Building Resilience

Sad and mournful experiences are a part of life. But, some people seem to give up, and sink into despair and clinical depression.  Conversely, others have the ability to get on with life, and put one foot in front of the other, until the pain dulls or life gets betters.  So, what makes the difference? I reality, individuals need to learn coping skills to get through the tough times.  Mental health and resilienceare partners in boosting the human spirit.

In part one, 6 ways to help build resilience are discussed.  In part 2, 6 more ideas are presented to assist individuals in finding ways to escape pain and sorrow, and have the strength to continue living life-not just existing.  While all 12 ways may not work for everyone, several of the ideas should serve to exercise resilience of spirit.

  • Journal

Some people write self-help books to relate their experiences and potentially help someone else in the process.  However, not everyone wants to share their deepest thoughts and emotions.  But, most people can journal.  Not only is it cathartic to put it down on paper, it provides a source to look back, recognize patterns or see how a situation was handled.  It can help build resilience.

  • Changes

Changes are a normal part of life.  In many cases, it is a part of growth and actually good for those concerned.  But, some people have difficulty accepting the smallest change.  So, when something happens, mental health is challenged, devastating an individual.  Therefore, a good coping skill is to expect change, and be ready to accept different aspects of life.

  • Have Goals

Everyone should have both short-term and long-term goals.  What should be accomplished today, this week, this month, or within the next six months? Whether it is related to work, hobbies, or some other aspect of life, it really does not matter.  The point is having something to strive toward.  Then, when negative things happen, people keep going, because goals give purpose.

  • Do not Dwell

Many people make the mistake of thinking about problems all of the time. Concentration is spent on everything wrong.  Then, it is a slippery slope toward clinical depression.

Instead, it is better to make the choice to do something about problems. For those individuals suffering the loss of a loved one, a reasonable period of mourning is to be expected.  But, the time comes to start living again.

It is time to take action.  Delve into work, a hobby, a distracting activity.  Do something to alter thinking and divert the mind for a while.  (The same can be said for any life experience that requires a person to be resilient.)

  • Keep Perspective

Even when life it at its absolute worst, it will not stay that way.  Life moves on and changes all of the time.  Therefore, look at life as a whole.  Recognize that good and bad times affect everyone.  Today may be the worst day in remembrance; but, what about tomorrow?

Death is usually the most devastating example, because it is so final.  But, consider the following example.  A woman loses her husband of 40 years.  Of course, she is devastated.  But, she realizes that death is a part of life, and she must go on for herself and her family.

Likewise, a man loses his wife to cancer, after over 50 years of marriage.  All through her illness, he is certain that a miracle will be discovered, restoring her health.  It never happens.

Both of these people have the best excuse for giving up and sinking into clinical depression.  But, each chooses to keep on getting up in the morning, and living despite the circumstances.  Today, those two people have met and married each other.

No, the pain of losing a spouse never really goes away.  But, keeping perspective allows people to move forward, regardless of the negative life-changing event.  Today may be awful; but, tomorrow still holds promise.

  • Manage Stress

When the pressures of life feel like they are about to get out of control, it is time to manage stress.  Whether it is yoga, meditation, prayer, relaxation, visualization, or other calming techniques, people need to take a breather and get emotions under control.  The activity that works for one individual may not work for another.  But, taking time to relax and breath is key to developing resilience and maintaining mental health.

In conclusion, life is full of good and bad times. Death, divorce, disaster, and more can devastate people and cause a mental disorder like clinical depression.  Conversely, others seem to be able to force themselves right back into life, and maintain a more hopeful outlook for the future.  The difference is resilience.  So, for better mental health, use these twelve coping skills to stay healthy in mind and body, even when life is the pits.

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