By Geetu Bharwaney
Research shows that people with ‘emotional resilience’ will have the best chances of not only surviving critical events but thriving in life. Geetu Bharwaney, Author of Emotional Resilience
, describes what has led to her focusing on emotion for the last 17 years. She shares three topics that can help you to thrive after turning 50 – ‘Living Legacy’, ‘Energy Management’ and ‘Adaptability’.
In this article, I want to describe my own journey as I approach 50, what Emotional Resilience is, and three topics which have made a big impact for both me and clients I help.
First a personal journey….
In my mid 30s, during the peak of my career as a high achiever, someone I met at a conference told me that I looked 50. Beyond the shock of what seemed like a rude comment at the time, this served as a BIG wake up call!
I looked in the mirror that day and realised that the years of sleeplessness, worry and the stress of climbing the corporate ladder had taken their toll. I looked way older than my years. It was a real ‘Bridget Jones’ moment. I was single and depressed and working hard to get on in my career.
A few years later, I was diagnosed with cancer in my late 30’s and that was another big shock. I knew I had to get to the bottom of what makes a healthy person. I have since spent the last 20 years focusing on understanding how emotions impact health and performance in life.
Now that I am turning 50 myself in a few months’ time, I am relieved to report that my vitality seems to have improved and my friends often tell me that I look younger than I did 20 years ago. My health today is not the result of botox or any other artificial or invasive procedure, but through a rigorous focus on understanding “Emotional Resilience”. Knowing how to handle emotions in order to be effective in life.
This experience of figuring this out over a long period of time has certainly helped me to help others. You could say, I have worked out from the inside out, how to live life in a healthy way.
I can assure you that this is work-in-progress and not the finished article, each day brings with it new challenges.
I took on the task last week of planning a female friend’s 50th birthday celebration and within 3 days, have found it to be one of my most difficult challenges this year! None of this friend’s friends have met together, and am thrown into social interaction with women from many walks of life with a very high need for sensitivity in helping my best friend have a celebration that is right for her! This is no small feat – the friend in question does not want a lively party. She has come through a bad patch and wants a reflective, meaningful celebration with her closest female friends, yet half of the group want to go out and party! I am one of two organisers. Help!
But why is ‘emotion’ important, don’t we just need Resilience to ‘bounce back’?
Emotions are data. We know that every single decision we make involves emotion (with the only exception of a complicated maths problem), so we can’t get away from emotion!
The complication is that when we are stressed or overwhelmed, if an excess of stressful emotion (cortisol) is flooding our brain, we act impulsively and do things that we later regret. The high emotion stops us from functioning with a clear-head.
We simply can’t think straight to get the task in front of us done. In fact, sometimes we make mistakes under stress or make a bad choice in the situation. We find it hard to empathise with those around us when we are emotionally stuck and in a state of chaos.
Welcome to the life of most people I meet! A constant moving from one thing to the next, and not feeling fulfilled and wondering ‘Is there more to life?’.
The other complication with emotion is that if we don’t honour the information that comes from our emotion and we focus on suppressing, stuffing down and not dealing with emotions as vital signs for what is really happening, then we get stuck and this leads to health issues in a clear cycle of three steps:
(1) suppress/stuff emotions down; (2) ‘medicate’ the emotions with a ‘drug of choice or some masking behaviour (by this I mean addiction to work, alcohol, sex, excessive talking, shopping or whatever is your ‘drug of choice’ to stop you from feeling difficult emotions and (3) then issues arise in relationships, health, work through this inner conflict and despair.
As the challenges keep coming, a series of problems in rapid succession often results in illness – either physical, emotional or social illness. We feel stuck, alone and disconnected even from our nearest and dearest at times. The more stuck we feel, the less we feel empowered to change things so over time, things can get worse as we age. Far from being wiser, we seem to get stuck in the same similar situations – post divorce, the next relationship fails. As people around us change, the relationships change and require more effort.
Do you recognise this vicious circle of challenge in yourself or someone you are close to?
Part 2: What is emotional resilience?
Geetu Bharwaney is Managing Director of Ei World (www.eiworld.org), a coach to high achievers on how to be effective in work and life.
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2) Full title:
Emotional Resilience: Know what it takes to be agile, adaptable and perform at your best
Written by Geetu Bharwaney, Author of Emotional Resilience (available in Audiobook and Paperback) and Managing Director of Ei World.
3) Links for purchasing book:
Download version via Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Self-Development/Emotional-Resilience-How-to-be-Agile-Adaptable-and-Perform-at-Your-Best-Audiobook/B00YCOYXX0/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1467890231&sr=1-2
Download version via Ei World Amazon Store (physical audio products):
Amazon link paperback: