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Is resilience good for our mental health?

Hi everyone! My name is Ximena and I am a fourth year student at University of Toronto. Today, I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate x Hirenn’s resiliency workshop. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned about resiliency.

What is resilience? Resilience means being able to recover quickly from difficulties. This concept has different meanings to different people. Each and every one of us has different struggles in life. For some people, resilience means improving your mood after a long day of work. It could also mean, recovering from the fact that you were not offered the internship that you wanted to get. Each one of us has different struggles in life.

As you become older, responsibilities grow. The responsibilities may be trying to find a job for the first time or trying to improve your grades for graduate school. Even though these difficulties increase, we are not taught on how to deal with stressful situations. Not knowing how to deal with these situations can have a detrimental effect on our mental health and makes us wonder what did we do wrong. When I started my fourth year at University, I was trying to look for internships while being enrolled in five courses per semester. It was hectic to say the least. Now that almost all your contacts have profiles in LinkedIn, it is hard not to compare yourself with other people. This feeling of trying to live up to other people’s standards creates anxiety.

Hirenn’s workshop was an eye-opening experience for me. Resilience is a terminology I was not familiar with, nonetheless, it encapsulated most of my problems regarding academics. One of the first things Hirenn asked us to do is to tell him what were we hoping to gain from the workshop. At the beginning of the workshop, the audience’s response was similar to what I was feeling. We had no idea on what resilience was and the effect it could have in the job we have been doing with Illuminate Universe. As the workshop evolved and Hirenn was giving us more material on what resilience was and how to address it, we all became more concise on the responses we gave. Everybody pitching into the conversation made me realize that there is not a magic potion to resilience, you need to look for the best way it can help you.

One of the biggest takeaways I had from this experience is that my concerns and everyone else's concerns are valid. There are ways to address difficulties, it is matter of trying new things and do what makes you feel better. For me it is exercise, for my friend is doing yoga in the mornings. There is no right or wrong answer on how to address stress and anxiety, you need to do what makes you feel the best.

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