Mind fuel: Daily habits to build mental resilience
Mental resilience is not a single act of bravery and graft. It is a culmination of daily habits.
To assist with the daily building of emotional resilience, here are a four simple techniques that you can apply to your every day and why.
- Exercise. Physical activity is very important for the brain. You don’t have to be attempting a world record run every time you exercise but any form of exercise that pushes you out of your comfort zone, will elevate your heart rate and release the reward hormone – dopamine. Once the activity is finished you will feel a sense of achievement and this exercise will help stimulate your nervous system to return to a state of homeostasis, where your hormones are in balance, giving you a feeling of peace.
- Journaling. Your emotions are not factual pieces of information, but rather, survival responses learned through observation and lived experiences in childhood. That means that often the emotions that you are feeling are not relevant to the situation that you are currently in. We see the world through a bias and therefore, being able to remove this bias is key to managing our stressors and adversities more effectively. To do this, give your subconscious a voice, in the form of written word. Writing down your challenges allows us to see them more calmly and rationally, it allows us to remove that survival bias and decide how to move forward and tackle the problems that we face.
- Breathe. Fill your lungs, diaphragm and stomach with air and let it out in a controlled and rhythmic way. This stimulates your vagal nerve, which calms your body and puts you into a relaxed state, which in turn, calms your mind. Being resilient means remaining calm and controlled and free thinking in challenging times. Keep your body calm, keep your mind calm.
- Choose your regrets carefully. You must remember, that picking what you want to achieve, is actually the easy part. Choosing a life that means pursuing that and therefore letting other things slide, is the difficult part. If you want to be a competitive athlete, then that means you will be unable to attend every social event. You want to study? That means less time watching TV. You can have anything that you want, but you cannot have everything that you want. Choose your regrets, very carefully.
For more, make sure to check out the new book, Think Yourself Resilient: Harness Your Emotions. Build Your Confidence. Transform Your Life.