Building mental resilience

Building resilience and wellbeing requires a multi-pronged approach encompassing both physical and mental health. In part 1 of ‘Building resilience during challenging times’ we looked at the physical aspects, in part 2 we look at the psychological tools to help support resilience. 

Here are 3 things to consider when building mental health resilience. 

1. Staying in the moment (AKA Mindfulness)

Our mind is designed to constantly look out for danger. It is continually scanning the environment to look for things that may be putting us in danger and trying to predict what might go wrong in the future. Unfortunately, this can lead to us being persistently worried about all the ‘what-ifs’ (which, let’s face it, hardly ever happen!). This is one of the aspects of anxiety. 

Our minds also tend to repeat past memories which were difficult or traumatic in some way. In turn, this constantly keeps these feelings (and therefore the stress hormones related to them) rotating through our brain and body.

Mindfulness (or being in the moment) is the art of bringing your mind to the here and now, again and again. As soon as you notice your mind wandering, bring it back to the present by focusing on something you can see, hear or touch. Or simply bring your attention back to your breath (again and again). Every Day You has some great meditation and breathing classes which you can do online, check them out here

2. Talking Therapy

Talking therapies, such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) for example, can help you build better coping skills. Therapy can help you see things from a different point of view and alleviate the sentiment that you’re dealing with this alone. It may help you untangle unhelpful thinking styles that have become habitual and unpack some of the constant ‘what if’ thoughts. Sometimes, putting all of this out into the open helps us to realise that we do have the resilience and coping skills to get through  –  even if ‘the worst’ does happen. The most important component of therapy however is the rapport you have with the therapist / person giving you the therapy, so find someone you can relate to and that you are comfortable communicating with. 

3. Visualisation

One of the most beneficial and helpful techniques is to use the power of visualisation. Find some quiet time and space to imagine yourself coping well. Imagine being resilient, feeling resilient, not reacting (or overreacting) when things get tricky, but taking it all in your stride. Even just imagining this can support us to acknowledge that we can actually be this way, and primes us to act and behave as if we already are. The brain is an incredibly powerful tool in supporting us to create the future we want  – and this is one way to tap into it.

This is part 2 of a two part series on Building Resilience During Challenging Times. In Part 1, Helen discusses the physical aspects of resilience, read this article here.

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY Integrative Mental Health & Well-being Coach Helen Duyvestyn. GET TO KNOW Helen AND CHECK OUT HOW YOU CAN WORK WITH HER HERE.

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