Emotional stability is vital to a good life because, without it, you are prone to emotional breakdowns, which can spiral and ruin a season (or more) of your life. Emotional stability is the boxing equivalent of being able to take a punch, stay grounded, and not panic.
3 Keys to Emotional Stability
Emotional stability is similar to resilience as both terms involve being able to withstand hardship. The article I wrote on how to be resiliently focused on staying
active and getting back up after you get knocked down hard. This article is more about taking life’s smaller jabs and punches without losing your balance. When you lose your balance because you aren’t emotionally stable, you’re at greater risk of getting knocked down and out.
Here’s how to keep your composure when life gets tough.
1. Adjust Your Perspective
Our immediate emotional response to negative life events is often stronger and more negatively charged than it needs to be. That’s because we rarely expect things to go wrong in any given moment, but they sometimes do. To counteract this, I recommend a perspective shift, which might look something like this.
A foundational blessing is something in your life that you can always be thankful for: a great family, excellent health, money in the bank, a job you love, or an adorable kitten, for example. These are the blessings you can count on. Then, when life slaps you in the face, you don’t have to focus on the slap —
you can look at your foundational blessings to see your life from a broader point of view. When your car breaks down, you can think about your awesome family, and suddenly, the car is more of a minor nuisance than a devastating blow.
2. Check Your Expectations
If you want to be emotionally unstable, expect your life to be a smooth ride. Life can be enjoyable, but it’s never smooth! At best, life is a highly enjoyable but turbulent adventure.
Those who let the downs of life ruin their day (or year) clearly weren’t expecting a roller coaster. If you expect a calm walk in the park and find yourself on a roller coaster instead, it can be jarring and upsetting.
It’s not that roller coasters are so bad, it’s that you weren’t expecting one. But what if you expected uncomfortable bumps, occasional downturns, and scary dips in your life? You wouldn’t need to expect or predict them at any specific time, but rather be aware that they’re common occurrences for all people. Naturally, the less surprised you are at negative events, the less emotionally reactive you’ll be when they do happen.
They call it rolling with the punches, and you can’t roll with a punch that catches you off guard. Emotionally stable, strong people are never shocked to see a punch come their way, and that’s why they don’t freeze like a deer in the headlights when it comes.
Those who expect that life will have challenges and disappointments will be the most resilient and emotionally stable among us.
3. Create An Action Plan
If all else fails, and you’re still in the dumps emotionally, you won’t escape unless you take action. Emotional turmoil is difficult to escape sometimes because it depresses our entire system. When we feel bad, we have less energy, less motivation, less willpower, and fewer ideas.
While it can be difficult to do things in this state, you should still be able to start forming a plan of action. What steps can you take to improve your situation? You’ll find that simply clarifying your intent is enough to create a powerful spark inside of you that can lead to action.
Moving life forward is key to emotional health because it’s the ultimate sign that you haven’t given up. When we are inactive, we signal to ourselves and the world that we’ve given up for now. Giving up is obviously a disheartening idea, so don’t let yourself become inactive for too long after a negative event
knocks you back. Small steps forward are infinitely better than no steps taken at all.
I’ve found that much of my emotional health is driven by my activities. When I’m in a “down” state and I don’t do anything productive, my lack of productivity reflects my mental state and it reinforces it. When I’m in a down state and I force myself forward anyway, my actions contradict my down mental
state and a new (better) mental state is formed to align with my actions.
Thus, creating action plans and taking action are very helpful to reinforce your emotional health and stability. I especially notice this benefit with exercise, as the resistance of weight represents the resistance I feel in my life. It really pumps me up and puts me in that fighting stance!