Emotions | Addictions

Emotional Resilience

Emotional Resilience is the ability to bounce back from painful emotions- it is part of maturity. However, due to life circumstances some of us have problems in this area. When we feel emotional pain, we don't know what to do with it. The inability to return to joy or peace from emotional pain can result in many physical and emotional issues.

Here is a short list:

  • Chronic anxiety
  • Phobias
  • Depression
  • Psychosomatic illness
  • Addiction

How do we react to emotional pain?

There are many ways to react to felt emotional pain. The word "pain" purposeful. The same part our our brain that registers "physical" pain also registers "emotional pain." It is real! Think about what you do when you touch a hot burner on a stove. You move your hand immediately! You don't sit around and contemplate the pain; you jerk your hand away! Emotional pain is similar. We react without careful evaluation.

That is why we need to self-reflect. "How do I react to emotional pain?" This is crucial to bouncing back. If we are not aware of our reaction to emotional pain, how can we know how to regulate it?

Responses to emotional pain 

The most commonly talked about emotional pain reactions in psychology are fight, flight or freeze. Out of these three words come many different behaviors. I have added another- It is fix. This is where we give-in, placate or self-subjugate to the situation that we are alarmed by. Look over the lists and ak yourself, "How do I react to stress?" "How well do I bounce back?" "If I caught myself reacting this way, could I make a conscious effort to return to peace and joy?'





Get Angry







Self Subjugate





Attack Verbally/Physically

Get Sick

Get Stuck

People Please

Dominate the Person/Situation

Avoid Talking/    Push Away

Detach From

Give In

Emotional Issues


Anxiety affects 30% of Americans. Many more are held captive by their obsessive worry. Some fear is legitimate, warning us and forcing us to be productive and seek solutions. However, obsessing on fear or spending time in excessive worry over something that might happen is counterproductive. It keeps us captive to its demands and stresses our bodies and emotions. Today there is hope for anxiety...



Each year, 16 million adults in the U.S. experience at least one major depressive episode. That’s close to 7 percent of all American adults. Most of us feel discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life at some time. Depression is a natural reaction to loss, struggles in life, or an attack on self-esteem. But when it last longer than 2 weeks and starts to interfere with living, it’s called an episode. Today there is hope for depression…


Chemical Dependence

Chemical dependency is when a person has a difficult time stopping the use of substance. Abuse is when a person consumes chemical substances (legal or illegal) and it ends up causing problems and distress in their life. It could be absenteeism at work, emotional turmoil, relational difficulties, accidents, legal issues, financial worries or physical maladies. Today there is hope for chemical dependency and abuse…



Anger is a useful emotion when used for our legitimate protection. However, when anger is disproportionate to the precipitating event, it can be out of control and leave us feeling helpless against its torrent. Out of control, it leaves us depressed, anxious and often full of remorse. Today there is hope for unbridled anger… 



When a person who has given up their habit or addiction begins it again, it’s called relapse.

Relapse back into habitual or addictive behavior is a serious problem. People leave programs thinking it is the end of their problem only to find out that within months they are using all over again. In fact, many people find themselves relapsing several times (some many more times) before they are successful.


Resilience Skills

Seligman and his associates have spent years researching what makes some people more resilient than others. The good news is they believe we can "learn" to be more resilient if we work on seven skills. We can find these skills in the book, The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shame. 


These Skills Are


Regulating your emotions

Learning to return to a more receptive state of mind and experience peace and joy is one of the most important skills we can learn


Controlling your impulses

This is paramount for resilience. How often do you implode because you do not control yourself when an impulse comes?

The key to impulse control is:

A. Know your triggers

B. What you believe when the trigger happens

C. Figuring out the real consequences

D. Reattributing the trigger to implicit memories and faulty wiring

E. Riding it out


Being optimistic

This is realistic optimism, not "Pollyanna" wishful thinking. It is due to faith and hope combined with a movement toward healthy resolution to your life problems. It is a belief that things will be better and an attitude that helps you work toward that goal.


Knowing why

The ability to accurately identify the cause of our problem is key to resilience. This is why the whole new "right brain" psychology is so important to healthy regulation of emotions. For the first time we understand how implicit memories affect our sensations and impulses, and helps us understand the causes behind some of our most perplexing behavior. Today we can identify causes for our behavior.


Empathy and Attunement with others

SOZO has built much of its program around these skills. Relationships are key in our maturity and our ability to be resilient. Having empathy with others and being able to attune with them helps build our brain's resilience circuits.


Self Efficacy

This is the belief in our ability to affect our circumstances or believing in a God who can. It is the moving toward a solution with the confidence that we will succeed.


Reaching out to others

True resilience is dependent on our ability to socially interact with others. We cannot gain all we need to be mature and whole by ourselves. We need others.

Our brains learn from other brains. The right hemisphere of our brain is wired to help us be resilient from the feedback of others. We need others to be our emotional regulators, helping our brain develop its own ability. We need others in order to be whole.