Bouncing back after facing hardship is something we can all physically do, fall off a bike and you get up and get back on it, but many of us lack the tools to mentally bounce back, in other words, psychological resilience. To be psychologically resilient isn’t to ignore thoughts and feelings, or to avoid what is in front of you (no matter how hard it is to face it), it means having faith that no matter how impossible it seems, you will get through and overcome the cards you have been dealt.
The Five Pillars
Psychological resilience is said to be made up of five pillars – self awareness, purpose, mindfulness, relationships, and self-care. We may be aware of these five pillars but how can we use them to build strong psychological resilience?
Pillar One – Self-awareness
Being self-aware means having a clear understanding of your own personality including strengths, weaknesses and reoccurring thoughts you may have. The more self-aware you are the better you will be able to recognise thought patterns as well as bettering your own awareness and understanding of those around you, and the more aware you are of both yourself and others, the more aware you will become of your reactions to certain situations.
Having an understanding of how you react to certain situations will better your ability to bounce back as you will have your own knowledge of what does and doesn’t work in terms of your mental wellbeing. Self-awareness will enable you to communicate clearly with loved ones and those in your support network about your needs.
Pillar Two – Mindfulness
To be mindful is to be in the present moment, where you are right now with what you are experiencing right now in terms of environment and situation. There’s no point looking to the past for answers as we are no longer there, nor is there sense in worrying about what could happen in the future when today is all we have in this moment in time. When you’re mindful you are able to observe your thoughts and feelings as an outsider without labels or judgement, just like standing on a train station platform and watching the trains drive by.
Pillar Three – Self-care
How self-care looks will vary from one person to another but the meaning behind the term remains the same – to tend to one’s own needs using positive and healthy tools and resources. Practising self-care means showing our body, mind and spirit the respect it deserves, whether that’s through physical exercise, zoning out to some music or a 10-minute meditation. These tools and resources become vital when we face any hardships in life as they provide both comfort and escapism.
Pillar Four – Positive Relationships
Whether you are an introvert who thrives on solitary existence or an extrovert who is bursting with energy to share with a group of people, building and maintaining positive relationships is key in every aspect of our lives – work, home, and social.
No matter what your personality type, social interaction is good for all of us and positive interactions make us feel appreciated and accepted into a community.
Pillar Five – Purpose
Last, but not least, purpose. Having purpose behind what we do, say and believe is a vital crutch to living a meaningful life and of course bouncing back when life tests our every ounce of being. It pushes us to keep going and gives us something to live for in times of despair. That motive could be your family, a special loved one or your own personal reason for overcoming challenges and attaining success. The importance of it is that you find that purpose and it is worthy and strong enough for you to keep in the back of your mind and remind yourself of when you lose motivation or hope.
2020 has shown us just how unpredictable life can be, from a health emergency to experiencing the sudden loss of special people such as Kobe Bryant. It has taken its’ toll on our mental wellbeing and left many of us lacking hope and motivation, but we will get there. We will come out stronger and better for it. There is always a lesson to be learnt or an experience to be gained when life tests our ability to cope. You have got this!
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