The past few years have tested the human spirit in more ways than one. From the global pandemic to widespread flooding, communities across Australia have banded together to support each other through these challenging times.
We recently spoke to EPIC Mental Health Consultant Alison Lowe about building resilience. She explains how focusing on opportunities, rather than problems, can shift our mindset and help us overcome adversity.
From the moment we are born, we all have to navigate our own way through life’s challenges, roadblocks, and unexpected detours. You may be wondering why some people seem to be able to navigate these situations more easily. One answer may be their level of resilience.
Resilience is the ability to recover from and/or adapt to adversity. It is an active process that is not about denying setbacks or challenges. Instead, it involves using available resources, strengths, and skills to work through the situation.
Focusing too much on what you can’t control is disempowering. Resilience is the cure for this by helping you to shift your focus away from the problem and towards the opportunities created. This is where resilience becomes an attitude.
A fundamental aspect of this is belief that you have some personal control. How do you shift focus in the face of unexpected setbacks? This starts with how you explain the situation to yourself.
According to Martin Seligman (a prominent psychologist), resilience is based on our belief in the following:
- adversity is temporary: this challenge will pass
- local: this challenge is not affecting every aspect of my life
- changeable: I can make changes to get back on track
So, how can you improve your resilience? According to Australian Health Direct, some ways to strengthen your resilience are:
- knowing your strengths and keeping them in mind
- building your self-esteem — have confidence in your abilities and the positive things in life
- building healthy relationships
- knowing when to ask for help
- managing stress and anxiety levels
- working on problem solving skills and coping strategies
By actively investing in your physical wellbeing, you will also be improving your resilience. It is easier to setup these habits when things are going well. A useful tool for this is Beyond Blue’s Wellbeing Plan Template, which can be used to help you identify possible stressors and different ways of addressing them.
Another way to actively improve your resilience is to learn how to make every day meaningful.
According to the Head to Health Australia website, meaningful activities “make you feel like a contributor, build your sense of self-worth, and give you satisfaction and meaning, and they are vital to everyone’s wellbeing.”
As stated at the beginning, we all face setbacks and challenges, and how we frame the situation in our own minds pays a part in how quickly and effectively recover.
Resilience helps to shift our thinking that adversity equals failure to adversity can be worked through. Since this is not an automatic process, it requires some pre-planning and practice. Two useful ways to help you in the process are: changing they way to explain adversity to yourself and taking steps to make every day meaningful.
About Mental Health Month
Mental Health Month is acknowledged in October across Australia and incorporates World Mental Health Day, held globally on 10th October. The overall objective of World Mental Health Day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and to mobilise efforts in support of mental health. The theme for 2021 is Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality.
Mental Health Support
If you’re looking for mental health support, call: