By Dr. Moumita Nandy
Some people seem to quickly bounce back from personal failures and setbacks, while others find it much more difficult.
When life knocks you down, are you quick to pick yourself up and adapt to the circumstances? Or do you find yourself completely overwhelmed with little confidence in your ability to deal with the challenge?
If you find yourself in the latter category, not to worry. Luckily there are many practical strategies for building mental resilience; it is a quality that can be learned and honed through practice, discipline and hard work.
Our resilience is often tested when life circumstances change unexpectedly and for the worse — such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the end of a relationship. Such challenges, however, present the opportunity to rise above and come back even stronger than you were before. In order to be mentally healthy, we must build up our mental strength! Mental strength is something that is developed over time by individuals who choose to make personal development a priority. Much like seeing physical gains from working out and eating healthier, we must develop healthy mental habits, like practicing gratitude, if we want to experience mental health gains.
Likewise, to see physical gains we must also give up unhealthy habits, such as eating junk food, and for mental gains, give up unhealthy habits such as feeling sorry for oneself.
This is the extent to which you feel you are in control of your life, including your emotions and sense of life purpose. The control component can be considered your self-esteem. To be high on the Control scale means to feel comfortable in your own skin and have a good sense of who you are.
You’re able to control your emotions — less likely to reveal your emotional state to others — and be less distracted by the emotions of others. To be low on the Control scale means you might feel like events happen to you and that you have no control or influence over what happens.
This is the extent of your personal focus and reliability. To be high on the Commitment scale is to be able to effectively set goals and consistently achieve them, without getting distracted. A high Commitment level indicates that you’re good at establishing routines and habits that cultivate success.
To be low on the Commitment scale indicates that you may find it difficult to set and prioritize goals, or adapt routines or habits indicative of success. You might also be easily distracted by other people or competing priorities.
Together, the Control and Commitment scales represent the Resilience part of the Mental Toughness definition. This makes sense because the ability to bounce back from setbacks requires a sense of knowing that you are in control of your life and can make a change. It also requires focus and the ability to establish habits and targets that will get you back on track to your chosen path.
This is the extent to which you are driven and adaptable. To be high on the Challenge scale means that you are driven to achieve your personal best, and you see challenges, change, and adversity as opportunities rather than threats; you are likely to be flexible and agile. To be low on the Challenge scale means that you might see change as a threat, and avoid novel or challenging situations out of fear of failure.
This is the extent to which you believe in your ability to be productive and capable; it is your self-belief and the belief that you can influence others. To be high on the Confidence scale is to believe that you will successfully complete tasks, and to take setbacks in stride while maintaining routine and even strengthening your resolve. To be low on the Confidence scale means that you are easily unsettled by setbacks, and do not believe that you are capable or have any influence over others.
Together, the Challenge and Confidence scales represent the Confidence part of the Mental Toughness definition. This represents one’s ability to identify and seize an opportunity, and to see situations as opportunities to embrace and explore. This makes sense because if you are confident in yourself and your abilities and engage easily with others, you are more likely to convert challenges into successful outcomes.
About the Author and Psychologist – Ms. Moumita Nandy
Having completed my MSc in Clinical Psychology from Pune University I have been associated with Cancer Institute Chennai and Tata Medical Center, Kolkata for psychological morbidities in cancer care. I had also worked part time with an NGO named Reach Out For Life, Pune where I specially worked on Suicidal Awareness, Abuse and Addiction in all age groups. Furthermore, I pursued advanced Diploma in forensic psychology and criminal profiling & integrated clinical hypnotherapy. I am also trained as an expressive therapist and strong believer and practitioner of Mindfulness and EFT. Trained in CBT and REBT , I have been a consultant clinical psychologist for 6 years . Being associated with Mind Vriksha, a psychiatry clinic and as motivational speaker with Santulan . I have also done many workshops on Anxiety and Depression with several corporate house like pantaloons, Sunlife . I am also an active member on the e-cell panel of TISS. I am currently associated with a government Sponsored projects such as, national helpline for transgender community and alongside with Netram and ministry of social empowerment. Senior consultant at mind vriksha clinic. I am currently pursuing PhD in clinical psychology with a vision to increase awareness in the field of mental health across the country and executing the same via channels and initiatives.