2020 was a hard year for many of us. The national pandemic changed the way we all work and live; and just when we thought that was enough, raging bushfires in Western Australia have emerged as the latest threat to Australian homes and livelihoods.
It seems 2021 will continue to test the strength of our resilience. We can’t help the cards we’re dealt but we can learn to better deal with them. Here’s 5 ways to build your mental resilience and cope with stress in 2021.
1. Practice gratitude every day
It’s a fact that practicing gratitude makes you a happier person. There’s 45 years of research to show that it helps you to feel happier, cope better during challenging times and have better mental health overall.
This is because when you practice gratitude you teach yourself to pay attention to what you’ve got and not worry about what you don’t have. A simple exercise to help you train this is by writing down three things that went well for you at the end of the day, or by answering any of the questions below:
- Who is someone you feel really grateful for today and why?
- What is it about your home that makes it your special place?
- What are three things that went well for you today?
- What’s something you’re looking forward to tomorrow?
2. Shift your perspective
Reconditioning yourself and the way you think is no easy feat. But if anyone knows the value of this lesson, it’s Hugh van Cuylenburg, founder of The Resilience Project.
Hugh’s journey began after he graduated from university when he visited a remote Indian village to teach English at a local school.
“In this desert community, there was no running water, no electricity and no beds; everyone slept on the floor of their hut. Despite the fact these people had very little to call their own, I was continually blown away by how happy they were,” Hugh explained.
“It was this experience that led me to some pretty simple conclusions about the things that we need to be doing here in Australia if we want to be happier.”
Now, as the founder of the wildly successful organisation The Resilience Project, Hugh delivers evidenced-based programs to schools, companies, and sporting clubs to help others discover the benefits of practicing gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.
Richmond AFL Player Dustin Martin is an avid fan of The Resilience Project. He uses The Resilience Project journal as a tool to assist and motivate his mental health and said: “If you want to be good at something in life, you’ve got to practice it, and your mental health is no different”.