Emotional and Mental Resilience

I talk about mental health a lot. I talk about teen mental health even more. Between my own very real, deep struggles and mental healthy journey and losing my son to suicide, it’s hard to ignore. And I don’t even want to.

heart hand on shallow focus lens

One of the most powerful things in my life has been learning about my own brain, how it ticks and why. Obviously, I don’t have all of the answers, but the answers I do have, the tools, skills and ability I have to help myself or know where to get help is so very, very empowering.

I like to think of mental health like physical health. Sometimes we’re well, fully functioning and feeling amazing. No complaints at all. Other times we feel a little tired, maybe have some sniffles and a bit of a headache. Still totally functioning, just not feeling 100%. Other times, we’re totally under the weather. Fever, body aches, sore throat, coughing, not at all feeling well. We’re not getting out of bed much, we need some extra help and support. Maybe someone is making our food for us, bringing some extra fluids and medicines to help us mend. And then sometimes, we end up with a serious illness. We need a lot of extra support. A lot of medicine we don’t normally take, more Dr. visits than normal and more intervention. We may get more support from our extended family, friends and our community.

I would love it if we as a society could look at mental health the same. Sometimes we feel super great! We’re happy, at the top of our game. We’re functioning and we’re able to handle life with ease and problem solve without issue. Other times, we may feel just a little off. Maybe a little sad or frustrated. We’re still completely functioning, we just don’t feel totally like our normal selves. Then there is sometimes, we’re not feeling well. We notice we’ve been sad all week, we’ve not wanted to go to school or work and it’s taken a lot of effort for us to go about our normal routine. We may have needed a friend or family member to talk to. To help us sort out what’s happening in our brains and talk us through some difficult emotions. And then sometimes, we feel very unlike ourselves. Maybe we recognize it, maybe someone else points in out to us. We’re not functioning as we normally do, we’re having really big, difficult emotions, thoughts or behaviors that we’re unable to manage on our own. We need extra support and sometimes we need medicines, therapists or counselors to lend us extra help and support as we navigate this space of mental unwellness.

Being physically unwell doesn’t often bring judgment or shame by ourselves or by others but unfortunately often times being mentally or emotionally unwell does. Both from ourselves and others.

I believe as we talk more openly, willingly, and non-judgmentally more people will be willing to open up and ask for help sooner. Talking to kids and teenagers about this is SO, SO crucial. If a child or teenager becomes comfortable talking about what’s happening inside their head and their heart, we can help support kids before they’re very unwell.

I believe so much in creating mental and emotional resilience in our kids and teens. I truly believe as we do this, we can build a generation that is more in tune with their emotions, more willing to express what’s going on for them, and they’ll be more aware of the help and resources available.

I believe in prevention. Just as we take vitamins, stay well hydrated, move our bodies and ingest healthy foods for a healthy body, we must be preventative for the health of our minds as well. We must learn to recognize and name our emotions, learn how to feel them and process them. We must learn to be aware of and manage our thoughts. These are all simple tools to teach to people, teens and even very young kids.

Mental and emotional resilience. This is what I so passionately believe in and teach. One definition of resilience is: the capacity to withstand or to recover quickly from difficulties.

We can be sure that life does, has always and will always have difficulties of some sort, varying in degree of seriousness. As we teach our children, our teens as well as adults skills and tools that build emotional and mental resilience we’re setting them up for a life of success. Success to navigate and manage all the things that life offers in a healthy, hopeful, and successful way. Life is not without its challenges, so it’s necessary to be equipped with skills and tools to successfully navigate all life offers us.

We can also switch gears out of gaining and maintaining general mental health to looking at what great mind management and emotional resilience can produce in our lives for us. As we manage our minds and learn about our emotions, we are literally able to create amazing, beautiful things in our lives. Setting and achieving goals, both small and large is a huge payoff of learning to manage our minds and our emotional selves.

So much goodness can be found in this work. Building mental and emotional resilience not only keeps us safe and healthy, it can propel us into our futures while our hopes, goals and dreams are realized by what we’re able to achieve as we strengthen our mental and emotional lives. There is no drawback. There is no negative to making this a priority in our own lives as adults and teaching our children and teens.🤍

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