How to build mental resilience
by Kate Ferraro | 1 August 2022


What is resilience?
Reframe threats as challenges
Build close networks
Acknowledge the challenges but don’t dwell on them

With rising costs of living and interest rate hikes putting stress on Australian families and the pandemic still not behind us, it’s important to ensure that all of us are taking care of our mental wellbeing in these challenging times.  

What is resilience?  

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back quickly from difficulties and describes one’s overall well-being. Being resilient is a sign you can adapt well in times of adversity, stress or trauma. You may still experience difficult emotions; but if you’re able to manage those difficult emotions with compassion and self-care. 

Reframe threats as challenges  

It can be helpful to reframe what you may perceive as a stressful or threatening experience as a challenge – an opportunity for growth. According to Brock Bastian, Professor of Psychology, Melbourne University, if you’re going to deal with a challenge life has thrown at you, the worst thing you can do is see it as purely a negative thing that’s bringing you down — it makes it much harder to cope with. Instead, it’s important to take stock of what resources you might have and adapt to the difficulty.  

Step out of your comfort zone  

Challenging yourself and exploring new things outside of what you’re used to can help build resilience. Pursuing goals and practicing skills that expand your abilities gives you a sense of achievement is a good way to test how you might respond if you don’t have to just rely on your strengths. It’s about being prepared to learn something new, to step out of your comfort zone and gain more experience in different areas.  

Build close networks  

Studies have also consistently shown that having strong interpersonal relationships and community support — giving and receiving care — is associated with better recovery from adversity. When you have a strong, close-knit community around you, people reach out to each other for support and strength during challenging times. 

Acknowledge the challenges but don’t dwell on them  

It’s okay to give yourself a pat on the back for your successes and reflect on the challenges you’ve faced so you can learn from them and be better prepared in the future. If you need help to build your mental resilience and wellbeing, reach out to support services such as Beyond Blue, our advisers are also here if you need to chat.


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