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Building Resilience

The role emotional intelligence can play



How can you develop your resilience? In the face of challenges and setbacks, you may have found yourself wondering how you could cope better with the stress around you. But have you ever considered how emotional intelligence can help?


According to research, emotional intelligence is a predictor of resilience*, with emotionally intelligent individuals experiencing less of the negative effects of stress**. This means that developing your emotional intelligence has the added benefit of also improving your levels of resilience.


One explanation for this is that both emotional intelligence and resilience involve a similar set of skills, such as the ability to recognise and successfully manage our emotions***. In fact, the EQ-i 2.0 model of emotional intelligence has a whole composite dedicated to the topic of stress management.


Here are 5 ways emotional intelligence can help build your resilience:


1) You have confidence in your abilities

Someone who is emotionally intelligent is likely to have a high self-regard which means that they tend to feel confident in their skills and abilities. This confidence cultivates a sense of control, a key component of resilience, because it increases your belief that you have the resources to successfully deal with the challenges you face****.

2) You have a strong sense of purpose

Emotionally intelligent people also tend to be self-actualized individuals. This means that they are likely to pursue meaningful goals and have a stronger sense of purpose in life. This contributes to resilience because people who are more committed to their goals are also more likely to actively engage in alleviating their stress****.

3) You connect with others

According to research, the ability to connect with others is associated with our ability to be resilient***. Our interpersonal skills help us to create and maintain relationships and we can then rely on these social support networks during more difficult times. Equally, supporting and empathizing with others has also been shown to build resilience***.

4) You have a positive perspective

Another important characteristic of resilient people is the way in which they interpret difficult situations. Those who are more resilient tend to frame challenges in a positive light, perceiving setbacks as an opportunity to learn****. This optimistic outlook is also present among emotionally intelligent individuals.

5) You choose appropriate strategies

Part of emotional intelligence involves being able to choose strategies for tolerating and adapting to stress without becoming overwhelmed. Evidence suggests that this ability to successfully manage negative emotions is a key predictor of resilience because it encourages active coping behaviours for dealing with stress*.

So, if you want to start building your resilience, consider how you can use emotional intelligence to your advantage.


Learn more about emotional intelligence and resilience.

*Armstrong, A. R., Galligan, R. F., & Critchley, C. R. (2011). Emotional intelligence and psychological resilience to negative life events. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 331-336.


**Schneider, T. R., Lyons, J. B., & Khazon, S. (2013). Emotional intelligence and resilience. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(8), 909-914.


***Lucy, D., Poorkavoos, M., & Thompson, A. (2014). Building Resilience: Five Key Capabilites. Roffey park institute.


****MHS Staff. (2018). Hardiness Resilience Gauge (HRG) Technical Manual. Toronto: Multi-Health Systems Inc.


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