Resilience and our Mental Health

This is Part 2 of our series on Mental Health from the 3 session event hosted by ACSIWC and Katy Kwon. You can watch the sessions at Anxiety and Mental Health Resources For Families

Part 1 – Own it or Moan About it?

Resilience is the ability to have something happen in life – loss, grief, sadness – and being able to rebound and find yourself okay again after a hard time. It is a major factor in our mental wellness, and it is something that we aren’t born with, it is something  rather something we need to develop in ourselves, as Katy Kwon described in her recent presentation Building Resilience.

In her presentation, Katy outlines the seven Cs  for building resilience:

Connectedness: We each choose who our peers (connections) are, and these choices often have an influence on our lives. Katy highlighted, that it  is important to find ways to make real life connections with people and to remember that social media, like Facebook, does not provide true connection

Confidence: Self-confidence builds when we know that we have done hard things in the past and, having taken those risks successfully, feel increasingly able to try something in the future, even if we anticipate that it will be difficult. 

Competence: The trick here is to find out what we’re good at, and then go and do more of that. This builds our competence and confidence and likely our connectedness. It encourages us to become involved in clubs or classes, which often result in relationship building. 

Contribution: Resilience is built when we give to something bigger than ourselves, like the Big Buddy system in elementary school or helping at the SPCA. 

Character: Good character traits that you were born with and develop (like generosity, kindness) all contribute to our resilience. 

Control: Developing self-control is vital. Katy mentions sleep as an example…choosing not to play video games or scroll on YouTube until late at night requires self control and good choices. Teens require 8.5 to 9.25 hours every night and sleep cannot be banked on weekends. Good sleep helps with the next point – coping.

Coping: We all have physical and emotional stressors, which take their toll on us.  We can work the stress out of our bodies by being physical, (running, walking, swimming, hiking, breathing deeply, dancing) or in creative or quiet ways, (journaling, dancing, painting).  Not getting rid of the stress often causes physical symptoms like a sore tummy. We all need to find a way to cope with stress and not let it “bottle up.”

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”

Romans 5:3-5

The word tribulation can trace its roots back to the Latin word tribulum, a piece of farming equipment used to separate the wheat (valuable) from the chaff (no value). In a similar manner, tribulations in our lives can help us identify what is valuable to us and what we can leave behind, growing in resilience.  In the end, we are left with something far greater, mental and spiritual wellness,founded in a hope that will never disappoint us.

Like physical exercise strengthens the body, tribulation strengthens our spirit and mind. So, we can celebrate our tribulations. We can celebrate the resilience that is built through these trials. We can celebrate the hope that we know will not disappoint.

Ultimately we need to remember, we are chosen, we are good enough and we are free, in God’s family and dearly loved. We access this truth through faith, even in the face of our trials and tribulation

About the Author

Elaine Rodwell

Learning Services Consultant & SE Teacher

Elaine is a pickle-ball-playing, bike-riding, woman of prayer. She is an SE teacher and Learning Services Consultant for those HCOS families and teachers living in the Interior. 

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