One of the first psychologists to study resilience was Emmy Werner. She followed the lives of children who were raised by alcoholic, abusive or mentally ill parents. You could say that these kids have not been given a chance right from the beginning of their lives. However, one out of three of these children grew into competent and caring adults. They did not even develop any learning or behavior problems during childhood or adolescence. What differentiated them from their peers? The answer is resilience.
So, what exactly helped these children to become resilient? And what can we learn from the psychological research out there? In this video, we are going to talk about three ways of how you can become mentally strong. First part is focused on you, second on your relationships and lastly, we are going to take a look at maintaining perspective.
Mental strength starts with yourself
Resilience a dynamic process that leads to positive adaptation. What Emmy found out was that the resilient children were capable of focusing on their future rather than crying over the past. They did not look at what happened to them as a disadvantage but rather viewed the good things in their lives e.g. being able to study, as an opportunity for something better.
Resilience and mental strength has to first and foremost come from within. Knowing yourself, your strengths and weakness will also help you in overcoming challenges. And taking care of yourself is the simplest thing you can begin with. And it starts with things as easy getting enough sleep, eating healthy food regularly and exercising.
Keeping yourself in a good physical condition will also make your mind stronger. But it doesn’t stop here. Actively try to look for opportunities for self-growth and self-discovery. Already watching this video and learning about how your mind works is a great way to do it!
Meaningful relationships increase resilience
Another significant finding that the psychologist Emmy Werner discovered, was that the resilient children had a strong bond with at least one other person in their life. This could have been a parent but also an aunt, babysitter or a teacher.
We can’t do everything alone but as you can see, sometimes one person is all it takes. One person you can trust. One person who believes you.
Maintain perspective in time of difficulties
The children in Emmy Werner’s study went through very difficult situations right from the beginning but if they maintained a positive attitude, they also increased their chances to become resilient. What does that mean for us?
Maintaining perspective. First and foremost, being grateful for the life we have. We often find ourselves complaining about the most banal things. Bus coming a couple of minutes later, rainy days or getting the wrong order at Starbucks. Exactly in these moments, we need to stop and think.
We are the luckiest people in the world. You don’t believe me? Just visit the Dollar Street website. It documents lives of people from all over the world and divides them based on their income. You can compare the houses, pets or even things they dream of having. A real reality check! I highly recommend checking it out.
But of course, regardless of your income we all have our problems and bad things still happen to all of us. That’s a part of life. But they are in no way an excuse for us to become cruel and bitter. With everything that happens we face a choice. And whatever shitstorm you went through – you always face a choice. Either get sucked into an abyss of despair and hatred or focus on building a better future filled with meaning and love.
Choice is yours. So what’s it gona be?