Developing Resilience

Resilience is the capacity to face significant adversity with positive adaptation. Whereas endurance may be understood as persevering through a painful or difficult time, how creatively and courageously you adapt is what sets resilience apart.

There are many mental health issues that people are facing and experiencing due to the global changes wrought by Covid-19, but also due to the suffering of simply living. The most common mental health issues are:

  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Chronic Stress.
  • Loneliness.
  • Meaninglessness.
  • Worthlessness.

It is very easy to fall prey to any of the above. Some possible warning signs for the mental health issues above are:

  • Poor sleeping patterns​ where you sleep too much (over 9 hours) or too little (less than 7 hours) with lots of disruptions in between. It is important to note however that a small minority of people can survive with less than 7 hours while others need up to 10 hours. It is important to observe yourself and know where you lie. Sleep is hugely important for your memory, immune system, weight gain and overall health.
  • Too much or too little appetite.
  • Loss of perspective:  feeling that life just doesn’t make sense​
  • Loss of sense of humour​: You life is only gloom and doom
  • Black and white thinking: it’s either this or that.​ Unable to realize that life is more of shades of gray than black and white.
  • Irritability​: getting angry easily.
  • Withdrawal​: from people or activities that you previously enjoyed.
  • Feeling fatigued all the time​.
  • Feeling sad or worried often.​
  • Confusion​.
  • Emotional outbursts​.

Certain ‘bad habits’ could be fueling and speeding up mental illness in you. Some of these are:

  • Not enough sleep​
  • Too much caffeine
  • Not drinking enough water​
  • Trying to control everything​
  • Worrying about what you can’t control​
  • Too much negative news​
  • Too much social media/TV​
  • Too much alcohol​
  • Lack of exercise​
  • Overthinking​
  • Perfectionism​
  • Skipping meals​
  • Poor time management or over-scheduling​
  • Not having any downtime​
  • Trying to please everyone​
  • Forecasting too far forward​
  • Extrinsic motivation​

Others which are not habits in themselves could increase one’s chances of getting a mental illness:

  • Puberty​: the changes happening in an adolescent can be overwhelming if not met with understanding. An un-supportive environment such as a dysfunctional family or a lock-down such as the one brought by covid-19 can feel overwhelming.
  • Personality type: people with a neurotic personality tend to ruminate over negative emotions more than other personality types. More women than men have a neurotic personality.

Habits are defined as repeated actions; whether thoughts or deeds. Habits are the building blocks of our character and our character is our destiny both in this world and the afterlife (for religious believers). Preventive habits go a long way in helping you build immunity against mental illness and also manage and overcome mental illness if you are experiencing any. Some of these positive habits are:

  • Breathing exercises​: You can simply focus on your breath and count to seven.
  • Take walks: up the stairs, around your home and especially in nature.
  • Listen to upbeat and uplifting music.
  • Talk to a friend​ or a therapist/counselor.
  • Meditate or practice a variety of mindfulness practices.
  • Pray or engage in a variety of devotions.
  • Keep a note of three good things or experiences you have had per day or at least five per week.
  • Make yourself a cup of your favourite beverage.
  • Enjoy a good long shower/bath or even swimming.
  • Sleep​ enough.
  • Get creative – art, writing, play a musical instrument, sing.
  • Exercise: walk, run, dance, yoga​.
  • Reading​: immerse yourself in a whole new world; learn new skills.
  • Spend time outside​: enjoy a good sun or cool weather without any gadget.
  • Journal: write down the emotions you went through either in the day or from way back in your childhood especially negative emotions. Write and re-write them. If you are afraid someone might get your journal, you can destroy what you have written as soon as you are done. The most important part is you write it.
  • Play a game that you enjoy.
  • Make a vision board​: post images of your 5 year goals: physical, academic, religious spirituality, financial, social, leisure, relationships, family, dream house, dream car, career among others.
  • Clean your room and arrange your wardrobe or where you keep your personal items.
  • Cook or roast something that you enjoy.
  • Be of service to someone: do something nice for a friend of family or do some charitable work.​
  • Have a daily schedule that is flexible but not too flexible. Organize it with activities that you enjoy but also those that bring out the best in you.

I hope you find this article helpful.

Find more resources on resilience and more from: https://positivekenya.wordpress.com

One thought on “Developing Resilience: Resources for Facing Adversity.

  1. Beautiful and enlightening read. Thank you for sharing your gift on living a better healthy life. Blessings to you.

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