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Mental resilience is the ability to adapt to change, stressful situations, everyday problems, traumatic events and other types of adversity.
Strengthening mental resilience is a good place to start if you’d like to be a healthier you. It can help you adapt and respond when things go wrong. This inner strength can help you bounce back, rather than become totally overwhelmed. And it can be used for a range of setbacks, from sickness and loss to natural disasters.
Beyond adapting to hardship, resilience can help you build better mental health.
Resilience can help improve your ability to cope with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help you better manage factors that increase the risk of mental health conditions. “If you have an existing mental health condition, being resilient can improve your coping ability,” says the Mayo Clinic.
There are many ways to build and maintain resilience.
Taking small steps can sometimes make it simpler to get started. Mental Health America offers 31 simple ways to boost your mental health. You can do one per day. Among the ideas:
Being able to relax can help slow down your breathing, lower your blood pressure, and cut muscle tension and stress, says the National Library of Medicine. You can try progressive relaxation. That’s where you tighten and relax different muscle groups, sometimes combined with breathing exercises. Learning to focus on positive images in your mind is one more step you can take. Deep breathing exercises can also be helpful.
The whole family can benefit from more resilience. Children often struggle during times of great change, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, says the American Academy of Pediatrics. But that also makes it a good time to build up relationships and model ways to handle feelings.
Children and teens can better deal with school and other stress with these tips from the American Psychological Association. Have them try to:
Reach out if you are struggling with your mental health. Talk to your doctor or other health care providers. They may be able to help or suggest you see a mental health professional.
Originally published 12/6/2021; Revised 2023
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