No one wants a painful or difficult life. However, life is not all rainbows and butterflies. Even if we wish for everything to go our way, obstacles will always exist and we will have to deal with them. Loss of a loved one, unemployment, heartbreak, illnesses and family problems at times leave us feeling overwhelmed and lacking the motivation to move on in life.
Think about the last time you experienced a stressful moment. Did it take long to recover? Are you someone who bounces back quickly or falls apart? Do you quit things prematurely, question who you are or avoid conflict? Do you dwell on problems, feel victimized and overwhelmed by adversities of life? If your answer is yes to these questions it can mean you lack mental resilience.
American psychological association defines mental resilience as the ability to cope mentally or emotionally with a crisis or return to pre – crisis status quickly. In simpler terms it means being able to bounce back and grow despite the life’s downturns. It’s important to note that, this is a skill and just like every other, it is learned and takes time and effort to grow. No one is born resilient but rather with the ability to become resilient if provided with the right environment. The experiences we face in life, whether good or bad, shape us and determine to what degree we become resilient, though its often in tough times that we get to find out the true extent of our resilience.
How can lack of mental resilience affect your mental health? This can predispose you to mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety due to the overwhelming stress. In addition, it can also expose you to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse. Therefore, it is important to keep consistently improving your mental resilience. Here are some of the ways to achieve that;
- Practice mindfulness and gratitude
- Nature a positive view of yourself
- Manage negative emotions
- Connect with others
- Practice self-care
- Spend time on things you find meaningful
- Accept that change is part of living
- Maintain a hopeful outlook
- Learn from experience
Always remember that mental resilience is not about pushing yourself till you drop. It’s also not about doing everything alone silently suffering or never asking for help. The main goal is for you to be able to avoid accumulation of stress rather than avoiding stress altogether.
By Martha Matolo
Chiromo Hospital Group