Building Resiliency Builds a Better Life

One of the most important keys to mental health is resiliency. Resiliency is the brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize in response to experiences. In other words, a resilient individual “bounces back” after adversity, changes and challenges.

There has been some talk about a “resiliency gene,” but so far research suggests that there are likely several genes involved that regulate our stress response systems, neurotransmitter function and neuroplasticity (our brain’s ability to adapt and reorganize in response to experiences).

Biology is just one piece of the puzzle. Early life experiences, social support, resource access and exposure to stressors all play a role in shaping resiliency.

The good news is that therapy and certain mental exercises can help individuals build their resiliency, which is important to mental health. Some activities that can enhance one’s capacity to cope with life’s up and downs, promote emotional wellbeing, and reduce the risk of developing mental health issues include:

1. Mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness practices involve being present in the moment without judgment. Meditation techniques can range from deep breathing exercises to body scans.

2. Exercise. Regular exercise has numerous mental health benefits. It releases endorphins which are mood lifters; reduces stress hormones; promotes better sleep; and boosts self-esteem.

3. Social Support Networks. Building and maintaining strong social connections provides emotional support through difficult times.

4. Positive thinking and reframing. Cultivating a positive mindset involves focusing on strengths, successes and gratitude. Practicing positive self-talk and reframing negative thoughts can enhance resilience.

5. Setting realistic goals. Setting achievable goals and breaking them down into manageable steps helps build confidence and a sense of accomplishment. No matter how small the goal, progress towards it contributes to resilience and motivation.

6. Developing problem-solving skills. Learning effective problem-solving techniques helps individuals approach challenges with a proactive mindset.

No person must face challenges alone. Mental health professionals can help build resilience through guidance, perspective and coping strategies.

At Flatrock, our mental health professionals work to help our residents learn to manage their challenges, so their lives become more productive and positive.