Mental Health Awareness Month: Growing Resilience

October is Mental Health Awareness Month. In the spirit of this fundamental component of humanity and well-being, we sat down with a few leaders we admire and asked them for “three things that they do to become more resilient.”

So, what is resilience? The American Psychological Association defines resilience as the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands. “Resilience is not, as many of us thought, an end state we can reach. It’s a constant process of becoming.” Arianna Huffington

When something goes wrong, do you tend to bounce back or fall apart? Being resilient won’t make challenges go away, but a foundation of resilience can allow you to see past them, find enjoyment in life, and be in a better position to handle stress. This then begs the question, can you develop and grow skills to become more resilient?

Many leaders throughout history have demonstrated remarkable resilience in the face of adversity–Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Mahatma Gandhi, Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Helen Keller. These leaders, along with countless others, exemplify resilience through their actions, perseverance, and ability to overcome significant challenges. Their stories inspire us to believe in the power of resilience and the potential for positive change. So, we asked leaders we greatly admire to answer the question, “what are some things we can do to grow our personal resilience?”

Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global

“Here are a few more than 3…

  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Watch 60-second Thrive Resets to focus on conscious breathing, gratitude, or just stretching, which, based on neuroscience, helps move you from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system and reduce cortisol levels
  • Get a few minutes in nature every day if you can 
  • Make time for things that give you joy
  • Instead of emailing your friends, give them a call and catch up on the phone
  • Set a social media cutoff time, and cut off even sooner if you find yourself doom-scrolling
  • Find a way to volunteer regularly
  • Write down three things you’re grateful for before bed
  • Or try habit stacking: think of three things you’re grateful for when you brush your teeth” 

In essence, the collective wisdom of these leaders converges on a few key principles — the cultivation of confidence, the power of simplicity, and the holistic integration of well-being practices. As October unfolds as Mental Health Awareness Month, let these insights serve as a beacon, guiding us toward a resilient and thriving future. By embracing confidence, simplicity, and holistic well-being, we not only weather the storms but also emerge stronger, more compassionate, and truly resilient.

Rachel Bu, CEO and founder of Authorne

“I firmly believe that cultivating confidence serves as the foundational step, yielding the ultimate reward of heightened resilience. Confidence and resilience share an intricate, positive relationship. When you possess confidence in your abilities and self-trust, confronting challenges, navigating adversity, and rebounding from setbacks become more manageable, thus fortifying your resilience. Commencing with the belief in your capacity to surmount obstacles is an auspicious starting point. Engaging in positive self-encouragement, simply affirming aloud, ‘I can do this’ and ‘I have conquered this before,’ can wield profound influence.” 

“What’s truly fascinating about this question, as I let my mind wander, is that it leads me to reflect on my upbringing. I recall how the term ‘confidence’ was somewhat linked to ‘arrogance.’ My mom always instilled in me the importance of humility and cautioned against being overly ‘confident.’ It wasn’t until recent years that I came to realize that confidence is, in essence, self-trust. It doesn’t equate to arrogance; rather, it signifies self-awareness and the simple act of trusting oneself that you can achieve your goals.“

Karen Mangia, Host of Success from Anywhere Podcast

“Three things to do during challenging times to grow your resilience are…

  1. Pause. Neuroscience shows that we can correct stress in just 60 to 90 seconds.
  2. Ponder. What is the kindest thing I can do for myself right now?
  3. Prioritize. Prioritize one small step that you can take to invest in yourself – something that takes less than five minutes.”

Kara Cecala, Co-Founder of 101Media

“Three things to do to cultivate resilience are…

1. Listen to the Mindset Mentor podcast 

2. Focus on my one thing for the day. Share the one thing in the morning with someone who can hold me accountable, and at the end of the day, share an update with them. Challenging times typically are when I feel like there’s a million things or no sense of direction, so focusing on just one thing helps provide balance and fulfillment.

3. Say an affirmation out loud. Most of my passwords are affirmations, too — the more I can remind and repeat affirmations to myself, the more that I believe in myself.”

Donna Letier, Co-Founder and CEO of Gardenuity

Cultivating resilience, learning from others, practicing self care, and getting a little dirty.

Practice self-care; taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being is crucial for resilience. And remember not to be discouraged by setbacks. Tomorrow is always a new day. Most importantly, celebrate small victories along the way to maintain motivation.

Adapt and be flexible, embrace change as an opportunity for growth, and be open to trying new strategies or seeding alternative solutions when faced with obstacles. I get to witness this every day through my daughter Jillian. She can’t walk, so she learned to scoot. She needs help in most activities, so she asks with a smile. She doesn’t run like most, so she learned to walk in a walker and won four gold medals in Special Olympics.

Let nature nurture you, and embrace getting a little dirty in the garden. Connecting with nature allows you to connect with the natural world and develop a sense of awe and appreciation for the cycles of growth and renewal. Gardening also requires nurturing, as it cultivates the ability to endure setbacks and adapt to changing conditions despite challenges.

Doug Platts, COO of Gardenuity

Stay curious, always be self-aware, and stay connected to the world, your community, and nature. Learn from your kids– they are the picture of resilience.

Stevi Gable Carr, Founder and CEO of Wise Wellness Guild

I firmly believe that resilience can only be developed in partnership with rest and renewal. When we rest our minds, we intentionally allow space for grounding and realignment. Renewal enables our energy to be cultivated through the growth and expansion of our sense of self and purpose, allowing us the motivation to continue to tackle challenges as they arise. 

The leaders who lead by example demonstrate determination, perseverance, and a positive attitude; they inspire others to adopt a similar mindset and approach to difficulties. We learn from their stories and are inspired by their openness to share their own struggles and failures. They each have a growth mindset and are always learning and growing. Each one of these leaders is not afraid to get dirty and they cultivate a culture of resilience.