Emotional Resilience: Tips and Tactics to Help you Bounce Back

September 22, 2022 | By: Dr. Stevie Dawn

A popular speaker started off a seminar by holding up a $20 bill. A crowd of 200 had gathered to hear him speak. He asked, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

200 hands went up.

He said, “I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first, let me do this.” He crumpled the bill up.

He then asked, “Who still wants it?”

All 200 hands were still raised.

“Well,” he replied, “What if I do this?” Then he dropped the bill on the ground and stomped on it with his shoes.

He picked it up and showed it to the crowd. The bill was all crumpled and dirty.

“Now who still wants it?”

All the hands still went up.

“My friends, I have just showed you a very important lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times, in our lives, life crumples us and grinds us into the dirt. We make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. We feel worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value.”

Bouncing Back

To me, that is what emotional resilience is all about. Being able to bounce back from tough times. Being able to handle the ups and downs of life with grace, patience, and a smile. Being able to never lose sight of your own self-worth.

Here’s an exercise to illustrate emotional resilience. Take a pulse check. On a scale of 1 to 10, how are you feeling today? Right now? With a 10 being awesome and a 1 being not so hot, choose your number. Maybe it’s a Monday and the emails are piling up, so you are feeling like a 4. Or perhaps, it is Friday afternoon, and you are reading this before you shut down for the weekend, so you are feeling about an 8.

Throughout the day, how we are feeling shifts moment to moment. The day can start off well and then you see just one email from that angry tenant and all of a sudden, your number drops. Having emotional resilience is being able to bounce back after those bad episodes during your day.

8 Great Traits

There are 8 traits of Emotional Resilience that all of us can access to bounce back faster. Take a look at the list below and ask yourself, what do you already possess?

  1. Emotional Reframing. This is the ability to look at the good in every situation. To not get tied down into a negative spiral. Instead of questioning your ability when you go for a promotion, reframe those thoughts to be focused on how you have the experience and talent needed to move forward. Reframing allows you to focus on the positive and have a better outlook on a situation.
  2. Emotional Awareness is the ability to identify your emotions before they lead to actions. Having awareness is about identifying the emotions you are feeling and “why” you are feeling them before you take action or make statements. Awareness can help you to reframe thoughts and improve relationships.
  3. This is the ability to just keep swimming. You see, I am addicted to sharks. In fact, I am something of an expert on them. A surprising fact about sharks is that they have to keep swimming in order to live. Swimming is how they oxygenate their bodies. This same concept applies to us as humans. Being able to just keep swimming through choppy waters is what helps us to conceptualize that it might be a bad moment, but that doesn’t mean you are heading for a bad day, week, month, or even a bad year.
  4. Internal Control is a fancy phrase for knowing that you are in control of your life. Emotional resilience improves when you realize that life happens for you not to you. When you can accept that external circumstances do not dictate your internal beliefs and feelings.
  5. Having a positive outlook, seeing the good in a situation, that skill allows you to bounce back faster.
  6. Support is one of the most important skills in Emotional Resilience and can be critical in your work life. Do you have people around you to support you and your success? A tribe, a group of friends, work colleagues? We all need people to help us bounce back. Going at it alone is incredibly difficult, and great support can be key in bouncing back from tough times. Remember to give others support during their tough times. Like gift giving, you receive as much as you give when you support others.
  7. Sense of Humor. When you have a sense of humor, you can laugh at the difficult times which helps to disrupt the downward spiral and reframe quicker. A good laugh can light up the room, and sometimes that is all you need to bounce back after a tumble.
  8. Having a belief in something larger than ourselves can help us overcome difficult situations.

So, which of these traits do you possess? While having all 8 makes resilience and life easier, it isn’t necessary. The goal is to have at least two or three of these traits in your toolbox. To be able to use them when needed.

Your Bounce Back List

We all encounter tough and challenging times both professionally, and personally. The key is to respond in the best way possible. In addition to utilizing the traits you already have; you can develop a Bounce Back List. This is a catalogue of activities that can help you bounce back quickly and effectively. Every person’s list will be different, but you might have things such as:

  • Phone a friend
  • Look at photos on your phone (grandkids are usually a good place to start)
  • Take a walk outside (sunshine and nature tend to help)
  • Listen to your favorite music
  • Meditate
  • Consciously Breathe
  • Work on a fun project
  • Workout

What would be on your list? What activities bring a smile to your face? What can raise your number and improve your day?

Finding Joy

One of the most important aspects to emotional resilience is joy. Being able to find happiness and joy at work helps to navigate life’s choppy waters. In fact, five minutes of joy can give you up to sixty minutes of productive energy. This is a great use for the Bounce Back List you have developed. When things are difficult, and you start to feel weighed down by everything on your to do list, taking a five-minute joy break can be exactly what you need. These joy breaks are a great way to help you bounce that number back up and keep going through the tough days. These tactics can help you stay focused, happy, and energetic.

Emotional resilience is a skill that can be developed with practice and intention. Taking a pulse check (on a scale of 1 to 10) is a great way to start identifying how you are feeling at any given moment. Being able to identify the traits that you already have, building your Bounce Back List, and taking joy breaks are all valuable tools in your emotional resilience toolkit.

It all comes back to that crumpled up $20 bill. You always have value and worth. You can always straighten yourself out. No matter what trials you face, you can always overcome them because you have the skills that you need. You are worthy. You are resilient. You are unstoppable.


Want to learn more from Dr. Dawn? Check out her webinars on Emotional Resilience and Cultivating Joy on CRE Insight 365.

To stay up to date on news and resources such as this and other topics of importance to the real estate industry, subscribe to the free CRE Insight Journal Newsletter using this link.