Building Mental Resiliency is Trickier Than Building Physical Resiliency

The Physical

The first step in getting fit and building muscle is to routinely exercise. The next step is to apply progressive overload by increasing the difficulty and volume of workouts over time. Doing so slowly conditions muscles to handle more weight in a palatable way and avoids injury. Your muscles can slowly “ramp up” their capable workload by small percentage increases. Everyone can learn about this with 30 minutes of research. Notice how gyms are equipped in a way that allows people to easily apply progressive overload:

The Mental

People typically build mental resiliency through their lived experiences. Examples are trauma from injury, loss of a loved one, financial struggles, etc. I think most can agree that being mentally resilient against the inevitable hardships in our lives is a good thing. So where’s the gym for our minds? The library?

Is there a place people can go to ramp up the stresses and challenges that build mental fortitude? From experience, the events that I’ve overcome that contributed to my mental resiliency have come sporadically and in wildly fluctuating forms and levels of intensity. They cannot be predicted. This is the equivalent of going to the gym one day to bench 135 pounds, and the next day attempting to bench 315. Because it is impossible to plan your life such that events occur in a “progressive overload” style, we must do our best to mimic hardships to train our mental resiliency.

How Does One Train Mental Resiliency?

Here are a few approaches that I’ve personally used with varying success:

  • positive affirmation audio tracks (e.g. dejaru22’s TERMINATE)
  • do hard mental exercises that stretch your brain
  • meditation
  • sauna
  • get out of your comfort zone
    • strike up conversations with strangers
    • go to a meetup about something you know nothing about
    • learn to cook a new recipe

This list is woefully incomplete, but hopefully, it gives readers some ideas. I haven’t fully fleshed out my thoughts on this subject and I hope to come back with more thoughts later. I didn’t bother explaining the why of seeking to increase mental and physical resiliency as I consider that common sense. Let me know how you build mental resiliency.

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