Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 is from 18th to 24th May. This year the theme is kindness. Where extraordinary stories have emerged of kindness being expressed in this time of lockdown and isolation. Kindness offers us a time to look at how we can aim to thrive, rather than just survive in any situation.
The ability to bounce back and be flexible in volatile situations requires you turn the corner in your thoughts and actions.
- Resilience commences with your reactions to adverse situations and how you choose to develop each chapter of your life amid difficulties and battles.
- Schooling your abilities and capabilities to balance work, life and home pressures.
- While still ploughing through and never allowing matters to fall upon and overwhelm you.
At times these pressures may be out of your control. Or self-imposed. The more you build mental elasticity, the more you are able to cope with inevitable setbacks and comprehend situations to see things as they are. Because most pressures are temporary and can be managed.
Do you possess the potential to bounce back from problems?
You might be reading this and thinking, if only you knew what I am going through. I have faced my own valleys and adverse circumstances. The choice I made was to find a spring back to every setback. That requires determination and dedication. In time you will too.
- Where you move away from scraping the bottom of your soul for inspiration.
- To finding God’s hidden blessings in a haystack, that become treasures to cherish.
- Building resilence commences with a choice to distil our lives with wisdom and knowledge to motivate ourselves firstly.
- And then in time gain the capability to inspire others.
Ask yourself these five questions, then write your honest answer to each of them.
How does a low resilience affect my wellbeing?
You can lose your standing and be obscured with a clouded perspective. That permits unhelpful emotions to nurture and sprout anxious, angry or depressing thoughts that can lead to stress. Relationships with close loved ones or colleagues can become strained. And we can react on the defensive because we feel disempowered. In turn this can affect our health.
Where should I turn when this happens?
- Find someone to connect with, who will listen and be there for you. Like trusted friendships.
- Be generous with your time, words and resources. This could simply be smiling or paying a compliment to someone.
- Try to notice the small, simple prompts or nudges God slips into each day and be grateful for them.
- Never stop learning as you embrace every experience as an opportunity to surprise yourself.
- Always wanted to enrol in a creative class or acquire a new skill? Go ahead and try it. Learn how to play a musical instrument or gain some innovative culinary expertise. To become more well-rounded in your potential and propensity.
- Get moving. Activity helps you enjoy life and lifts your mood. From dog walking to social outdoor games in the park. Anything that gets you working your muscles helps.
What are the noticeable signs of my stress levels increasing?
It may begin as constant worrying then turn into something more interferring like an inability to concentrate.
- You become moody, irritable or agitated and unhappy all the time.
- You feel ill; lose your lustre for life and relationships. And could be prone to more common illnesses.
- Your eating habits may change to too much or too little, not sleeping or retracting from others and neglecting your responsibilities.
- If not addressed, you could turn to temporal ways to help you relax like unhealthy addictions such as alcohol, that can have more long term harm.
Don’t get me wrong, some pressure is good. But we need to challenge ourselves to gain a sense of achievement, so that we do not allow pressure to evolve into stress. This is something we personally have to manage as no one else can manage your stress.
- Mark your responses and limits and change accordingly so that you are not always responding to every demand.
- When you react to situations successfully and grasp the competency to cope – you are managing the pressures in your life.
- Stress on the other hand is the belief when you are unable to control situations. And the result is an unwanted deterioration in your physical, mental or emotional well-being. This causes a domino effect to your efficiency dependent on the levels that are applied directly or indirectly to situations.
- By exerting yourself beyond your limits, pressure from life, impacts from family or work. Stress is what will happen. Plug into God’s word when you are weary with sorrow (Psalm 119:28).
Is there anything I can start right now that can help make a change?
Absolutely! You cannot stop yourself from thinking, but you can alter the way you think.
- To recognise your mental filters, all or nothing thinking, emotional reasoning and labelling of yourself. Every unhelpful thought process will cause you to react to situations rather than pause and consider, before responding. The only way is practice – to move away from negative thinking patterns and acquire a more balanced approach to what is happening in your life.
- When you think about what is happening, evaluate it. Then respond.
- Opt for ways to overcome health problems and emotional setbacks.
- You will have a different outcome. Because you will start to challenge negative thoughts and views of yourself that you can carry around for decades. You will stop judging yourself so harshly and begin to accept the progress you are making, building your self-esteem and a step towards gaining gusto as part of your self-development. Sometimes you don’t have to always fight every battle but stand firm (without being afraid) in God’s deliverance (2 Chronicles 20:17).
- Reframe your mind set by challenging how you previously viewed problems. Because in every obstacle there is an opportunity. To become pliable to down spiralling situations.
- Every weakness can be remodelled into strengths. Eliminate negative words out of your vocabulary. Before it leads to more serious mental health issues.
- Take each new choice steadily so that in time you can accept mistakes for what they are. To arise more pliant and impermeable, as you distinguish how to roll with the punches.
- Nothing should stop you from trying something new. Laugh at yourself. Snapping back to reality, at the appropriate time. This is so much fun once you grasp the wisdom of it. Because you will take offences on the chin.
- Learn how to effectively utilise criticism and keep being adventurous and ingenious as you move with the flow of life that never stops.
What do healthy changes unveil in my life?
- The realisation that your worth is not founded in any opinion you have of yourself, and only who God has made you to be. You can stand firm in your faith with courage (1 Corinthians 16:13). Then dismiss negative views and not undervalue your achievements. Perhaps due to issues you might have experienced in the past – such as social isolation, difficult life events, bullying or more serious blows.
- The competence to confront low self-esteem by viewing your self-worth more optimistically, in time so will others. Do an online course in becoming assertive and practice how to be mindful so you manage your emotions. Assertive means you are being direct and open, while maintaining appropriate and respectful boundaries. Apace with balancing the opinions of others confidently. With any skill practice is the only way to improve and advance ahead.
- The discovery that problems can be solved and the best way forward is to empower yourself by aiming to seek out a solution. If you have a concern record it – then look at the things you have control over and the things you don’t. Spend more energy and enthusiasm on what you can control and not what you cannot. This erects a backbone, unleashes productivity and prods you to accept multiple challenges confidently (Proverbs 3:26).
Soon you will recognise you have an unshakeable confidence. Your ability to take charge of situations has been a result of your efforts to develop dynamism. Challenges become exciting because you embrace tragedy in your life and turn it around to be resilient!
Share your thoughts…
How do you enhance vivacity to situations and obstacles? What strengths are you amplifying?