According to the Mayo Clinic, being resilient can help protect you from various mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety. Resilience can also help you navigate and cope with life challenges that increase the risk of mental health conditions.
“When you have resilience, you harness inner strength that helps you rebound from a setback or challenge, such as a job loss, an illness, a disaster or a loved one's death. If you lack resilience, you might dwell on problems, feel victimised, become overwhelmed or turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as substance abuse,” says the Mayo Clinic.
“Resilience won't make your problems go away — but resilience can give you the ability to see past them, find enjoyment in life and better handle stress. If you aren't as resilient as you'd like to be, you can develop skills to become more resilient.”
In the Australian Men’s Health Forum survey ahead of World Mental Health Day 2020, participants were asked to evaluate the 10 Habits of Mentally Health Men.
One respondent commented: “Being resilient, properly resilient, essentially IS being mentally healthy.”
Said another: “This is number one because it is about oneself. A lot of other things rely on others … happiness is an internal battle first and foremost.”
The power of stoicism
Life throws up many obstacles, in fact Ryan Holiday’s ‘The Obstacle IS the way’ describes how to thrive regardless of what is going on, and draws on the philosophy of the Greek Stoics.
Far from teaching people to develop a stiff upper lip and bottle up their emotions, practitioners of resilience address what is happening in their lives, ask for help and share their experiences with others.
When the coronavirus forced Australians inside this year, Brisbane-based Peter Bell gathered his thoughts into a book, Stepping Out the Other Side: Finding Purpose Through Adversity, published by his management consulting firm, Aurelius (aurelius.com.au) after the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, Marcus Aurelius.
“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” said Peter following the completion of his 30,000- word manuscript, penned in six weeks.
Professor Patrick McGorry AO, founding director of Headspace, Professor of Youth Mental Health at the University of Melbourne and Executive director of Orygen, says Bell’s book draws on ‘lived experience’ that both affirms the expert clinical care he received, and combines this with his own personal coping strength, family support and a strong philosophical base which enabled him to win his battle against mental illness.'
Western Sydney University researchers have partnered with South Western Sydney Local Health District for Tackling the Challenge: Talking Men’s Health, which encourages men in south west Sydney to share stories of resilience.
The stories cover a range of topics, from migrating to Australia, coping with unemployment, mental illness, stigmatisation and discrimination. The stories are intended to support, encourage and inspire others to share their stories.
The Mayo Clinic’s tips for building resilience are:
- Get Connected. Build strong relationships
- Make every day meaningful. Set goals and make sure you do something each day that gives you a sense of purpose.
- Learn from experience. Reflect on how you have coped in the past and the skills and strategies that helped you through.
- Remain hopeful. Tomorrow really is another day. Understand that change is part of life and you can deal with it.
- Take care of yourself. Look after your physical health, rest well, learn some stress management skills, including meditation.
- Be proactive. Take action when you need to and don’t ignore your problems. Consider talking to a mental health professional.