Mental Health Awareness Month – Five Ways to Build Resilience

Instead of anxious feelings getting in the way, we can take productive steps to be in problem-solving mode rather than worry and stress mode. Dealing with Overwhelm Credit: fizkes / iStock / Getty Images plus via Getty Images

Resilience Skills Help to Navigate Crisis, Avoid Worst-Case Thinking 

By Andrew Shatte, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, meQuilibrium 

Mental Health Month has been observed for over 50 years, but this year it is especially important to raise awareness of ways to improve mental health and increase resilience. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people), however, the worry, isolation, and anxiety associated with Coronavirus is something that literally everyone may experience.

meQuilibrium’s clinically validated study found that about 40% of individuals with low resilience and agility show signs of moderate or worse anxiety and depression while among those with high resilience and adaptive capacity the rate of anxiety and depression is 2% or less.

Resilience is a crucial skill we need to thrive in uncertain times, says meQuilibrium, the leading digital employee resilience solution. Resilience represents the ability to rebound productively in challenging situations and it has a strong protective effect against anxiety. In today’s anxiety-ridden environment, those who possess adaptive capabilities will be better equipped to handle the psychological toll. meQuilibrium’s scientific research has shown that highly resilient people are 28% more able to adapt to changing circumstances.

People are experiencing heightened levels of uncertainty and anxiety from COVID-19. The human brain is wired for the negative and it’s natural for us to be worried about the future. However, instead of anxious feelings getting in the way, we can take productive steps to be in problem-solving mode rather than worry and stress mode.

Learning to recognize responses to stress, emotional strain, and exhaustion provide the foundation for resilient self-management. Even small improvements in individual cognitive performance can make a positive impact on emotional distress. meQuilibrium offers these steps to build simple resilience practices in your daily routine:

Using simple breathing mindfulness techniques or meditation will serve to bring us back to the present, calm the mind, and reduce the high level of stress that we are all feeling now. Escape Scarcity Mindset Credit: Leo Patrizi / E+ via Getty Images

Keep your emotions in check. Coronavirus has our brains pinging on “future threat” driving global anxiety and shared fear. Stay calm and work to keep your emotions in check, particularly anxiety, which will take center stage. Work to catch those anxious thoughts before they spiral, and reframe them into more realistic, probable outcomes.

Remain realistic. People will begin to catastrophize in this extreme situation. It’s a natural response that’s rooted in self-preservation. But when you focus on the worst-case scenario, you allot the majority of your energy to worrying about something that has only a small chance of happening and not devoting any resources to the negative things that are very likely to happen. At the same time, there may be other possible outcomes and choices at your disposal that you’re not seeing.

Adaptive is key. Make informed adjustments based on the information you have. Limit the amount of energy spent on speculation. Use mindfulness to stay in the moment. Every day, take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and focus. We can exert most control over today, this moment. Using simple breathing mindfulness techniques or meditation will serve to bring us back to the present, calm the mind, and reduce the high level of stress that we are all feeling now.

Practice gratitude. Coronavirus is a new threat and coping with new threats requires strength and energy. So give yourself some credit. Remember to end each day with a measure of gratitude that you successfully navigated the world around you, and let this positivity build on itself. You have the power to care for your physical and mental health; don’t let anxiety control your well-being.

Prevent. When individuals recognize their own habitual patterns and begin to manage stress in healthier ways, healthier behavior and interactions spread, in what we can consider a positive network effect. We become better equipped in our interactions, even under stress, and better able to support one another.

Resilience helps people respond to change more effectively by managing their minds and emotions in high stress, adverse situations.People who can quickly switch gears from threatened to productive, can navigate this challenging time more effectively.

In today’s anxiety-ridden environment, those who possess adaptive capabilities will be better equipped to handle the psychological toll. Anxiety Infographic Credit: meQuilibrium

Visit meQuilibrium to read more about how to address uncertainty and anxiety with resilience.

Depression and Anxiety Infographic Credit: meQuilibrium

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