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How Resilience Helps Us Keep Choosing Life

How resilience helps us Keep Choosing Life

Resilience is a term we often hear thrown around, but what does it really mean and what makes it so important when it comes to mental health? Resilience is the ability to deal with increased amounts of stress and anxiety while maintaining a stable psychological level. In recent years, resilience has become a focal point of suicide prevention and recommended to be a part of treatment plans having shown to help overcome feelings of anxiety, stress, and loss of control. Increasing resilience has been scientifically proven to help people keep choosing life.

Below are four clinically-backed ways to help increase your resilience:

BREATHE DEEPLY

Calming your mind and reducing anxiety begins with catching your breath.

Try this exercise:

  • Take a deep breath in over four counts.

  • Hold while counting to four.

  • Exhale over four counts.

  • Hold again for four.

  • Repeat.

SET SMALL GOALS

An achievable goal gives us purpose and control in uncertain times. Set specific, short-term goals for your situation.

For example:

  • "I will replace my weekly lunch with friends with a phone call or text," instead of "I will use social distancing."

  • "I will only check the news for 30 minutes each morning during this isolation period," instead of "I will read less news."

REFRAME THINKING

Challenge negative and catastrophic thoughts to take away their power. Focus on things you can control.

For example:

  • Instead of thinking, "If my partner leaves me, I won’t have anybody and I’ll never be happy." Try thinking, "If my partner leaves me, it wasn’t meant to be. I am strong and independent and I have people that love me and support me. There are plenty of other people and I know I can find love again."

  • Instead of thinking, "If I fail this test, I will fail out of school." Try thinking, "This is stressful, but I can only do my best. My grades don’t define me and I have studied hard and done everything in my control."

PRACTICE GRATITUDE

Finding gratitude reminds us of what we do have and what is going right.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you thankful for?

  • What are you thankful for?

  • What did you notice today that made you smile?

Resilience, like any other skill in life, needs to be practiced and worked on. If you find yourself with an extra 10 minutes during the day try practicing these four skills. While improvements might be small and hard to recognize, over time you will notice a difference and your resilience will improve. Harnessing resilience helps us walk through the hard moments in life and come through the other side.

For more resources including meditations and stress management tips visit joon.com/resources.


Authors:

Amy Mezulis, PhD: Dr. Mezulis, is a licensed clinical psychologist, mother to two teens, and Co-Founder and Chief of Clinical Care at Joon Care. She received her BA from Harvard University and her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Mezulis focuses on adolescent and young adult mental health utilizing an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral approach that includes mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments. Dr. Mezulis has specialized training in mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, suicidality and self-injury, trauma, substance use, and adolescent development. She is currently on the faculty at Seattle Pacific University, as part of the Clinical Psychology PhD program.

Gailen Greenstein: Gailen is a senior at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of Joon's Student Advisory Board, and a marketing intern at Joon. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and all different aspects of public health & healthcare, primarily mental health.

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