Stands a Shadow

I can’t recall when I first heard the terms ‘mindfulness’, ‘wellbeing’ and ‘mental resilience’.

However, I believe I may have dismissed them as another fad!

A lot of people far cleverer than me have acknowledged that we are living in a time of sensory overload and our brains and emotional core are, as of yet, not able to cope with half of it. You don’t have to look too far to realise that the youth of today especially are having to deal with far greater levels of so called ‘life essential information’ than most of us older folk could comprehend. Things have changed. Today’s children are living in a hand-held virtual world that is omnipresent and the speed at which social interaction is changing does not seem to be slowing. A frightening example came from a friend of mine’s son who told me that a teenager nowadays can go from being immensely popular to vilified and bullied in a matter of 3-4 wrongly placed ‘likes’ or ‘dislikes’.

Photo: Tracy Le Blanc, Pexels.

The worrying part is that this bullying seems inescapable as the very platform that got you into the situation in the first place is the only platform that can ‘reinstate’ you. That’s a lot for a child to withstand but I wonder if the fast moving environment they have been born into makes them mentally stronger, or do we need to start to build mental resilience in today’s children? In this instance I strongly believe that mental and physical resilience are similar and very much linked in that they need to be trained and practised. With physical fitness training we decrease our recovery time as we get better. Can we look at mental resilience in a similar way?

The military, quite correctly, see physical fitness (resilience) as an essential part of being able to cope with the demands of operations and demanding environments. Deploying to conflict zones is a challenging thing to endure and physical robustness is crucial to one’s coping mechanisms. And, when you return from operations you have, amongst other specialists, physical training instructors who will assist you to rebuild your strength and recondition you so you can be deployed again.

But what about the mental rebuild and reconditioning when the ‘platform that got you into the situation in the first place is the only platform that can ‘reinstate’ you’? The solution to mental resilience in society, or the military, does not come with an easy answer and will take time to build, or remedy in some cases. That said, there is a wealth of amazing people who are fighting this fight right now across the entire age spectrum and these people are clearing the pathway for us all to learn from.

There stands a shadow over mental health but this is changing as we talk more and more about it. If I have learned anything from my short mental resilience journey so far it is that talking is the key ingredient here. As I type I have 3 friends, the very best of men, who are suffering with mental health issues but through talking and practising mental health techniques they are making progress. There are a myriad books, seminars and courses that can and are helping individuals and organisations move towards a more mentally resilient society but for some getting access will be the hardest part.

Here at Inzpire, being predominantly former military, we regularly utilise our experience gained from the highly pressurised environment of operations to understand and deal with workplace stress. Because of this we understand that it is not only the full-throttle periods that require mental resilience but also the times in between. It is here that Inzpire leadership closely monitors its family, including our people who work remotely and from our Lincoln-based HQ; our aspiration being to establish an environment of openness, acceptance and early intervention. The more we engage in mental resilience the more we will learn and Inzpire are taking the required steps to protect our family. All it took was to start talking about it and sharing our idiosyncratic rules and mechanisms to cope – for example finding the time to breathe and put yourself first whilst holding everything else a very close, almost neck and neck, second place. The people around you should not even notice that there is a first or second place as all they will see is someone who can cope.

As I said, I can’t recall when I first heard terms like mindfulness, wellbeing and mental resilience but I believe I may have wrongly dismissed them as another fad. But I know now that mindfulness, positive wellbeing and mental resilience are essential elements to being able to function effectively in everyday life and cope with what it throws at us – and what’s even more important, so does Inzpire as a company.

The author of this blog has asked to remain anonymous due to their previous military employment.