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.
According to Shing (2016), one major factor that contributes to resilience is the experience of harnessing positive emotions, even in the midst of an especially trying or stressful time. Positive emotions help you build up social, psychological, and physical resources over time, which could help you develop coping skills during future times of stress.
Here are some positive behavior and activities which boost resilience.
1. Viewing setbacks as impermanent.
2. Reframing setbacks as opportunities for growth.
3. Recognizing cognitive distortions as false beliefs.
4. Managing strong emotions and impulses.
5. Focusing on events you can control.
6. Not seeing yourself as a victim.
7. Committing to all aspects of your life.
8. Having a positive outlook on the future and developing a growth mindset.
1. Speak with someone you can trust. Have a meaningful and honest conversation.
2. Learn something new and seek various sources of inspiration.
3. Allow yourself to express and feel your emotions. Sometimes having a good cry can be emotionally cleansing.
4. Remembering a time when you felt resilient in the past. Tap into what allowed you to find a sense of courage, strength, and hardiness.
5. Take some time off to recharge. Unplug the electronic devices and give yourself a moment to rest and reflect.
6. Think of someone who exudes resiliency and model his or her behavior.
7. Go within and connect with your higher power through meditation or prayer.
8. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can help you feel better about where you are on this journey.
9. Reconnect with others and help build their resiliency.
10. Be kind to yourself. Have some compassion and ease up on your expectations.
11. Listen to empowering music.
12. Take some deep breaths. Breathing deeply is very healing and cleansing.
13. Take some inspired action such as doing one small thing to help you move forward.
14. Practice mindfulness in your day-to-day life. The more you practice being in the moment the happier and more joyful you will feel.
15. Take a walk and get moving. Exercise and movement such as Yoga can help increase your energy level, and release endorphins into your system. Try some Yoga pose which generate strength, focus, empower such as Tadasana, (Mountain Pose), Virabhadrasana Warrior II, Garudasana (eagle pose) and Natarajasana (dancer pose)
16. Essential oil therapy can also supplement stress relief. Essential oils that are high in linalool have been shown to help relax smooth muscles in the body and reduce sad and anxious feelings. To combat stress, use Petit grain, Lavender, Clary Sage, Basil, Cilantro, and Coriander.
Building resilience can dramatically improve your quality of life and long-term health. The moment you start believing that you can bounce back is the same moment things will start going your way. Your belief is everything! You are the master of your emotions, they are not the master of you. This is the process of self mastery, use this approach daily.
Stay healthy, Stay Strong, Stay Safe!
What are some of the ways that you’re helping to maintain and build your resilience during this time of crisis?