BEING RESILIENT IN CHALLENGING TIMES
The COVID-19 pandemic we are currently experiencing has presented a challenge to individuals that, for the most part, few of us have experienced before. How we bounce back from the challenge will depend on our resiliency. Resiliency in positive psychology refers to how well equipped are you to handle the challenges the world throws at you. You probably know people that when faced with a challenge, they might get knocked down, but are able to bounce back even stronger than before. People who are resilient have what is called “psychological hardiness” or “capital” or “grit”.
They are able to work through challenges by using their personal resources and are able to persevere in time.
Your level of resilience begins with the environment you grew up in and parenting style. However, don’t let a less than ideal childhood be an obstacle to your ability to becoming more resilient; it’s a learning process, not a personality trait. Some things to consider when thinking about your own resiliency.
CONNECTIONS WITH OTHERS
Strong personal connections provide us with a place we can turn to for help in times of need. It’s our network of family and friends who we know we can count on, no matter what. During the pandemic, we are being asked to stay in our homes and avoid get togethers. You can still maintain connections via social media, phone and talking to your neighbour across the street. Social networking opportunities can be a source of support, and I encourage you to choose your online networks safely and wisely.
MANAGE YOUR EMOTIONS
Emotions are an important part of who we are. They can prompt us to act; they can also tell us to slow down. Being able to regulate your emotions, as well as your thoughts are paramount to resilience. In the last blog, I talked about how our thoughts can affect our mood and behaviours. Emotion regulation refers to being able to manage and respond effectively to an emotional experience.
Just as our thoughts can take us down the rabbit hole, so can our emotions. The most helpful step to emotion regulation is to pause between the emotion and the response. This takes practice and begins with awareness. Can you identify the emotion when you are feeling bad? Are you sad? Angry? Happy? Once you have determined what it is you are feeling, you can cognitively look at the situation. What was the trigger for the emotional response? For example, there is a difference between “Things will never get better” to “Things are bad right now”. The first example can lead toward more worry thoughts. The second example acknowledges the situation and does not make a prediction. Remaining focused in the moment, doing what you can do in the moment will go a long way toward managing your emotions.
Mental agility refers to being able to look at a problem from different angles and be open to other points of view. It means looking at each situation as if it were entirely new, this way you can avoid making assumptions and falling into the trap of “it’s always been done this way”. This can be a big benefit, especially during times of uncertainty, and when information changes seemingly by the minute.
Some ways you can increase your mental agility – read more, exercise regularly, learn something new, do puzzles.
Remember, resilience is something you can learn and improve on. Like building muscle, it takes time and effort.
Find out more about the mental health support and psychotherapy treatments offered at Renew Neurotherapy
DON’T FORGET – During this time, we are still able to offer support via Online Therapy.