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Resilience is Key

How do you bounce back from mental health setbacks? Here are some tips from around the world!

Some of my best coaches in sports told me long ago (and even recently) that’s it’s not how and why we make mistakes that is the problem. What matters most is how to adjust and change to recover from them. Tall order, but I know from personal experience that it can be done. I manage my Bipolar Disorder with many tools that all work towards resilience.

Here are a few tips from friends and family around the world when asked the question, “How do you get yourself out of a funk?”

My Aunt Barbara from Mystic, Connecticut, USA, says Spring weather might help. But also, this: “Stop thinking thoughts of all kinds, such as things to get done, things that happened, the long-gone past, everything. Turn up music, go for a stroll, I even go for lunch, or a movie. I’m totally alone so I can’t let a depressing funk settle in.” I do try to connect with my aunt as much as I can on this last point.

Walks are high on the list, with myself as well, as I often walk down the East Coast Park for mental health management. I love to hear the birds especially! Larysa, who lives in Texas, USA, says this about walks:

“Long walks with no pace and just the sound of my breath are helpful. It helps me work out the noise in my head. Sometimes, it only takes a few minutes; sometimes, I'm out a long time. Whatever it takes, walks gives me peace and a timeout.”

Indeed, walking is a therapeutic method we’ve taken up with the American Women’s Association’s Listen Ladies, as we schedule a Walk-And-Talk every month. Local therapists here in Singapore, including Harmony Counselling, also offer this service instead of in-office therapy.

Erin, from Georgia, USA, says reconnecting with old and close friends helps her bounce back from downers. “I spend time with people who truly know, love, and appreciate me. My way-back girls, usually. It helps me remember who I am and what makes me happy.” I also am keen to reach out to the Golden Oldies from home to give me a boost because they “get” me.

Three respondents, Sue from Connecticut, USA; Dawn from Rhode Island, USA; and Tamar from Tel Aviv, Israel, lauded the choice of getting a dog. You might note that is exactly what my last Headspace column talked about! Sue says she just can’t be in a funk around her fur baby. “He always cheers me up.” Dawn, in fact, only sent a picture of her dog because words just weren’t enough to answer the question.

Alicia, from Rhode Island, USA, says to focus on positive quotes and play positive music. There’s no shortage of positive quotes in the world today, from people like Brene Brown, to Eckhardt Tolle, Oprah, Deepok Chopra and the late Louise Hay. There are even apps you can put on your phone to give you daily dose of happy. Music can really touch your heart, so put on the candy pop, yoga chillax music or whatever style of jam boost your mood. For me, it's Metallica and Kirtan singer Krishna Das…helluva mix!

Other random suggestions included looking at or taking photos of nature, buying a plant (known to boost moods actually!), drinking water, taking a long drive (maybe a bus ride here in Singapore), listening to a funny podcast (because laughter can cure the blues). Most especially, Marguerite in California, USA, says to recognize being in a depressive funk or otherwise bad mood is legit. “It’s not uncommon,” she says.

That last sentiment wraps up the theme: you are not alone in your funk feelings. We are not alone. So don’t feel guilty and don’t be afraid to reach out or give some of these tips a try. Fill that Headspace with positive action and you’ll likely be able to tolerate the blues and get past it soon.

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