18 behaviors that reveal you’re more emotionally resilient than you think

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Do you ever find yourself surprised at how you’ve had the strength to keep going when things got extremely tough?

That calmness under the storm is your emotional resilience shining through.

It is a subtle yet powerful trait that lets us stay composed and collected when things don’t go our way.

Just like our muscles, emotional resilience is one of those things we were born with, but gets better as we keep using it. While muscles grow stronger with exercise, resilience is hardened through our life experiences. 

If you weren’t aware that you had this powerful trait in you, we’ve rounded up a list of behaviors to show you just how much you’ve been displaying emotional resilience in your everyday life.

Let’s dive in!

1) You postpone immediate gratification

If you’d rather save towards a vacation than go impulse shopping, that’s more than just being wise with your finances.

It also means you have enough self-control and foresight to prioritize long-term well-being over short-term pleasures. 

This emotionally resilient behavior is a strong indication of your ability to effectively manage your emotions and impulses.

2) You love quiet times

Taking daily walks without any gadgets or simply having your morning coffee in silence are among the habits of the emotionally resilient.

Giving yourself time to sit on your thoughts without judging them is a good exercise to help you remain calm and grounded when reacting to emotionally charged situations.

3) You stress debrief yourself

Knowing your stressors and proactively managing them is key to building emotional resilience.

Whether it’s yoga, deep breathing, meditation, or playing video games, effectively managing your stress before it overwhelms you translates to how well you will handle and act on emotional adversity in the future.

4) You have a go-to self-care menu

If mindfulness activities reduce stress, self-care routines bring you joy, fulfillment, and relaxation. 

When times become tough, having a personalized self-care ritual brings you comfort and a sense of familiarity. 

It also strengthens you emotionally, as it serves as a constant reminder that you are worthy and capable of looking after yourself. 

5) Exercise is on your to-do list

Besides the mindfulness activities above, physical exercise can also help reduce stress.

And that’s not all.

Improving your physical health also improves your emotional endurance. 

So, if your daily habit includes a form of physical exercise, well done!

You’re on your way to building a solid physical foundation that supports your emotional resilience, so you can cope more effectively with emotional challenges that come your way.

6) You block toxic thoughts

Aside from stressors, we should also be able to catch and stop ourselves when our thoughts become overly pessimistic.

If you can relate to this behavior, it’s safe to say you’re an emotionally resilient individual.

But if you feel like you need to develop this more, try keeping a thought diary to keep track of instances where unhelpful thinking kicks in.

You can then follow that up by reframing those thoughts into a more balanced and compassionate way, like the next behavior on this list:

7) Practising healthy positivity

Starting your day with positive affirmations is just one of the many habits you can do to practice optimism, a trait common among the emotionally resilient.

This learned behavior not only counteracts negativity but also helps you have a hopeful outlook, which lightens the burden of your emotional struggles. 

And when the load is lighter, your strength to carry it increases, making it easier for you to keep going.

8) You expect and accept rejections

Notice how the last one says “healthy positivity” and not just positivity?

That was intentional.

Here’s why:

It’s one thing to block negativity, but it’s also another thing to appreciate the reality that rejections and failures are a given in life.

Being able to gracefully accept and expect this as early as possible will determine how emotionally resilient you will be when they eventually come your way.

9) You confront setbacks head on

You know they’re coming, so you prepare yourself to face life’s lows head on – that’s your emotional resilience flexing its muscles right there.

Here’s what it could look like in your daily life:

  • Choosing to resolve a conflict with a friend rather than avoiding uncomfortable confrontations and conversations.
  • Addressing your mistake at work immediately, rather than hoping for it to go unnoticed.

Directly facing setbacks instead of avoiding them shows you have problem-solving skills and a proactive attitude toward emotional challenges.

10) You’re open to new perspectives

Sometimes, before you step into things head on, it helps to pause for a quick survey.

Stepping back from a situation and looking at it from different angles is another effective workout for your emotional resilience.

It could be as trivial as engaging in friendly debates to see things from someone else’s perspective.

Or it could mean setting boundaries in your personal relationships to preserve your mental health, rather than always saying yes to avoid conflict.

11) You’re comfortable with discomfort

Not only are you open to new ideas, but you’re also open to embracing discomfort.

Are you the type who initiates a conversation with someone you’ve just met? 

Are you unafraid to try a new and intimidating activity? 

If it’s a yes to any of the above, good job for strengthening your emotional resilience!

Each time you step out of your comfort zone, you build up your capacity to handle new and possibly challenging situations. 

This adaptability gives you unique coping skills for handling unfamiliar emotional challenges.

12) You know you don’t have all the answers

People who are comfortable saying “I don’t know” and not feeling like a failure are emotionally resilient.

If this sounds like you, appreciate yourself for your uncertainty and knowing the limits of your control. 

By doing these, you reduce feelings of frustration and helplessness and allow yourself to focus more on what you can control in any given situation.

13) You embrace your creativity

Did you know using your creative juices is also an exercise for developing emotional resilience?

Using your creative outlets, whether through art, music, or dance, is a form of emotional expression and release.

Regularly engaging in these activities provides a safe avenue for venting and processing your emotions, which is a great way to prevent internalization and promote healing.

14) You laugh out loud

Laughing your heart out does wonders for your overall health – including your emotional resilience.

Your ability to find humor even in really dark times of your life helps boost an optimistic point of view. 

But more than that, laughing in the face of adversity gives you temporary relief and a sense of normalcy amidst the chaos.

15) You know when to reach out to your people

Emotional resilience is all about how we bounce back from our hard falls. 

But that doesn’t mean it should be done alone.

Don’t fall into the misconception that reaching out to friends and family for emotional support is a sign of weakness.

The truth is, it demonstrates a high level of self-awareness, which is a core component of emotional resilience. 

It shows you understand yourself and your emotional state well enough that you know when it’s time to tap into the invaluable resource of a strong support network.

16) You’re your own evaluator

Do you sometimes feel over-the-top for having regular performance reviews with yourself?

This is your sign to stop. Not the evaluation, but the criticism.

Regularly reflecting on yourself is a behavior that encourages your problem-solving skills, and here’s how it ties in with your resilience:

It helps you recognize strategies that were effective in the past and how they can be applied to your current or future emotional challenges.

17) You’re your own cheerleader

Have you ever seen how in sports, the crowd’s encouragement somehow magically gives the players renewed stamina?

Amazing, right? 

But you’ve probably done that to yourself, too. 

Remember when you chose to be gentle instead of angry at yourself when you made a mistake?

What about the time when you told yourself it’s okay to feel overwhelmed because you don’t have to be strong all the time?

All these behaviors build your emotional resilience by making you feel supported and stronger when facing life’s curveballs. 

Like the fans cheering in basketball games, your self-compassion has that same stamina-boosting effect on your resilience.

18) You know your superpowers

Let’s step back a bit from cheerleading and look into your cheer-worthy traits.

When you know your strengths, it follows that you learn how to use them to your advantage when dealing with emotionally difficult situations

Again, just like sports, playing to your strengths tips the game in your favor.

Build those emotional resilience muscles

To reiterate:

Just as muscles need regular exercise to strengthen, so does your emotional resilience.

Positive self talk, stepping beyond your comfort zone, using humor, facing setbacks head on, or playing to your strengths – whatever you choose to engage in, remember this:

Each behavior is a workout, making your resilience stronger so you’re ready to flex it when life comes throwing its punches.

Sarah Piluden-Natu-El

Sarah is a full-time mum, wife, and nurse on hiatus turned freelance writer. She is on a journey of diving deeper into life through life itself and uses her writing to share the lessons learned along the way. When not on her computer, she enjoys time with her family strolling along the Gold Coast's stunning beaches and captivating hinterland.

People who are bored in their relationship but won’t admit it usually display these 12 behaviors

People who are introverted at heart but have a lot of friends often display these 9 subtle behaviors