As individuals, we generally do not like sudden change. Instead, we feel more comfortable when life is predictable and able to be anticipated. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a world that has been turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic causes serious worry. Many unknowns are still known about the coronavirus infections. Likewise, we hear rising numbers globally concerning new cases and deaths from the illness. Understanding this, the level of fear, anxiety, and stress is rising significantly on a daily basis. For all of these reasons it’s important that each of us strive to protect our mental well-being.
In normal situations when sudden change is not present, we deal with worry and stress in routine ways. These include exercising outdoors, attending social functions, and dining out. But we are now finding that these normal stress outlets are unavailable to many of us. In an effort to protect public health, we are confined to our homes and possible a few other places. Because of this, we need to find new, healthy ways to deal with this stress. And building mental resilience is a great approach toward this goal. Through enhanced mental resilience, we are better able to withstand the tensions we feel. And ultimately, this will help us maintain mental wellness.
Understanding Mental Resilience
When it comes to mental resilience, this term refers to our capacity to handle stressful events and environments. The higher our mental resilience, the better able we are to “bounce back” when we feel worry and tension. The anxiety we feel today with the coronavirus epidemic is natural and normal. In fact, anxiety often encourages us to prepare for future situations, which helps protect us and keep us safe. But when excessive, anxiety can undermine mental health causing us to become over-reaction or even paralyzed to act. The anecdote to this problem is through a strong mental resilience that allows us to keep things in perspective.
The risk for excessive anxiety is heightened when sudden changes occur that rock our world. The sudden changes that have developed with coronavirus over the last 3 months certainly apply in this regard. And with the loss of many stress-relieving activities, it’s imperative we use other techniques to build our mental health reserves. Fortunately, there are a number of things that can be done to help build mental resilience. By incorporating these into your life, now and in the future, you’ll be more likely to enjoy positive mental health.
Strategies to Deal with Sudden Change
In an attempt to build greater mental resilience, several techniques have been proven to help. Some of those that are more routine in nature involve educating yourself about the facts of the situation. This can help reduce emotional reactions such as fear, worry and anxiety. Likewise, however, it is also important not to overload yourself with news and social media. Some degree of media distancing is often needed as well. And certainly, trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle through diet, exercise, and activities can promote better mental resilience. Given that these are baseline strategies you should consider, the following offers a few additional techniques in dealing with sudden change.
- Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings – As mentioned, feeling worried or anxious when sudden change happens is perfectly normal. It’s our reaction to these emotions that are the bigger concern. Therefore, take some time to acknowledge what you’re feeling and simply accept them as normal. Oppressing such emotions will only cause them to intensify and cause unwanted effects long-term. But through mindfulness techniques that appreciate feelings and accept them as expected, you will enhance your mental resilience. In other words, you will be better able to deal with a sudden change as it occurs.
- Establish New Activities – With the ability to perform normal “de-stressing” routines, it is important you establish new ones to promote mental resilience. Many are choosing to binge-watch television series or Netflix. But this type of activity is more of a distraction technique than one that builds mental resilience. New routines you may want to consider can include learning projects, like a second language or musical skill. Or you may create daily routines in teaching your children basic life skills. Not only will this help reduce worry and anxiety but also empower you over time. Therefore, this is an excellent way to maintain mental wellness when faced with sudden change.
- Adopt New Self-Care Practices – Without the ability to go to the gym, it is important you consider new exercise opportunities. One approach is to develop a new home workout routine, like streaming exercise classes or home exercise equipment. In addition to exercise, you will also want to pay attention to diet and nutrition. Despite challenges related to being sheltered inside, there are several healthy foods for “lockdowns” that are nutritious. Finally, social health is also important in building mental resilience. Consider virtual get-togethers with friends as a means to stay socially connected. These strategies can also help protect your mental well-being.
- Reflect and Reassess – One of the best ways in dealing with sudden change is to spend some time reflecting about its meaning. At the same time, self-reflection and reassessments enhance mental resilience by allowing us consider different perspectives. In doing so, you explore spiritual wellness in addition to mental well-being. Likewise, you invite the opportunity to reset your priorities in your life. All of this can be mentally empowering and enhance mental resilience as well.
Sudden Change Can Be an Opportunity for Personal Growth
There is little doubt that sudden change can be painful as well as upsetting. This is certainly the case with the current coronavirus epidemic. But these struggles in life can also provide opportunities for growth, both at personal and societal levels. While the stresses associated with the pandemic are very real and serious, basking in excess worry will do little good. Instead, maintaining positive mental wellness through enhanced mental resilience will help us all the most. This will not only allow us to survive the pressures we experience but also make us stronger in the end. And this not only pertains to our own individual strengths but to those collectively as well.