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The Gift of Resilience

Life is unpredictable, but one thing is certain: adversity. We all experience struggles, losses, and grief. Yet people react to adversity in different ways: the same trauma that emotionally scars one person and prevents them from moving forward may lead another to grow, to make a new start.

That inspiring way of adapting to a setback and settling into a new normal is called resilience. Resilience isn’t about ‘bouncing back’ , since life after a ‘bad’ event is never quite the same. Rather, it is about incorporating  that event and beginning a new chapter in life. Resilience helps people find real meaning, even strength, in effectively dealing with adversity.

Resilience isn’t a rare quality. Rather, it’s a process that takes time, and for each person, it unfolds differently. That’s because resilience combines inner and outer resources, like skills, habits, personality traits, beliefs, relationships, and social networks and communities of like minded and/or supportive others. So for one person, resilience might consist of optimism, self-awareness, a love of music, and a circle of friends. Another might draw upon an ambition to achieve and a strong religious faith. Still another may be motivated by a fierce determination to prevent similar tragedies in others’ lives.

 Because resilience has many strands and many pathways, it isn’t just something you’re born with. It’s something you can cultivate, and one of its key components is the skill of emotion management. You can learn to recognize, understand, label, and express emotions in a healthy way—and, importantly, you can learn to shift  emotions and put yourself in a more pleasant or even in a higher-energy state. Managing emotions may be tricky to master, but, like a muscle, it gets stronger with practice.

The new Mood Meter App for iOS is the perfect tool to help you practice self- awareness leading to emotion management and, ultimately, to boost your resilience.

You can check in with the app as often as you like through the day. Each time, the Mood Meter App prompts you to consider what you feel at that moment, then record why you feel that way. It then asks you to decide if you want to stay with your current emotion or shift to a more positive one.

That shift—that decision to self-regulate and energize—is at the heart of emotion management. And emotion management is at the heart of resilience. Here the Mood Meter App helps you shift , when you chose to, with an array of inspiring quotations and photos. You can also build up a personal archive of words and images. that you can draw from, when you want to shift your mood.

To help you gain perspective, the Mood Meter App makes it easy to chart your past feelings, whether it’s just today’s or a week’s worth. To help you label and thereby discriminate one feeling from another, the Mood Meter App helps you enhance your emotion vocabulary. And, since another crucial part of resilience is the support and love of other people, you can share your results.

Life isn’t easy—that’s a given. But the gift of resilience can help anyone make the very best of a bad situation, and that gift is within everyone’s reach.


The Mood Meter App was developed by the authors of this blog in partnership with HopeLab and Reliable Coders.  It is anchored in decades of research on emotional intelligence and was deeply informed by the perspectives of potential users. 


Robin Stern, Ph.D.

Marc Brackett, Ph.D.

Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence


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