UT Austin professor Kevin Dalby discusses ways to develop greater mental resilience

mental health
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Mental resilience is important for people to have. When you get knocked down, mental resilience helps you get back up and carry on, regardless of what’s happening.

Having resilience allows you to navigate life’s sometimes troubled waters, to overcome challenges so you can accomplish goals and live a happy, fulfilling life.

People aren’t born with static mental resilience, though. It’s a trait that you can improve on your own over time.

In this article, Kevin Dalby, UT Austin professor, discusses four ways to develop more resilience by making small lifestyle changes.

#1. Connect with people

One of the best ways to build your resilience is to surround yourself with people who will build you up. You should prioritize relationships that allow you to connect with people who are understanding and empathetic.

Everyone needs a solid set of friends, family, and acquaintances who will validate your feelings and help you through your challenges. The support these people provide you will boost your ability to bounce back.

#2. Be well

When you take care of yourself, you increase your resilience. Keep in mind that there are two pillars of wellness — physical and mental. Your physical wellness is directly connected to your mental wellness, and vice versa.

When you eat, drink, sleep and exercise well, you will feel better mentally. You’ll be able to handle stress in healthy ways and avoid possible depression or anxiety. By practicing mindfulness practices — such as yoga, meditation, journaling, or other tactics — you’ll also be promoting wellness.

As you put your mind and body in optimal states, you’ll work on making yourself more resilient. By providing yourself with positive reinforcements along the way, you will keep your motivation high to keep overcoming the challenges that arise.

#3. Be purposeful

When you find a purpose and set goals in life, you’ll be fostering your self-worth while helping others at the same time. Examples of this would be volunteering your time at a local food pantry. By helping those in need, you’ll be empowering yourself and allowing you to build more resilience for times of need.

You can also serve as strong support for your close relationships. By providing the same support to others as they provide to you, you’ll be reinforcing resilient behaviors between both of you.

#4. Seek help when you need it

From time to time, you may face challenges that you find too difficult to handle on your own. You may even hesitate to confide in your close relationships or need more professional help they can provide.

In times like these, Dr. Kevin Dalby suggests it’s essential to seek professional help. No longer is going to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or another person who can provide therapeutic services taboo. Don’t ever feel ashamed or afraid to seek outside help when you need to work through something you’re experiencing in your life.

By visiting a mental health professional, you’ll be getting the solid support you need. These professionals are specifically trained in helping people work through certain situations, and in the process, build their mental resilience to be able to handle everything that knocks them down.

About Dr. Kevin Dalby

Dr. Kevin Dalby is a chemical biology and medicinal chemistry professor who is currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he examines the mechanisms of nature and cancer to develop new treatments and teach and motivate students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.

Story by Jessica Brown


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