Ep. 96 – Emotional Wellbeing: 5 Steps to Building Resilience

Many people in a leadership role are supposed to be helping others be more resilient these days, when they’re struggling themselves. Here we’ll explore a 5-step approach for increasing your emotional wellbeing so you can be a “living bridge of resiliency” for others.    





02:00 – How emotional wellbeing is directly related to resilience         

06:05 – How to transform negative emotions into powerful creativity     

16:45  The downside of not ‘processing’  the hardships of life 

21:00  Why trying to “be happy all the time” will make you far less resilient 




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Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

This is episode 96 –Emotional Wellbeing: 5 Steps to Building Resilience.  Many of us in a leadership role are supposed to be helping others be more resilient these days, when we’re struggling ourselves. Here we’ll explore a 5-step approach for increasing your emotional wellbeing so you can be a “living bridge” for others.  Hi, I’m Carla Rieger and this is the MindStory Speaker podcast.

So many of my clients in leadership roles either in organizations or as experts in their field are flooded with people wanting help to navigate the intense changes happening all over the world.  Yet leaders need to bolster their own resilience first or at least at the same time. So here’s how I’ve been helping my clients, maybe it will be useful for you and those you support. So, at the heart of resilience is emotional wellbeing. And emotional wellbeing often stems from what people say to themselves when faced with life’s challenges. Not always, but more often than you think. It’s the interpretations we give to external reality. A lot of people are going through big transitions right now, just by the very nature of the world situation being so unusual right now. But by transition it could also mean a big change in your health, finances, relationships, living situation, work, travel. Something is going on that you’re not used to, that you don’t like or maybe you do. Regardless, change affects us at the subconscious level, at the survival brain level more than we often realize. The good news is that once you learn how to boost your emotional wellbeing then resilience usually dials up dramatically. Once you have resilience, you’re like a sturdy boat built for stormy seas. You’re not going to capsize, but will navigate the wind and waves with power and balance.

So, what exactly is emotional wellbeing? What does it look like? Let’s start with a comparison. This is what emotional imbalance looks like when going through stormy waters. We’ve probably all been there before. It’s like you are feeling many emotions but don’t know what they are, and you’re trying to suppress those emotions, pretend everything is fine, soldier on through until you hit burnout or do or say something you regret. Then that doubles you down on the bad emotions where you loop on them and fight with yourself trying to make them go away, but the more you resist, the more they persist.

Step 1 is understanding our emotions. We know how to name them, we know how to feel them, we know how to identify them. So if I say to you, “What is your emotion that you’re having right now?” You’d be able to identify it. And the more sophisticated you get in being able to tell the difference between emotions, the more you’re going to be able to create the resilience and the peace of mind that you want. So for example, can you tell the difference between excited, versus anticipatory? And, if I asked  you, and we really knew each other, would you just say… I feel fine, or would you be able to give a more specific description of how you are feeling.  Most people are like I’m fine. That’s all they have. They don’t have any breadth, no diversity to the types of emotions that they’re having, or they just feel bad or they just feel anxious. And a lot of times, anxiety is just the resistance to an underlying emotion.

They’re just not wanting to experience whatever the emotion is so they’re pushing it away and resisting it, which causes a tremendous amount of anxiety and even panic for some people. So the first step is really to be able to understand and identify what is the emotion that you’re having. So think about that for yourself. If you have an underlying anxiety, what might you be in resistance to? Sometimes when you name it, and allow it, the anxiety goes away.  So that brings us to…



The 2nd step, which  is to allow those emotions without fear or resistance. So this is much harder to do than it is to say, because most of us have been trained to fix our emotions or resist them or pretend they’re not there.

So if I feel frustrated, because I don’t know how to make an important business decision moving forward, instead of trying to bully yourself out of feeling frustrated, just feel frustrated. Acknowledge it to yourself, feel that emotion, go on a vigorous walk or run feeling frustrated. It’s totally harmless. Emotions are totally harmless unless you start projecting them out onto others.

We don’t need to fix the feeling, make it go away. It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with us. In fact, it’s part of the human experience. Just imagine a life, a human experience if you didn’t experience frustration. Someone would say to you, “I’m frustrated.” And you’d be like, “I don’t know what that is. I don’t get it.”

Would you feel less of the experience of life? Frustration is part of it. It’s part of the deal. And the bigger the goals, the more important the goals, the bigger your emotions, your positive and your negative emotions, and that’s a beautiful thing. That’s not a terrible thing. That’s a beautiful wonderful expression of the unique experience of being a human, painting with all the colors on your artist’s pallet…the greens, the greys, the reds, the blacks. Just allowing them to be there. So what does it look like to allow an emotion? How do you know when you’re doing it? It doesn’t have to mean jumping for joy, or pounding a pillow in frustration. It could be sitting in a meeting and allowing yourself to not say anything but to feel annoyed that some people are late. It’s okay that you’re annoyed. Everyone else is waiting, breathe in the acceptance of your annoyance, and breathe it out.  Do you feel like staying in bed all day and not having to work? It’s okay. Allow yourself to feel that way, without reacting to it. We’re used to reacting to our negative emotions, judging the feeling, scolding ourselves.  We have an emotional urge to zone out by watching shows or overeating or smoking or getting lost on social media. Just feel the restlessness, allow yourself to feel anxious without reacting to it, without resisting it, without eating it.  It’s key is to separate the feeling from your reaction to the feeling. I’m frustrated by my life situation and I’m judging myself for feeling frustrated. Two different things. Of course, when you judge yourself, it often activates other emotions such as sadness or hurt. It becomes like an old parent-child relationship that never got resolved.

The third step is not looping on a camouflage emotion. The irony is that often when you judge yourself about having an emotion it starts to resist which grows it. But instead of dealing with the real issue, there’s a surface emotion that you get stuck on that takes off a little bit of the pressure. You know how normally cordial people will spew curse words at other drivers in a furious voice? So, overwhelm, anxiety, impatience or annoyance are often a surface emotion covering up something deeper. You’re not really dealing with the real issue, so you’re stuck in a spin with the camouflage emotion. But often you don’t even know that you’re owned by a camouflage emotion. It’s usually someone else who points out that you’re more short tempered lately, or you notice you’re not sleeping well, or you’re pessimistic, overly critical of others, or just looking at the glass as half empty on everything. You know, like you see a show you used to love, and now everything about it annoys you. Or you notice that everyone you live with is purposely trying to make your life miserable by their annoying behaviour. Or, you have a knot in your stomach or a really painful low back, or the arthritis is acting up. All of those so called physical issues are often caused by looping emotions.

We live in a dualistic reality. Have you ever gone through a period of your life when you were happy and fulfilled all the time for long periods of time? Even during what you might call your best years, your happiest years, chances are, you had bad days. It’s just part of life. It’s the contrast of the good days against the bad ones that makes you relish them so much. For example, I grew up in one of the rainiest parts of the planet. I always dreamed of living somewhere more sunny. I finally moved to a sunny part of the world, where literally there were only a few days of rain a year. Guess what I got bored of it after a while. I wanted the rain.

So, if part of life is about the rain, the clouds, the hard challenges, the negative emotions – you could spend a lot of life force energy on trying to get away from it, negate it, suppress it…or you could use it as fuel for growth, to create something with it.  What do I mean by that? I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage – Necessity is the Mother of Invention. All great inventions, great songs, works of art, plays, books, businesses, systems, living situations…anything that had to be creatively manifested…usually was seeded by hardship, pain, challenge. Think of anything in your life that you created that you really love, whether it’s a child, a business, a relationship, a healthy body, a creative work…probably a big motivator for its existence was a huge dissatisfaction, a hardship, a huge longing…and chances are you went through hell at times to get it to where it is now.

If you were always satisfied, things were easy, you probably wouldn’t create anything. You’d just float along. Nothing wrong with that. But I think we come into this life because deep down, at maybe the soul level, we want the adventure, the challenge, to test ourselves, to become more.  So anytime there’s dissatisfaction, a hardship, a huge longing for something else…that’s your soul calling for you to get creative again.  Those negative emotions then are creative fuel, the oil for your engine. If you look at them, identify them, feel them, learn from them, and process them…you are creatively unfolding your life. You are the lotus rising from the mud.

The 4th step is your willingness to feel into the future which is opposite of hiding or clutching onto the past. When we can’t identify our emotions or negate them or loop on camouflage emotions we’re hiding from the gift that lies on the other side of processing and burning the fuel of those emotions. We’re hiding from the great future that awaits us.  So when we hide from our lives, we don’t set big goals for ourselves. We don’t pursue anything we want because we don’t want to process the old emotion. You know it’s like at the end of summer you have to pull out the dead plants and leaves, put them in the compost, let them feed the soil for the next harvest?

But when we say, “I am willing to go explore this new direction…” knowing it might mean excitement, and adventure, but it also might mean rejected or failure or fear or pain or humiliation or loss if it doesn’t work out, when you say…that’s okay, I’m open to the full human experience of life, that’s when you know you have emotional wellbeing coming back. When you remember that we ALL deal with that stuff – the full spectrum of emotions – then it’s not so much something to resist but to embrace.  Because the opposite is hiding, and then you miss out on the adventure of being alive and people miss out on your unique contributions to the world, even if they end up being only half baked. Because those who are out there on the playing field at least trying are moving humanity forward regardless of whether they do a touch down.

When we pursue things that help our entire human race evolve beyond where we currently are, that’s when we feel the creative burn, the old sheds away and gives way to a Spring of Renewal. And often the reason we’re not pursuing our dreams, the reason we’re not going after what we truly want is because we don’t want to feel bad when we don’t get it. But if you think about it, you already don’t have it. You already feel bad because you haven’t created it. You might as well try. You might as well become the person that you want to be, fully alive, fully human, experiencing everything.

And the 5th step is, you manufacture emotion on purpose. So as a reminder, Step 1 is understanding and identifying your emotions. Step 2 is you allow them to be there. Step 3 is you get below the camouflage emotions. So what that means is you experience the camouflage emotion without reacting to it, nor succumbing to it and you don’t blame it on anybody else. That tends to reveal the real emotions that need processing. It’s almost like you digest it. If you ever have indigestion, it’s often because you’re not processing an important emotion or 3. You understand that  – this too shall pass – there is a beginning, middle, and an end to it. It isn’t going to overtake your life, if you face it head on, like the quintessential hero facing the dragon to rescue the maiden. That maiden is your creative life waiting for you to help it get free. And Step 4 is then embracing your creative future.

So Step 5, which is creating emotion on purpose, means that you understand that you are the person who generates all your emotions. They don’t jump on you and victimize you. At some level, conscious or unconscious, you chose them. You generate most of those emotion by what you think. And so you can generate the emotion that you most want by choosing different thoughts, which usually creates more positive results in your life.

I will say that often when we get to Step 5 my clients say to me “Wait a minute, if my thoughts cause my feelings, then I should just think happy thoughts, so I can be happy all the time.”  Now I’ve talked about this on other episodes. Remember that you signed up for the human experience. So, ask yourself that question. Do you want to be a person that’s just happy all of the time? “I’m just happy about everything. My child got very ill, I’m happy about that. I lost all my money in a bad investment, I’m happy about that.” Why do we tell ourselves that’s what we want? We don’t want that. We want the full experience of life. There’s terrible things that happen in our life and in the world.

We all know this, and yet we have children and we bring them into the world knowing that they are going to have pain, knowing that they’re going to experience frustration and heartbreak and despair. So, when we can embrace the tough emotional situations we find ourselves and others in, that’s when we get some authority over our life. That’s when we start activating our creativity and empathy and compassion and love and wisdom and resilience in life. People who want to hide from the hardships of life and just try to be happy when that’s really quite impossible, don’t tend to be creative, empathic, compassionate, loving, wise and resilient.

Ironically, when you can face the tough parts of life with an open heart, you start feeling more alive. And I think that’s what we’re really searching for, not happiness, but aliveness. At the end of your life, did you really live, did you choose to face life and be all you could be or did you shrink from it over and over again.

On our deathbed, it’s those moments when we said YES to life, those touching moments, those meaningful moments, that deep love, even the heartbreak, the experiences we say we’d do again – are the ones that matter. The regrets almost always come from holding back, holding on, staying safe. So think about that now in your life so far. Say today is your last day. What would you do all over again, go through the heartbreak all over again just to have experienced what it means to be alive.

So in Step 5 you create the thoughts that help you feel whatever you want to feel like say motivation, boldness, energy, love, creative inspiration. You write those thoughts down, you mull on them, you water them, give them sunshine and then they grow.

So, these are the skills that people learn in our coaching programs like private coaching, or our MindStory Inner Circle or the Experts who are wanting to apply the MindStory Method to their business. It does take regular skillbuilding to have emotional wellbeing and resilience, but people who have it are of immense help in the world. They are the most indispensable people in any group or industry or society.


That’s it for today. Do check out our book MindStory Inner Coach for more background on how to do these 5 steps by going to MindStoryAcademy.com.  And, if you’re interested in exploring how to install the MindStory Method into your business, or starting a business discovering and sharing your expertise with the world using the MindStory Method, just go to MindStoryAcademy.com backslash MSC dash intro https://mindstoryacademy.com/MSC-intro/. Or look for the link in the shownotes.

And hit subscribe if you want to hear about other episodes coming up, which you can do on our website MindStoryAcademy.com\podcast. https://mindstoryacademy.com/Podcast  That link is also in the shownotes. See you next time.


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