A woman sits cross-legged in a studio, practising mindfulness.

6 Great Ways to Build Mental Resilience and Handle Stress Better

Life can be stressful. From work deadlines to relationship issues to health concerns, there never seems to be a shortage of things causing us anxiety.

While some stress is normal, too much can take a real toll on both your mental and physical health.

Strong boundaries give you a sense of control over your life, even during stressful times.

However, collaborative care will enable you to channel your energy into meaningful priorities, leading to greater career and relationship satisfaction. 

Building resilience gives you the skills to cope with challenges and bounce back from adversity.

Here are six great techniques for developing greater mental toughness and keeping stress under control.

Woman in an Ice Hole wearing gloves and knitted hat.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness means living consciously in the present moment. Instead of worrying about the future or ruminating on the past, mindfulness trains you to find calm by focusing on the here and now.

Set aside a few minutes each day to sit quietly and tune into the present. Pay attention to sights, sounds, physical sensations, thoughts, and emotions without judgement.

Apps like Calm and Headspace offer guided mindfulness sessions for beginners. Staying grounded in the present builds resilience over time.

Go for a Cold Plunge

Exposing yourself to extreme cold activates your sympathetic nervous system, releasing feel-good endorphins that lower stress hormones. There’s lots more info about cold plunging on the Cold Plunge Facts website.

Start slowly with a cool shower, then work up to an icy dip in a bath, lake or the ocean. Always check with your doctor first.

The sense of accomplishment plus the mood boost and anti-inflammatory effects make cold water immersion a great way to build mental fortitude.

Establish Healthy Coping Strategies

Unhealthy coping strategies like drinking, emotional eating and lashing out at loved ones inevitably create more problems.

Build resilience by establishing healthy ways to manage difficult emotions instead. Go for a brisk walk or do yoga when you feel anxious.

Call a friend when you need to vent. Keep a journal to gain perspective on worries. Healthy coping skills interrupt the destructive cycle of negative behavior.

Over time, you gain confidence in your ability to self-soothe, no matter what life throws your way.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Resilience requires knowing your limits and learning to say no. Set healthy boundaries around your time and energy.

Avoid overcommitting at work or agreeing to unrealistic expectations. Manage expectations with difficult people. Protect time for self-care.

Strong boundaries give you a sense of control over your life, even during stressful times. They enable you to channel your energy into meaningful priorities, leading to greater career and relationship satisfaction.

Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude

Focusing on your blessings, rather than your burdens, is a proven way to improve mental health.

Write down three things you’re grateful for every evening before bed. Express daily appreciation to loved ones. Savor ordinary pleasures, like a warm cup of tea or cute dog on the street.

When challenges occur, look for the lesson or silver lining. Gratitude makes you more resilient by reminding you that life has beauty and meaning, despite the painful parts.

Developing an attitude focused on blessings will help you handle whatever comes your way.

Laugh It Off

Laughter really is good medicine when it comes to building resilience. Humor helps put things in perspective so that you don’t get overwhelmed by daily stressors.

Seek out uplifting funny videos and jokes to give yourself a regular dose of laughter. Surround yourself with people who make you smile.

If a particularly frustrating situation has you wanting to cry, try laughing instead.

Not taking yourself too seriously and finding the humor in difficult moments develops flexibility and resilience.

Laughter relieves tension when you’re feeling anxious or insecure. Along with all the other techniques on this list, remember to laugh your way to greater resilience.

Resilience is a set of skills that can be learned and strengthened over time.

By practicing mindfulness, facing challenges like cold plunging, establishing healthy coping strategies and boundaries, and cultivating gratitude, you can build the mental muscle needed to navigate life’s inevitable ups and downs.

Start incorporating a few of these techniques, and you’ll begin to handle stressors with greater ease.

365 Days of Gratitude