Psychological Health Is Extra Vital Than Resilience

Julia Wuench

Julia Wuench

Resilience or recovery from adversity is a critical skill for wellbeing. Google searches for the word “resilience” spiked in mid-2020, likely a consequence of the pandemic. We all had problems and needed strategies to deal with negative emotions.

But there is something more powerful than resilience. It’s called mental fitness.

Mental fitness is more of a proactive than a reactive approach to dealing with life’s adversities.

What if we thought of our brains as muscles to take to the gym instead of responding effectively to bad things? Daily to strengthen mental strength? Think about it like this. If someone says, “You have to be able to do a handstand in a year,” would you wait 365 days and then just do your best? Absolutely not. Most of us wouldn’t be successful if we just spurred it on. To be successful, you would exercise every day and build your muscles, lift weights, and do wall handstands. With regular practice, your probability of success increases exponentially. When we think of our brain as a muscle for strengthening, we can face life’s challenges with a more positive, proactive mindset.

How to increase your mental fitness:

1. When you feel something negative, stop and label that emotion.

So if you have a difficult conversation with a coworker, for example, and suddenly chest tightness floods in, then stop. Ask yourself, “What am I feeling and where is it in my body?” You may feel anxious, and it may be in your stomach or chest. Tagging makes you an observer of these negative emotions and therefore is more removed from them.

2. Engage in mini mindfulness.

You don’t have to go into a dark room and chant “Om” for 30 minutes to have a fruitful mindfulness session. Focus on your breathing and body for just a few seconds to lower cortisol and adrenaline levels. Try out apps like Calm, Positive Intelligence or Headspace.

3. Recreate the situation.

After studying mini-mindfulness, ask yourself: What are some potential gifts in this situation? You may also ask why could this happen to me? Brainstorm some answers. Even a simple answer like, “Well, I can laugh about it with my friends later!” Is a very useful gift. Reframing will change your thinking and make you feel easier and less controlled by your negative emotions.

The trick to building mental fitness is this: Don’t just practice these three steps in bad situations. Practice in neutral or slightly uncomfortable situations every day to build your neural muscles. Then when it’s time to do the labor dispute equivalent of a handstand, you’ll be ready.

Comments are closed.