When the going gets tough, the tough gets going! Staying mentally fit allows us to stand strong and not waver when times get tough. Having good mental well-being is not about being positive all the time and avoiding our problems, but about living and coping well despite the challenges we may face. It's all about boosting our mental resilience.
What makes one resilient?
Think of resilience as a form of emotional and mental fitness against life stressors. Intense stress can test or even overwhelm us. Instead of allowing difficulties to drain their resolve, highly resilient people find a way to recover, switch course, and continue moving toward their goals.
Many factors — such as our genetics, earliest life experiences, how we regulate our emotions — can give us a clue into how well we cope. Some of these, unfortunately, cannot be modified. However, we can pick up various tools to build up the resilience to navigate life's volatility.
Learning to be resilient
So how do we go about building our resilience? Here's a few steps we can take to boost your mental strength!
1. Master the art of reframing
When we reframe adversity, we develop the flexibility needed to deal with, move on, and grow from it. Learn to challenge your thoughts and assumptions, and break out of a negative thought cycle. Ask yourself: Are you basing your thoughts on facts or purely based on how you feel? Are these thoughts useful for growth and improvement? What is another way to interpret the same events in a more positive manner?
Replacing negative thoughts with more realistic statements — ones that are grounded in facts — can inspire you to take positive action. When reframed, stressful events can be good learning experiences that challenge us to grow!
2. Take care of your body
Your physical health has an undeniable impact on your mental health. When we take care of our bodies, we reap the benefits from inside and out! Adopting healthy habits such as getting enough quality sleep, eating well and getting regular exercise can boost your mood, and fight back against stress.
3. Build a solid support system
Create a support system that you can speak to and draw strength from in times of need. Unsurprisingly, having a group of family and friends to lean on is going to be an incredible source of comfort in times of stress. Having someone to lean on gives us a sense of emotional security, and certainly increases our ability to cope with stress!
4. Adopt an attitude of gratitude
Create a gratitude routine. Practicing gratitude can help reduce anxious feelings and propel us to embody a more positive outlook on life. Start and end your day with a reflective sentence on 'what went well'. Alternatively, keep a gratitude journal. Noting down what you are grateful for each day leads you to actively think positively, allowing you to better internalise your gratitude!
To sum it up
Attempting to effort to build and maintain your mental fitness can give your mental health the overhaul it needs to fight back against the emotional punches life throws at us!
This article is contributed by AIA Vitality's nutrition partner, Holmusk.
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