Over the last few years, we’ve been severely challenged as a global society. While living through fear and uncertainty, we comforted each other with acts of kindness, and then kept plodding on toward the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Redefining mental well-being
The simplest definition of mental well-being? Our ability to cope well with whatever life throws at us, to appreciate our own potential under challenging circumstances, to work productively, and to contribute to our communities.
It sounds straightforward enough, as far as definitions go. When it comes to real life, though, we might find ourselves having to bypass some textbook definitions or at least having to constantly readjust them so they fit our needs and coping mechanisms.
Resilience is an important concept
In the engineering world, resilience is defined as the ability to absorb energy and resist shock and impact.
When it comes to us humans, though, resilience is as complex as we are. It means being able to care for ourselves so we can also care for others, remembering to focus not just on the stressful events unfolding but on what comes afterward. It also means being flexible and willing to learn, grow, and adapt.
Here are four strategies to help us become more resilient.
1. Eat well to boost mental immunity
Whole foods are loaded with nutrients, including antioxidants, minerals, and fiber, that arm our gut with microbiota important for improving overall health, including mental health, through a connector known as the gut-brain axis. Certain probiotic strains also produce compounds that, through this connector, influence our mental state, reducing stress and anxiety and improving our mood.
2. Get moving for better resilience
Being physically active will help boost your mood almost immediately, but when done regularly, it protects you from long-term stress and reduces your risk of cognitive decline down the road. Anything works. Go for a walk (exercising outdoors plus sunshine equals increased resilience), turn up the music and dance, or do a yoga session at home.
3. Practice compassion as a stepping stone to resilience
When people are faced with stressful situations, there is fear of course, but there is also the urge to help others. When we act with kindness and compassion toward our fellow humans, we increase our own mental resilience.
Regardless of how we get there, cultivating positive values and beliefs can improve our adaptability and strength as we go through life, allowing our resilience to grow as we traverse through challenges.
4. Adopt the new “F” word: Forgiveness
You may have heard it said that forgiveness does more for those who give it than for those who receive it. It’s true. Forgiveness increases self-esteem, emotional stability, and resilience. When we forgive and let go of resentment, we make it easier for ourselves to recover from stress and trauma.
By Daniela Ginta, MSc, NNCP
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before trying a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, take prescription or over-the-counter medications, or are planning on having surgery.
Article Copyright 2023 by Alive Publishing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Photo by Kat Smith