Resilience is often defined as the ability to withstand, or recover quickly from, difficult circumstances. However, more than two years of a global pandemic, depressing news cycles, and anxiety have stopped many people from tapping into their resiliency in any consistent way.
The answer to improving our mental state and building up our resilience is within our control, though, when we adopt a “guard the door” mindset.
What does that mean, specifically? We need to be ruthless about what we mentally consume. To protect our mental health, our number one priority must be to guard the figurative door to our minds.
This is especially true during times of high stress and anxiety (for example, the times we’re living through right now). Here are two ways for you to guard your door and enhance your resilience during challenging times:
1. Limit Your News IntakeMake the life-enhancing move to stop consuming things for hours a day that will erode your overall mental state. If you’re working from home with cable news playing in the background 24/7, or if you’re running around town with breaking news alerts pinging your smartphone multiple times an hour, that is the antithesis of guarding the door.
This isn’t about sticking our heads in the sand and trying to ignore reality. A best practice is to select a specific time when you’ll get your news update (pro-tip: try scanning headlines from a trusted source) and then move on. The key is to be consciously aware about what you let in the door (in this case, the news), instead of leaving the door wide open and allowing yourself to unconsciously marinate in it for hours on end.
When we make our mental health a priority, it will provide us with the energy and resilience to take the necessary action to positively change our world at work and at home. Watching hours of cable news a day will NOT do that for you—there has never been a better time to detox from it.
2. Take Control of Your Social MediaSocial media usage has been on the rise for most people since the pandemic began in the spring of 2020. To curtail the sense of disconnection during the pandemic, people have found themselves reaching out to former high-school or college friends through social media.
This reconnection people are making has been mostly positive, but the increased interaction with social media made many people realize that there are a lot of people posting hateful, mean-spirited stuff. These posts and social media interactions can become draining.
Stressful times can cause you to stop guarding your mental door.
When you realize all the negative content that exists on social media is making you feel bad, you have a chance to guard your mental door. You can remove them from your accounts, and before long, you will feel the effects of eliminating the negativity from your feeds. This doesn’t mean that you need to delete or block everyone who you disagree with. But, if seeing a certain person in your social media feed is causing you to feel anxious or depressed, then you should limit your intake of them.