3 Things Emotionally Resilient People Don’t Do

#1: Running away from your emotions

Nick Wignall
6 min readSep 27


Photo by Alexander Stemplewski

Emotional resilience is the ability to tolerate difficult emotions while still acting on your values.

For example:

  • Staying attentive and listening carefully to your partner’s criticism despite feeling hurt and wanting to criticize them back.
  • Sticking to your commitment to avoid desserts for a month despite feeling incredibly stressed and knowing that a pint of ice cream would really feel good right about now.

It’s the opposite of emotional fragility which is when we get hijacked by our painful emotions and end up sabotaging our best intentions:

  • Lashing out with a passive-aggressive comment rather than acknowledge and sitting with your anger.
  • Getting lost in spirals of worry and catastrophizing as soon as you hear a piece of bad news.

If you want to be more emotionally resilient, watch out for these three bad habits keeping you emotionally fragile.

1. Running away from painful emotions

Our natural instinct is to avoid things that cause pain.

For example: If you feel your fingertip burning after touching a hot pan, it makes sense to quickly move your finger off the pan to avoid a serious burn.

But the point of moving your hand off the hot pan isn’t to avoid pain. The goal is to avoid danger — tissue damage, in this case.

Pain is just a messenger telling you to watch out for danger.

This means you don’t want to avoid pain. I mean, just think of how many serious burns you’d have on your fingers if your hands were incapable of sending pain signals to your brain?

This same principle applies to emotional pain…

Just like the pain you feel in your finger when it’s getting burned, emotional pain like anxiety, guilt, or sadness are uncomfortable but not themselves dangerous.

Simple example:

  • You feel fear when a bear is chasing you. Fear is just your brain’s way of trying to help you stay alive and not get mauled to death by the bear. The real…



Nick Wignall

Psychologist and writer sharing practical advice for emotional health and well-being: https://thefriendlymind.com