4 Ways to Build Mental Resilience

Life may not have a map, but everyone will experience twists and turns, from everyday challenges to traumatic events with more lasting repercussions, such as the death of a loved one, a life-changing accident, or a serious illness. Every change affects people differently and brings with it a unique flood of thoughts, strong emotions, and uncertainty.

Still, people generally adapt well to life-changing situations and stressful situations over time—thanks in part to resilience. Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well to adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress - such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or professional and financial stressors. As much as resilience means “recovering” from those difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth. 

While these adverse events, much like rough river water, are certainly painful and difficult, they don't have to determine the outcome of your life. There are many aspects of your life that you can control, modify, and grow with. That is the role of resilience. Becoming more resilient not only helps you get through difficult circumstances but also empowers you to grow and even improve your life in the process. 

Like building muscle, increasing your resistance takes time and intention. Focusing on four core components – connection, well-being, healthy thinking, and meaning – can empower you to withstand and learn from difficult and traumatic experiences. Use these strategies to increase your resilience to the weather and grow through difficulties. 

Build your connections

Prioritize relationships. Connecting with people who are empathetic and understanding can remind you that you are not alone in the midst of difficulties. Focus on finding trustworthy and compassionate people who will validate your feelings, which supports the capacity for resilience.  

The pain of traumatic events can drive some people to isolate themselves, but it's important to seek help and support from those who care for you. Whether it's going on a weekly date with your spouse or planning lunch with a friend, try to really connect with people who care about you 

Join a group. In addition to personal relationships, some people find that activity in civic groups, faith groups, or other local organizations provides social support and can help them regain hope. Research groups in your area that could offer you support and a sense of purpose or joy when you need it. 

Promote Well-Being 

Take care of your body. Self-care might be a popular buzzword, but it's also a legitimate practice for mental health and building resilience. That's because stress is just as physical as it is emotional. Fostering positive lifestyle factors like proper nutrition, adequate sleep, hydration, and regular exercise can strengthen your body to adapt to stress and lessen the toll of emotions like anxiety or depression

Practice mindfulness. Mindful journaling, yoga, and other spiritual practices like prayer or meditation can also help people build connections and restore hope, which can prepare them to deal with situations that require resilience. When you journal, meditate or pray, reflect on positive aspects of your life and remind yourself of the things you are grateful for, even in personal trials. 

Avoid negative outlets. It may be tempting to cover up your pain with alcohol, drugs, or other substances, but it's like dressing a deep wound. Instead, focus on giving your body resources to deal with stress rather than trying to eliminate the feeling of stress entirely. 

Find Purpose 

Help others. Whether you're volunteering at a local homeless shelter or simply supporting a friend in their own need, you can develop a sense of purpose, boost your self-esteem, connect with others, and provide tangible help to others, which can empower you in terms of resilience grow. 

Be proactive. It's helpful to acknowledge and accept your emotions during difficult times, but it's also important to help you foster self-discovery by asking yourself, "What can I do about a problem in my life?" When the problems seem too big to tackle, break them down into manageable parts. 

For example, if you were fired from work, you may not be able to convince your boss that firing you was a mistake. But you can spend an hour each day developing your greatest strengths or working on your resume. Taking initiative will remind you that even during stressful times in your life, you can find motivation and determination that will make you more likely to get back up during painful times.

Move toward your goals. Develop some realistic goals and regularly do something—even if it seems like a small accomplishment—that puts you in a position to move closer to the things you want to achieve. Instead of focusing on tasks that seem out of reach, ask yourself, "What is one thing I know I can achieve today that will help me go in the direction I want to go?" For example, if you are struggling with the loss of a loved one and want to move forward, you can join a grief support group in your area. 

Look for opportunities for self-discovery. People often find that they have grown in some way as a result of a struggle. For example, people have reported better relationships and a greater sense of strength after tragedy or adversity, even when they felt vulnerable. This can increase their self-esteem and increase their appreciation for life. 

Embrace healthy thoughts 

Keep an eye on things. How you think can play a significant role in how you feel — and how resilient you are when faced with obstacles. Try to identify areas of irrational thinking, such as B. A tendency to catastrophize difficulties or assume the world is after you and adopt a more balanced and realistic thought pattern. 

For example, when you feel overwhelmed by a challenge, remind yourself that what happened to you is not an indicator of how your future will go and that you are not helpless. You may not be able to change a very stressful event, but you can change how you interpret and respond to it. 

Accept change. Accept that change is a part of life. Certain goals or ideals may no longer be attainable due to adverse situations in your life. Accepting circumstances that cannot be changed can help you focus on circumstances that you can change. 

Keep a hopeful outlook. It's hard to be positive when life isn't going the way you want it to. An optimistic attitude empowers you to expect good things to happen to you. Try imagining what you want instead of worrying about what you fear. As you do this, notice any subtle ways that dealing with difficult situations makes you feel better. Learn from your past. By looking back at who or what helped in earlier times of need, you may discover how to respond effectively to new difficult situations. Remind yourself of where you found strength and ask yourself what you learned from those experiences. 

Searching for help 

Getting help when you need it is critical to building your resilience. For many people, using their own resources and the strategies listed above can be enough to build their resilience. But sometimes a person can get stuck or struggle to make progress on the path to resilience. 

A licensed psychiatrist, such as a psychologist, can help people develop an appropriate strategy for how to proceed. It's important to seek professional help when you feel like you're not functioning or performing basic activities of daily living as well as you would like because of a traumatic or other distressing life experience. 

Remember that different people are comfortable with different interaction styles. To get the most out of your therapeutic relationship, you should feel comfortable with a psychotherapist or in a support group. The most important thing is to remember that you are not alone on the journey. 

Even if you are unable to control all of your circumstances, you can grow by focusing on those aspects of life's challenges that you can overcome with the support of loved ones and trusted professionals.