May is Mental Health Awareness Month and is a good time to refocus on mental well-being.
Over the past few years, there has been significant events and traumas that have occurred throughout our society. Research has studied the effect of large-scale traumas and disasters on communities. The COVID-19 pandemic and other social issues have increased mental health challenges for many of us,but wehave also been given the opportunity to reflect, become more aware, and practice and develop our flexibility and resilience.
Some people think of flexibility and resilience as traits one is born with (hardiness), or an outcome (presence of post-traumatic stress or growth), but in fact, resilience can be taught, learned and strengthened.
“Flexibility and resilience take an intentional focus to develop and strengthen these important skills.Flexibility and resilience are processes of adapting well to changing circumstances, including adversity. We all know things are going to continue to change, we just don’t know exactly how,” said Kimberly Myers, behavioral health clinical programs manager at Intermountain Health.
“When we get far enough past big changes, set-backs or adversities, we can look back with perspective, and consider its effects on our lives and identities, reflect on the skills we developed, the actions we took, the lessons we learned, and the reasons we kept going,” she added.
Asking yourself “What do I do when times get hard?” or “Where do I derive the ability to make it through tough times?” reminds us of our personal skills and characteristics that we can use.
The questions: “Who can I ask for help when times get hard, and who can I help?” address our social supports and sense of connection, which help us not to feel all alone in any particular stuggle. Finally, asking ourselves “Who do I want to be when this is over and what will it have meant for me?” helps us to focus on a sense of meaning and purpose.Our contentment in life often has less to do with the circumstances going on around us, and more to do with our focus and the narrative we tell ourselves.
Intermountain behavioral health experts have said to think of resilience like a balance scale where negative experiences tip the scale towards negative outcomes, positive experiences towards positive
outcomes. Flexibility and resilience add weight to the positive side of the scale to keep our lives in balance or even tip toward the positive in the face of very negative experiences. Go do something you enjoy; if you can’t do it right now, then plan to do something as circumstances change, and make sure to include others in the planning.
If you want to speak to someone about increasing your flexibility and resilience to meet life’s challenges, you can call the Intermountain Health Behavioral Health Navigation Line at 833-442-2211. The hotline is a new service provided by Intermountain and is designed to help anyone in the community find the resources that they need.
The Intermountain Health Behavioral Health Navigation Line is a single phone number where you can call and speak with caregivers in our organization about you or your family’s needs and be directed to life-assisting services, schedule an appointment, or connect with Intermountain’s Behavioral Health Connect Care. This is a new virtual behavioral health service that connects you to needed behavioral health care for you or your loved one in real time. For more information, visit intermountainhealthcare.org/behavioralhealth