‘Psychological resilience’ refers to the differences between how people respond and cope with difficult or stressful situations. People who are highly resilient are empowered to act confidently in a stressful situation, are less affected from stress, recover faster and are more open to personal growth from such occurrences.
Now think about this: It is widely acknowledged that mental disorders such as stress and depression have increased in recent years. People are also relying on technology to move less, eat faster and bring ease to their lives.
Could our lack of movement and poor food choices reduce our physical and mental resilience? Therefore, is the opposite also true, could becoming more physically active increase our resilience?
So how does exercise help?
Firstly, exercise not only strengthens our physiological make up but also releases endorphins, which are powerful chemicals that enhance our mood and self-esteem. Most people talk about what they can’t do but good personal trainers encourage you to focus on what you can do. Quite often, the lessons you learn from personal training enable you to apply these skills to the rest of your life with rewarding results.
Four key principles for being mentally resilient.
Responsibility – We may blame everyone and everything for our issues rather than take active steps to change whatever we are capable of. We choose what we think, how we feel and what we do. Exercise is a strategy to ensure you are responsible. Committing to yourself daily will teach you responsibility for being healthy and taking on the challenge yourself and teaches you to be responsible for your health. If its’ going to be, It’s up to me! In life this quote carries through and your resilience develops.
Adaptability – We may seem mentally healthy when we are suited to our normal conditions, i.e., our jobs, relationships and home etc, however if these conditions change and we are unable to adapt, we may be at risk of poor mental health. Exercise teaches your body and brain to adapt daily. From different classes to to trying something new you are put in a place where you learn and adapt, learn and adapt!
Commitment – A key aspect of commitment is that it provides us with meaning in our lives. If we ask ourselves, ‘What is the meaning of life?’ then our commitments should provide the answer (note: yours should be in various areas, not just one or two i.e., relationships, career, health, home, wealth, leisure). Exercise teaches you to commit to yourself when perhaps you would rather do something else or rationalize in your mind some excuse.
Confidence – Is the belief in your ability to get things done. We may prefer to stay in our comfort zone but eventually everything changes and unless we change our comfort zone, these become comfort traps and can sabotage our happiness! Exercise gets you out of your comfort zone. How do you feel once you have accomplished something you didn’t think you could do?
By practicing these steps to building resilience through exercise, you will learn things about yourself that will give you the strength to harness that little voice inside. This voice can be your best friend or worst nightmare.