Kym Marsden’s monthly mental health column aims to help anyone suffering from any mental health concerns. If this article raises any issues for you please contact the resources at the bottom of this article.


How do we adjust and reset when confronted with adversity?  Have you ever wondered why some of us have the tenacity to ground ourselves more rapidly than others when confronted by a tragic loss or event?

It’s a fact that we will be exposed to stress across the domains in which work, live or socialise, particularly during these challenging times. This is why resilience is crucial, as it helps us to bounce back and ground ourselves when facing hardship or adversity and allows us to thrive, recover and continue.

Health Direct defines resilience as “the ability to cope with unexpected changes and challenges in your life. It’s not always possible to prevent stressful or adverse situations”.

Resilience is a commodity in high demand in 2020, but how do we cultivate it?  Well, you’ll be pleased to know there are many ways to boost your resilience, so let’s look at some key fundamentals that can assist you in this process.


Change your perspective to adopt an optimistic lens when managing problems that arise in your life

It’s impossible to stop problems from popping up, but we can adjust how we view and respond to them.

It is easy to view problems through an emotional lens, but I encourage you to take a step back, breathe, review and action the problem when you are calm. I do this sometimes daily; it allows me to ground myself and adopt a solution-focused outlook to break the problem into small bite sized chunks.

You will still have some discomfort, as we do with any problem we solve, but this process will allow you to pace yourself which will ensure you are not overwhelmed and can work toward a solution.


Set realistic goals

Many times we become ambitious, resulting in setting unrealistic goals that we don’t achieve. It’s not fulfilling and results in a loss of motivation.

One of the ways resilience increases is when you begin to see your goals come to fruition, so I recommend setting small achievable goals and building up to more complex ones.

Why not set daily goals that are simplistic in nature and achievable? It will boost your self-worth and confidence, in turn building resilience.


Face adversity but be ready to seek help

Tackle adversity head on when and where you can but be mindful to step away when needed to refocus. As tempting as it may be, don’t sweep adverse situations to the side as this will result in an accumulation of stress.

I encourage you to be assertive and decisive but know it’s okay to seek help from someone you trust if you are struggling. Talk through your concerns, focusing on what solutions can be applied to your problems within reasonable timeframes that fit your needs.


Explore opportunity for reflection and self-discovery

We never stop learning and there is always the opportunity to reflect and apply what we have learnt into action.

When you are ready to do so, I challenge you to reflect positively on your personal misfortunes as there will be a positive in there somewhere. This will you to shift that vulnerability and distress to an increased sense of self and a more balanced outlook on life in general.


Perspective is key

This can be challenging, as it requires us to view issues through an optimistic lens in order to adopt the right perspective to the problem at hand.

Persist, as it as it will eventually become your normal response when navigating even the most challenging circumstance. It also allows context, preventing the problem being blown out of proportion which is easy to do when we are emotional!  Practice makes perfect so keep at it.

In conclusion, I want to thank you as I feel humbled to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. I hope these tips assist to build your resilience reserves whilst helping to protect your overall social and emotional wellbeing.  Remember to take small steps and adapt these tips to fit your needs, as what works for one person will not necessarily work for another. This serves as a guide only to help you implement your own strategies.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental ill-health, call or visit the online resources below:

  • Lifeline – 13 11 14,
  • Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636, 
  • MensLine – 1300 789 978
  • Kids Helpline 1800 551 800
  • Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
  • Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet –

By Kym Marsden


Kym Marsden is a Kamilaroi woman and Accredited Mental Health Social Worker with over 19 years’ experience in Mental Health and Community Services. Her qualifications include BA Health Ageing and Community Services, Masters Social Work, Dip Counselling, Dip Community Services (AOD and Mental Health), and Cert IV Training and Assessment.