Building resilience and achieving a healthy longevity involves using our physical, intellectual and social skills and having meaning and purpose in our lives. However, there are also personal attributes that are associated with strong resilience. These, too, are things we can build.
Mindset is an established set of attitudes held by someone. A fixed mindset views something with low expectations, believes that growth is impossible, and views the world as half empty. On the other hand, a growth mindset is a positive attitude that sees opportunities to grow, learn, or in some way benefit from every situation. A sense of gratitude also characterizes it. A fixed mindset, one not open to contrary facts or observable reality, is a barrier to the necessary growth for healthy longevity. It is also a barrier to authentic relationships.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, use, understand, manage, and handle our emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Building Emotional Intelligence requires:
Mindfulness – The ability to be present and observe our thoughts and emotions. This prevents us from being swept away by negative thoughts and the emotions they generate. Mindfulness is awareness without thought or judgment and paying attention to whatever we do. Meditation is an excellent way to build mindfulness and resulting resilience; however, anything that causes us to be in the present moment rather than lost in our runaway thoughts builds mindfulness.
Self-Regulation – The ability to perceive, understand and modify our thought-emotion-behavior process. Our thoughts about what is happening around us cause our responding emotions, including stress. Emotions then drive our behavior.
Empathy and Compassion – A genuine respect and concern for others allow us to look beyond our differences and focus on similarities. This attribute is humanism, a feeling of a shared experience of living with others and other creatures.
Social Skills – The ability to communicate and connect with others. This entails being aware of others’ emotions and responding in a way that builds connection.
Additionally, two other personal traits enhance our Emotional Intelligence:
A Sense of Humor – Seeing the lighter side of issues builds immunity and hence resilience. Focusing on the negative, darker side only leads to stress, lowered immunity, and less resilience.
Flexibility – The ability to accept things and adjust accordingly, rather than wallowing in a victim mentality or regret. Flexibility enables us to pivot as necessary, i.e., be resilient.