Think about a time in your life when you felt like your mental health and mental wellbeing were strong. Chances are other things were going well in your life at that point, too. Maybe you were motivated and pushing forward with career or school, or felt grounded in your relationships with others, or were riding high on new health routines. But how about when things aren’t going well? Some of us can keep our mental health strong even through tough times. But many of us cannot. It’s like we’re standing closer or further away from the edge of a cliff; those of us far from the edge can be pushed backward by a strong headwind and gave some room to give without going over, but those who live close to this edge need the air to stay calm — a breeze could blow them over the edge.
This is mental health resilience. And after mangling my wrist 10 days ago and not being able to get care until three days from now, mental health resilience has recently been at the forefront of my mind (I promise the whiny part of this post is now over. Dang does it hurt, though. Okay, now whining is really, truly over…). I started with distraction, scrolling Instagram and playing stupid mobile games. When that got brain-numbingly boring, I switched to rereading books I love like the Lord of the Rings series and The Monkeywrench Gang. But now I need a little more to help me push back against the headwind so that I don’t take a bad step backward over the edge. It’s time to actually explore things that support mental health resilience. Instead of trying not to be blown backwards, it’s time to take a step away from the edge.
Following is a list of resources in which I’m finding inspiration.
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI): Building Mental Health Resilience
Psychology Today: Three Simple Ways to Enhance Mental Health Resilience
Merican Psychological Association (APA): Building Your Resilience
Researcher Peter Clough writing in the Independent: Mental resilience is a skill that can be taught. Here’s how.
Mayo Clinic: Build Skills to Endure Hardship
The Digging Deep Project: Shadow’s Edge — A Free Mobile Game to Build Resilience in Young People with Physical and Mental Health Challenges
Please comment your favorite resources below and let me know what’s working for you!
Garth Sundem is a parent, husband, and author of books including “Real Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change”.