Just as you need to exercise your body to make it as strong and resilient as it can be, you must exercise your mind to ensure it’s equipped to rebound from life’s endless obstacles.

The most successful people are those that don’t allow challenges and setbacks to hold them back; instead, they use these moments as opportunities to propel themselves forward. Whenever they experience something difficult or painful, ultimately they’re able to bounce right back and continue on their journey even stronger than they were before because they’ve cultivated a level of resilience that allows them to do so.

In other words, they’re emotionally fit.

Emotional fitness is your best armor against all of life’s challenges. If you’re emotionally fit, there’s nothing that can throw you off course because you’ve cultivated the inner-strength to block difficulties from infiltrating your mission and affecting your purpose.

And just like its physical counterpart, emotional fitness can be practiced and strengthened over time — it just takes a bit of awareness and dedication.

Whenever you feel your emotions bubbling up — maybe someone cuts you off in traffic, you receive a rejection of some kind or you simply feel exhausted and overwhelmed by life — take yourself through the following steps to strengthen your resilience in much the same way a workout strengthens your body.

Identify the feeling

Ask yourself what you’re really feeling. A lot of times, the first thing we feel is a symptom of a deeper, more difficult feeling we’re avoiding. For instance, we commonly feel anger at the surface when, deep down, we’re actually feeling sad, rejected or lonely. Finding clarity on the true emotion behind your feeling is the first step to overcoming it.

Find gratitude for your emotion

Emotions can be so incredibly uncomfortable that it’s hard to remember that they’re actually there to help. They’re guideposts for life’s trajectory, letting us know what is and isn’t working. Working on developing an appreciation for them, even if they’re making you uncomfortable in the moment, will make you less inclined to avoid them.

Come from a place of curiosity

Rather than avoid or resist the emotion, become empowered by asking yourself questions that will reframe the emotion into a solvable problem: What can I learn from this? How do I want to feel? What would I have to believe to feel that way right now? What am I willing to do about it?

Discover your confidence

Think about a time in the past when you’ve felt similarly sad, defeated or uncomfortable, and managed to overcome it. Tap into that past experience and pull out confidence for the present. If you’ve handled it before, you can handle it again, and you can do so better this time because you already have experience under your belt.

Take action

Now that you’ve crossed over into a place of gratitude, curiosity and confidence, it’s time to take action. Ask yourself what you can do right now to feel the way you want to feel. If your first thought is “Nothing!” ignore it. Keep pushing yourself to find the answer because the answer is always there. And the more you practice, the easier the answers will be to come by.

If you continue practicing these steps each time you experience uncomfortable emotions, you’ll develop a level of resiliency that will buoy you over any obstacle that comes your way and make you totally unstoppable.

Image credit © Michal Bednarek/Bigstock

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