• The Third Space

Staying Mental Positive - Resilience Matters.

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term 'mental health' is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder. Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental disorders affect as many as 400million people and account for the loss of over 150million working days each year. Employees with mental health problems are absent from work nearly 8 times longer than those with physical illness.

The world is facing an unprecedented challenge - the COVID-19 pandemic which has swept across the globe, the importance of staying resilient is more important than ever before. Scientists have warned that mental health problem is also expected to rise due to the coronavirus pandemic.

So how do we stay mental positive? One way is to build up our resilience.

Resilience is the process of being able to adapt well and bounce back quickly in times of stress. This stress may manifest as family, relationship, health, workplace or even financial problems to name a few. Developing resilience is important as it can help you to develop mechanisms for protection against experiences which could be overwhelming and it helps you to maintain balance in your lives during difficult or stressful periods. It can also protect you from the development of some mental health difficulties, issues and help you cope adaptively and bounce back after changes, challenges, setbacks, disappointments, and failures. Resilience helps you handle stress in a positive manner.

There is an evolving definition when it comes to resilience. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of trauma or tragedy, threats or other significant sources of stress (Southwick et al., 2014) For example, someone may be very resilient in the workplace but not as resilient in his or her personal life and personal relationships. In other words, the idea of resilience is relative and depends upon the situation.

Type of Resilience

  • Inherent resilience - this is the natural resilience with which we are born. This natural resilience protects us, and informs how we discover and explore the world; learn to play, learn and also to take risks. This sort of natural resilience occurs a great deal within children under the age of about seven, (provided their development was not disrupted and they did not experience any sort of trauma).

  • Adapted resilience - this type of resilience occurs at different points in our lives and is usually brought about through a difficult or challenging experience. Being made redundant, and going out the next day to look for a new job, or the end of a relationship, and finding the strength to, over time, rebuild your sense of confidence to once again meet someone new. Adaptive resilience is resilience which needs to be learnt on the spot and can give us the ability to manage stresses and pain.

  • Learnt resilience - this type of resilience is built up over time, and we learn to activate it through difficult experiences from our past. We learn to know when to draw on it, and to use it during stressful times. It is through this resilience, which we learn, grow and develop our mechanisms for managing, and find ways to draw on strength we did not know we had in times when we need it the most.

Resilience may also change over time depending on your interactions and the environment around you. The more that is learned about resilience, the more potential there is for integrating these concepts into relevant areas of life. Developing resilience is a very personal process. Each of us reacts differently to stress and trauma. Some people bounce back quickly while others tend to take longer. There is no magic formula. What works well for one person may not necessarily work for another, which is one of the biggest reasons to learn multiple techniques for enhancing resilience.