We've all been there: after a crazy day at work, we get home, plop on the sofa, turn on the TV, and rip open an XL bag of potato chips.

One frenzied feasting session later, we're left with an empty bag, oily fingers, and a feeling of guilt — we were supposed to be eating healthier!

From there, it's easy to spiral into self-loathing. Stop! If there's one thing to remember from this article, it's this: don't beat yourself up if you slip up.

Building Mental Resilience

The journey to good mental health isn't easy, and we're bound to face setbacks along the way — we're only human.

What can we do then? Let's find out how we can develop resilience and stay positive during tough times and pick ourselves up after we fall.

Resilience Is About Being Optimistic

Being cheerful is one of the many personality traits resilient people with high emotional intelligence have.

When dealing with setbacks, we can handle it by acknowledging that setbacks have both negatives and positives, and to focus on the learnings.

Say you were supposed to go for a morning run but didn't because you were too tired.

Don't beat yourself up or blame yourself for being lazy. Instead, look at the bright side: you're up early, which means you get a head start on the day.

And you've got the whole day ahead of you: there's definitely time to squeeze in a workout later in the day. You can always jog in the evening or make up for it with a gym session during lunch.

Being optimistic can also help develop problem-solving skills. Optimism helps you focus on the possibilities instead of the problem, making it easier for you to think up a solution.

Resilience Is About Being Objective

When you're faced with a setback, it's normal to think that the situation is worse than it actually is.

Let's look at our keropok example. Perhaps you've been sticking to a balanced, moderate diet for the past month before that one slip-up, keeping to sensible portions, healthy snacks, and the occasional indulgence.

Objectively speaking, that one night of bingeing is not the end of the world!

So, acknowledge that you did eat more than you intended, learn from the experience and move on. Analyse what went wrong and focus on what you can improve on.

For example, stop stocking up on keropok (you can't eat what you don't have), and have a plan for the next time you find yourself in a stressful situation. Instead of mindlessly munching in front of the TV as a coping mechanism, call up family and friends for a quick chat.

And don't take setbacks personally — bingeing doesn't make you “weak”, and it doesn't mean you've “failed”. You are more than what you eat (or do).

Resilience Is About Taking a Break

To cope with stress, a young woman takes time to relax and take a break.

When faced with a setback or problem, it's often a good idea to relax and take a break. Give your body and mind a chance to recharge and refresh.

After recharging your batteries, you'll have more energy to overcome obstacles and face problems.

Visit MindSG for more tools to take care of your mental well-being.

Download the HealthHub app on Google Play or Apple Store to access more health and wellness advice at your fingertips.

Read these next:

  1. https://hbr.org/2011/04/building-resilience 
  2. Segovia F, Moore JL, Linnville SE, Hoyt RE, Hain RE. Optimism predicts resilience in repatriated prisoners of war: a 37-year longitudinal study. J Trauma Stress. 2012 Jun;25(3):330-6. doi: 10.1002/jts.21691. Epub 2012 May 21. PMID: 22615194.
  3. Williams, G. Optimistic problem-solving activity: enacting confidence, persistence, and perseverance. ZDM Mathematics Education 46, 407–422 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11858-014-0586-y