A crucial aspect of mental health involves being able to handle yourself through bad times. Given all the uncertainties of life, there will be moments where you feel that you’re at the lowest point of your life. The ability to remain strong will help you thrive even in the harshest environments. How does one build grit and resilience, though? Contrary to what most people believe, mental strength is a skill that you can hone through deliberate practice.
Grit and resilience are closely related, but they have slightly different definitions. Grit refers to your ability to maintain your interest to pursue a long-term goal, especially in the face of hardship. For example, a gritty salesperson will keep on following leads, and closing deals with passion even after a string of rejections. While being a difficult skill to hone, grit gives people the perseverance to chase after what they want in life.
Resilience refers more to how people respond after encountering an obstacle. Resilient people can bounce back better after a setback as they continue pursuing their goals. Resilience relies on an optimistic mindset and a perspective on obstacles as learning opportunities towards growth.
The Growth Mindset
One of the critical characteristics of people with grit and resilience is that they have a growth mindset. People with this mental disposition believe that skills can improve through effort. They think of obstacles as temporary hurdles that they can eventually overcome through their actions. They might even welcome adversity, given that they believe that challenges will only make them stronger and better.
This mindset is directly in contrast with the fixed mindset. People under this category think that skills are determined purely by genetics and external circumstances out of their control. Hence, they don’t see the value of putting effort towards skill-building.
Having the growth mindset correlates with having grit and resilience. It’s because people with this outlook have a stronger belief in their ability to control their situation. They tend to persist in finding ways to gain new skills. As they develop, they would then eventually surpass the obstacles blocking their path towards success.
People naturally have varying amounts of grit. However, it is still a skill that you can develop. You can start by assessing how resilient you are right now. How much do you persist in solving problems, even if there’s no assurance that you’ll succeed? Can you push through with what you need to do even if you have no motivation?
One way to practice grit is to become more decisive. Having to make a decision is usually a struggle for many people. While there’s no need to make rash judgments, develop the discipline of pushing through after you’ve made a decision.
It also helps to decouple your actions from your motivation. Many people schedule their lives based on when and how they feel motivated. While this is a great tip for optimizing performance, you won’t always have your motivation to back you up.
Practice doing activities based on discipline, such as by following strict schedules for working. You should get used to doing work even if you feel like doing something else. Fighting the temptation to slack off is a great way to develop grit.
It also helps to focus only on circumstances that you can control. People often spend too much time and energy on people and events that they can’t influence. This method will only drain your wellbeing and make you more inefficient. Instead of fussing over every little thing, you should direct your attention to what’s within your circle of control.
While gritty people might seem to have unbeatable mental strength, resilience is often more about avoiding unnecessary stress than forcing yourself to fight stress. Adequate stress management also bolsters your mental fortitude, allowing you to become more resilient.
Being optimistic about the situations in your life is a good start for managing stress. While hope and positive thinking won’t solve all your problems, they will help you latch on to your emotional strength even during the worst moments. Always believe in the reasonable outcomes that can appear, even if it seems that there’s no hope.
While grittiness allows you to push through distractions, being gritty doesn’t mean that you have to be productive every waking moment. Find time to balance your life through self-care and leisure activities. Willpower is a limited resource, even for people with high grit. A balanced lifestyle allows you to recharge so that you’re ready for anything.
A significant part of resilience involves having an attitude that embraces challenges. Rather than shying from adversity, resilient people actively seek to expand beyond their comfort zones. They avoid fruitless struggle, but they aren’t afraid to take on challenging tasks or try unfamiliar activities if it brings them closer to their goals.
Finally, you should never lose sight of your overall goals. What are you targeting in the long run? By focusing on your life objectives, you’re more apt to continue striving until you obtain success.
Grit and resilience are powerful traits that can make you mentally healthy. While people think of these two as personality traits, they are also skills that you can harness through practice and hard work. By adopting the appropriate mindsets and developing a healthy appetite for challenges, you can start fortifying your mental health with grit and resilience.