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May 16

Building Resilience During Mental Health Awareness Month

Posted on May 16, 2023 at 11:05 AM by Bridget Craker

May is an important month - it’s Mental Health Awareness Month! Mental health is a foundational aspect of people’s well-being. Throughout life, mental health can shift and change just as physical health can. Building individual resilience can help a person navigate these difficult times in life. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ Resilient Wisconsin campaign outlines four types of individual resilience; physical, mental, emotional, and social. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of each of these types of resilience and how to build resilience in that area. 

Physical Resilience 

Physical health and mental health are closely linked and can impact each other; if you have an injury or are feeling sick, you might start to feel down, for example. Taking care of your body is one way to build physical resilience. This will look different for everyone, but in general, moving your body and eating nutritious foods are important steps. Try thinking about what type of movement you enjoy doing; whether that be going for a walk or attending an exercise class with friends. Similarly, prioritize eating nutritious foods that you enjoy, rather than forcing yourself to eat some type of vegetable you dislike but heard was good for you. The important thing is that you move and include some fruits and vegetables in your diet! 


Mental Resilience 

When you develop mental resilience, you are better able to work through tough times by developing problem-solving skills. When going through a tough time, utilizing healthy coping skills is incredibly important; unhealthy coping skills, like using alcohol or other drugs, can make the issue worse. Another example of developing mental resilience is controlling how you respond to a problem; while we cannot control the circumstances of a situation, we can control how we react. Consider breaking problems into smaller tasks that you can manage to move forward. 

Emotional Resilience

When challenges arise, negative feelings or emotions like anger, fear, vulnerability, or sadness can come up. When these stressful events occur, pause, take some deep breaths, and check in with your feelings. Try to take a step back and reflect before reacting. It may help to understand where your emotions are coming from before doing anything else. When feeling angry or sad, you can also try to remember what made you feel better in the past. Try to identify who or what was helpful or unhelpful the last time you were feeling this way. Focusing on gratitude is another good way to build emotional resilience; try writing down a few things you are thankful for each day. 


Social Resilience

It’s important to build a supportive network of people who care about you and that you care about. Healthy relationships give us the ability to connect with those in our lives so we can support each other through challenging times. Reaching out to family or friends, a healthcare professional, or a community resource when you’re struggling can be difficult; but there are people who want to help. 

To learn more about resilience, check out the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website: