Defined as “the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly”, mental resilience is generally understood as being able to deal with the stresses that life throws at us without cracking under pressure.
In a society where mental health and daily anxiety is at an all-time high, developing better mental resilience is something that we can all benefit from. So, look no further as here are 7 practical ways that you can start building your mental resilience… today!
View Your Emotions from a Different Angle
When we are stressed out, it is very easy for our emotions to get on top of us. But negative emotions do not always have to manifest as negativity in our lives and can instead be used to fuel positive behavior’s. For example, fear can be a crippling feeling. But rather than being paralyzed by fear, it can be an opportunity to challenge yourself and make you more careful with the decisions you make. By taking a minute to separate yourself from negative thoughts, you can change your thinking in stressful situations and take charge of your emotions.
Try Something New
Though this sounds like it would increase stress, doing something new has actually been found to increase confidence. This is because new experiences allow us to learn more about ourselves and shifts our mindset as we recognise how capable we are of adapting to new situations. From learning a new skill to taking a new route to work, trying something different allows us to develop a growth mindset – and this can develop mental resilience over time.
Look After Yourself Physically
Taking care of your physical health has long been known to make you feel better mentally. Making sure that you get enough sleep is something that many of us do not prioritise, but a lack of sleep can worsen mental health and increase stress and anxiety levels. This goes hand-in-hand with eating healthily and increasing your physical activity. Exercise has been linked to better self-esteem and better sleep, so looking after yourself physically creates the foundation for better mental health and resilience.
Modern society has long been encouraging productivity and working longer hours, but this mentality can actually be counterproductive. Taking breaks from work and life in general can be very beneficial for building mental resilience as it gives us a chance to step back and take ourselves away from the stress of life for a moment. Whether this be taking a short holiday or just taking a day off, breaks allow us to regain energy and view life’s problems with a calmer frame of mind.
Build a Support Group
As humans, we are naturally social creatures, so building mental resilience does not mean we have to carry the burden of our problems alone. Having a network of loved ones to speak to can be extremely therapeutic as it has been proven to reduce both physical and emotional stress. Other people can present a different perspective and find a new way to deal with problems that you may not have thought of yourself. However, if you don’t want to share your problems with others, writing down your thoughts and feeling can provide a similar amount of stress relief as talking it out.
Think More Positively
As cliché as it sounds, actively thinking more positively can increase your mental resilience. What you focus is on is what you will notice, so focusing on the negativity in situations draws our attention to the bad things happening in every aspect of our lives. Instead, focusing on the positive in situations means we notice more of the positive things going on around us. Practical ways to begin changing your mindset is through visualisation and affirmations. This is essentially a placebo effect – the more positively you think, the more positive you feel!
Set Achievable Goals
Goal setting has been found to not only increase productivity but can actually help develop mental resilience. Breaking down daily tasks into do-able targets helps us maintain focus on what needs to be done and being able to cross off goals can build confidence in our own abilities. This develops mental resilience as knowing that you have achieved goals in the past keeps us motivated to continue to do so. So, start off by writing a short to-do list of things that need to be done for the day, and see how much better you feel when you complete everything on that list!