Thursday, July 02, 2015

Young People and Emotional Resilience

It is stated that resilient young people are considerably more responsive (and can elicit more positive responses from others), are more active, more flexible and adaptable - you no doubt will have seen this even in infants. 

Imagine being able to guide a young person in how to overcome challenges and adversity, to stay in control even when events go off track, to reach out for new opportunities and experiences even against all the odds.

That is what I call the emotional capital within any young person!

Having the ability to development the inner resources to charter a route through any future tough times, and not seek out best practice sentiments and advice of others is invaluable. We are removing any false expectation that resilience comes to us in a sachet, or is created from reading someone's autobiography. 

For me the great news, and why I do what I do, is that there is finally a momentum behind the drive to use emotional intelligence to systematically develop the emotional resiliency of young people. A push to now better equip and empower them for their future lives.... something I wish I had be given access to whilst growing up and something I began developing in my daughter very early on. 

Misunderstanding of Resilience

Who really can explain resilience? Well I have noticed of late so many adults who are working with young people, who really don't understand the importance or the structure of emotional resilience. They are unaware that when you mix emotions with learnt behaviour, an established world-view and any ingrained prejudices, you have a heady cocktail which determines a young person's resilience.

I say often that without the firm foundations of an emotional understanding it is not possible to develop any form of self-sustaining resilience with young people - I know as I was a very troubled young person myself once.  

I have met or watched so many parents and guardians, who have the view that resiliency is down to your biology, that your genes determine in some way how resilient you are because it "runs in the family". 

Insight & Tactics: Building Emotional Resilience 

The psychology of change suggests that you need to first give the Insightand then provide the Tactics.

Well let's start with the Insight:

To be given a look inside yourself, to recognise and measure your emotions, understand how well you are fostering relationships, how well you interact with others and how you cope with the outside world, is one of the most enlightening experiences ever. Upon this, you can build a skyscraper!

This is actually called Emotional Intelligence.

Once you show a young person how it is they operate on an emotional level, you can then work with them to develop their emotional repertoire for real-life. You are giving them their own building blocks to become more resilient (they can even know when they are, or are not, being resilient too by the way). 

Next the Tactics:

The importance of developing emotional intelligence in young people, especially in this very fast paced, aggressive and highly opinionated world we live it, is that it helps them better establish themselves and construct an operating model of their inner, other and outer emotional dynamics.

This use of a model helps them understand how to cope at school (perhaps making a painful transition), in the community (perhaps navigating temptations or difficulty) and in the home (making sense of life in the house and the tsunami of emotions that hit them). It empowers them with the ability to positively control their emotions and also life around them - to make sense of it all. 

As they develop over time, we can measure emotional development against real-life encounters, and can guide them to adjust their levels of emotional capital to feel more motivated - something many adults desire above all else today and it is this desire drives-up self-help book sales!    

Resilience is a Product of Emotional Intelligence

In short, mainstream corporate use of emotional intelligence today owes thanks to the translation of it for us by Daniel Goleman; he published a ground-breaking book called Working with Emotional Intelligence in 1998. Daniel developed the argument that non-cognitive skills can matter as much as I.Q. for workplace and life success. His book challenged everything which was assumed by the scientists relating to the use of emotional intelligence. 

He told us that there is actually a structure to it all, he boiled-down everything into just 10 core emotional competencies, which actually fit into a social emotional model and it is this which determines true engagement with yourself, others and the wider world. He suggested that we have a very clear definition and development structure for building the skills to make powerful change in leadership and education.

His book is now a world best seller, globally adopted for business and leadership, and has led the way for the creation of more than 120 scholastic papers, and work studies the world over.

Building Resilience within UK Communities

To build resilience we need to nurture individual capability, and also provide a local support network of emotional intelligence competency to support the building of measureable emotional capital.

By helping to build wide competency in emotional intelligence, young people can then be helped to become responsive, active, flexible and adaptable adults in the future. 

Jay Baughan
International Social Impact Leader | Emotional Development & Resilience Specialist | Speaker