing a Bhuddha brain
one simple practice at a time by Rick Hanson
LSE Staff counselling service (intranet, email:
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