Life is filled with various challenges – these can be highly personalised, or they can be experienced collectively at a societal level.

The ability of an individual to deal with both everyday encounters and longer-term battles is encapsulated by the term psychological resilience.

“Psychological resilience is our ability to be able to manage complex, difficult and everchanging situations. And to be able to do that with a level of capacity that allows us to move back towards steady ground as quickly as practicable.”

Another way to think about psychological resilience, as explained by Ms Zerman, would be to picture a bucket of water where each individual has a different water level in their bucket. The resting water level is dependent on a range of factors – including genetics, past- experiences, intergenerational trauma and everyday pressures. As stress builds in one’s life, the bucket fills with more water. When the bucket is overflowing, that individual will struggle to deal with life battles, All of us then need to make sure we regularly do things that are good for ourselves such as regular walks, catching up with friends or family and sleeping well. These good practices become protective factors in our lives or in the case of your personal bucket these act as holes at the bottom of the bucket that ensure it is continuously draining so it doesn’t spillover.

It is also important to note that psychological resilience is something which can be developed over time. There’s a range of protective factors which can help improve one’s mental health.

Sometimes, these protective factors may not be enough to keep life pressures under control – and that is okay.

“You’ve just got to be kind to yourself. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter what our intentions are – life is really hard and it’s not always our fault. You’ve got to be kind, try your best and hope you can connect with people who engage with you in a respectful, non-judgemental stance.”

In these circumstances, connecting with a psychologist can be extremely helpful. Professional mental health services can help individuals prioritise themselves, identify why they are feeling overwhelmed with life occurrences as well as provide tailored solutions.

If you are, or you know someone, who feels as though they need help dealing with life at the moment, the Epworth Clinic in Camberwell hosts a range of mental health services. They have a multidisciplinary team who work together to apply a holistic approach to mental health care. More information about the available services can be found here.

Author Kristyna Stepnicka

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