As I sit down to write this blog, I’m not going to lie, my mental resilience is being tested to the max right now. But it’s ok because throughout my journey back to health, every setback, obstacle and sinkhole that has been placed in my path has been for a reason, and this is certainly no different.
This test is here to help me to develop my mental resilience.
After coming out the other side of chronic migraines, I still felt like I was facing setback after setback and I shared this with my amazing mentor Anthony Cocco, founder of The MENT™ Protocol, and he said one thing that hit me like a bullet in the head. “Why does it have to be so hard?”
I suddenly realized that I could either let the setback be overwhelming, difficult and trying or I could choose to be resilient to it. So from that day forward, that is what I decided to do.
Immediately I sat down with my laptop and typed into google “Characteristics/habits of mentally strong people” and began creating a list and this is what I came up with.
Mentally strong people;
- Always fight when defeated
- Are ok with delayed gratification/are very patient
- They make mistakes but try again
- Are happy to say no
- They don’t dwell on the negatives or mistakes
- Are relentlessly optimistic/positive
- Create boundaries
- They have a long term vision and can see the perspective on today
- Practice self-compassion
- Focus on progress
- Avoid feeling sorry for themselves and throwing a pity party
- Have positive self-talk
- They keep their emotions in check, especially negative ones
- They never quit or want to give up
As I typed up my list in a word doc, printed several copies and stuck them all around the house, put my one in my diary and one in my handbag, I knew that it was time to take a new approach to my challenges.
After all, from my work in cognitive behavioural therapy, I knew that the above were simply habits/learned behaviours, and they were both something that could be changed with patience and hard work. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I had a feeling that this was the last piece in the puzzle I needed in order to fully regain my life and feel in control again.
So I began… OH MY GOD, IT WAS SO HARD! Harder than I ever expected. I realised that my default response to most situations included creating a drama, feeling sorry for myself, catastrophizing, crying nine times out of ten, getting emotional and playing out the worst case scenario in my head. Man, I had a ton of work to do!
As I began trying to change my reactions, at first they were just automatic, I couldn’t control them. From there I progressed on to being able to bring that awareness into the forefront of my mind and catch myself before I reacted.
Immediately I would look at my checklist of habits and ask myself “How would a mentally resilient person react to this situation?”, and from there, I would change my behaviour and how I dealt with the situation whether it be bettering my self-talk, keeping my emotions in check or maintaining perspective on the current day.
During this process, I kept a self-esteem diary which helped me reflect on each day and what I did well, what was interesting for me and what I was proud of. This was crucial for me because every single day I was able to see that even if it be a tiny change in my behaviour, I was making a change from those automatic unconscious learned behaviours. Six weeks later I am still keeping this diary.
So what has changed as a result of this? Well, previous to this point in time I had been suffering from some tension headaches. They were undoubtedly getting better but what I found amazing was the more I developed these new habits, the less pain and headaches I felt! I was preventing tension even having the opportunity to arise in the first place.
The more controlled I became, the better I felt.
Then the universe came and smacked me in the face quite literally with another health challenge (three weeks with excruciating teeth pain), that previously would have absolutely flawed me. However, my new habits helped me to stay calm and in control of my mind and body which as a result meant no headaches even during the most testing and challenging of times. I honestly could not believe it. Previously I would have been absolutely flawed in this situation headache wise.
Additionally, this has hugely helped reduce my anxiety about life in general. I don’t know if anyone else can relate but after being sick for a long period of time, you are fearful about getting sick in the future and this has taught me that no matter what life throws at me, health problems, relationship problems or worse, I have the ability to handle whatever comes my way.
With mental resilience I have learned that whatever life throws at me, I am strong enough and capable enough to overcome it.
#Health #Resilience #MentalStrength #Headaches #Healing