Why nurturing mental health can boost resilience
Our mental health influences our thoughts and behaviour in our day to day life. It also impacts our ability to cope with stress, build relationships, and recover from life’s lows and challenges.
Being mentally healthy doesn’t imply that you are never exposed to bad times or experience emotional set-backs. All of us go through disappointments, loss, and change. Although these are normal occurrences in our life, they can be a source of sorrow, anxiety, and stress. But just the way physically healthy people are better equipped to recover from illness or injury, people with robust mental health are in a better position to bounce back from difficult times. This ability is called resilience.
Resilience refers to the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or even significant sources of stress according to the American Psychological Association (2014).
Mentally resilient people possess the skills for coping with difficult situations and remaining positive in their approach towards life. They tend to be focused, flexible, and productive, in good and bad times, both. Their resilience also induces a fearlessness towards changes and uncertainties. They remain patient even when they know that a problem might not get resolved immediately but in time a solution can be derived for the same.
We often assume that a person’s resilience is a direct reflection of their mental health. How effectively an individual adapts to their experience of adversity is normally used as a common parameter for us to judge their mental wellbeing.
For instance, our ability to navigate even the most stressful situations of our lives, with an attitude to integrate our losses, failures and disappointments into experiences is informed and influenced by resilience. The WHO report on Mental Health, resilience, and inequalities, by Dr Lynne Friedli, suggests that psychological assets do confer resilience and protection and do so at both an individual and an ecological level.
Strong mental health doesn’t mean that you’re free of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy has more to do than not being afflicted by depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Mental health refers to the positive characteristics within us rather than the absence of mental illness.
But nurturing mental health does go a long way in building resilience. Nowadays various forms of therapies, meditation, and stress releasing activities are designed specifically for this purpose. The more you get connected to your inner self, the more you understand your strengths and weaknesses, which further helps you on working on them in an effective manner. In due course of time, the result reflects positively in your resilience power.