You’re not Alone…Building Mental Resilience

There has been a lot focus on Mental Wellness since the start of COVID-19 up to now.

An estimated 10% of the world population or 790 million people will suffer from Mental Health related illnesses according to the World Bank. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that the majority of people, almost 30% to 80% do not seek help and treatment, it is estimated that between 10% to 12% are receiving treatment.

We know that there are an abundant of resources on the web to help us start looking into Mental Wellness. Are we using the mostly free resources to help ourselves or others around us? The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years

“Mental Health is not a destination, but a process.  

It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going”

Noam Shpancer

The important question to ask oneselves, is how do you know, you are depressed or recognise the signs of depression in others? Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just would not go away, you may have depression. 

More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming. Men in particular can feel angry and restless. 

10 common depression symptoms

  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  5. Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Ling Anne Hsieh, Co-Founder of Project Green Ribbon (PGR) has a simple and powerful mission statement, “A ground-up initiative by the community for the community”. PGR is a ground-up initiative founded by the community for the community. PGR is here to lend support to those struggling with their Mental Health and to allow the unheard to be heard. PGR is moving towards a resilient and inclusive society.

PGR hopes to build a compassionate society, and empower people regardless of their background. Instead of dealing with trying to fix the aftereffects. PGR tries to build mental resilience similar to a vaccine which helps to equip you with the skills and knowledge to better equip you when the time comes. 

“The power of healing yourself through the act of helping others”

Ling Anne Hsieh’s personal mantra

Ling Anne Hsieh shares: “Now that the world has taken a hit on our mental wellbeing due to covid, I view it positively because this has allowed us to hear, learn and be more aware of what mental health is. Just a few years back, talking about Mental health would immediately strike a person with a statement such as “IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH YOU? Are you crazy, or Stop thinking too much? “

Ling says: “Learning from this experience, it is obvious that we should make a choice to start learning and taking the steps necessary to care for our mental health by building your mental resilience instead of waiting for something big to happen which might then be too late.”

Mental Resilience is not something you are born with. It is not a personality or genetic trait. Mental Resilience enables you to be equipped with the ability to face the adversities that happen in your life, adversities come in different shapes and sizes, family, work, marriage, parenthood, death of a loved one, financial worries, among others. 

Starting with 5 small steps which allows you to be more aware of yourself and your mental state. 

1.Recognise the signs of stress, the feeling of being overwhelmed, difficulty in concentrating, not producing and being productive be it at work or home. Learn to recognize and understand where these feelings are coming from instead of just brushing it off and telling yourself “it will go away”.  

Then take action to counter the stressors. For example, going for a walk, having a nice long bath, journaling. Spending time with yourself (me time).

2. Develop a health and positive routines, the rat race in society can knock us off all the time forgetting and ignoring ourselves. Try to keep your routine as stable as possible. 

Routines that include your (me time) 3 meals a day, getting to bed and waking up the same time. Putting down all devices away at a specific time. We tend to forget, but the basic and simplest things we overlook can go a long way when we take effort to put ourselves first. 

3. Positive Affirmations, easier said than done I must admit. Look at it this way, our mind is like a jar. The mind has 2 slots, 1 called Positive and the other called Negative. 

Being humans we tend to focus more on the Negativity aspect sub consciously. And Positivity is often overlooked or ignored. We cannot expect anyone to fill our Positive Jar, but we can choose and control which jar we want to fill. Taking conscious effort a couple of minutes in the morning and before you go to bed to remind yourself of 5 positive affirmations can change many things in how you feel, and handle situations daily. And in no time, being positive would be natural to you. 

4. Mindfulness, with all that I have shared above. Being present in everything we do can reduce anxieties, anxiousness and remove all the unnecessary mental barriers. When we are able to focus on the present, we become more productive and our concentration increases. 

It is also important to choose your close ones and friends wisely. People who are either journeying with you and giving you positive and energized vibes. Having a community of like-minded individuals should not be underestimated. 

5. SEEKING HELP is not a sign of weakness. Seeking help from anyone you are comfortable with or a professional can be helpful. Everyone needs help at some point in their lives. There is nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, having regular therapy can help you process, manage and build resilience for your emotional, physical and mental health. 

Taking small steps and making changes in your life is within your control. Constantly working on yourself can build better resilience in life. Everyone manages things differently, do what is best and suitable for you. There is no right or wrong about it. And if you ever feel that you need someone to talk too, please do not hesitate to reach out. Talking about your mental health is the first step towards a better mental space. 

Editor: Dr Renee Ralph

Co-Authors Ling and Alrick 

Ling Anne Hsieh

Ling Anne Hsieh

Ling Anne Hsieh the Co-founder of https://projectgreenribbon.org/ – A ground-up Initiative and it is her vision to ensure that others get the help that she did not get. To allow the unheard to be heard, the isolated to know “You are not alone”. Ling Anne Hsieh strongly believes in “The power of healing yourself through the act of helping others.” and that “Charity Begins From Home” 

alrick dorett

Alrick Dorett

Alrick has been in the advertising industry for the last 25 years. A CPA by trade, he is currently the COO of TBWA Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and the Chief Pricing Officer for TBWA Asia. Alrick has been part of the transformation team and operationalizing those outcomes with the companies that he has worked for. His interest lies in incorporating technology into businesses, B2B pricing, and coaching and mentoring start-ups and troubled businesses. Alrick is also Co-founder of The Brilliant Foundation 

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Last modified: June 3, 2021