Unlocking the Keys to Resilience in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Unlocking the Keys to Resilience in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Business January 27, 2022 / By Dr. Brian Davidson
Unlocking the Keys to Resilience in the COVID-19 Pandemic

The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the importance of mental wellness. But what can be done to foster a greater sense of resilience to help us get through these difficult times and improve our lives?

If there is anything we have learned as we have continued to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic, it is this: our mindsets matter. Everywhere we look, we see signs of the pandemic’s impact on our minds. In higher education, counseling centers are inundated with students in dire need of mental health support. A CDC study found, for example, that one in four young adults between the ages of 18-24 have contemplated suicide during the pandemic. Within healthcare, burnout and fatigue are at levels never seen before. Studies illustrate – and healthcare providers can attest – how the pandemic has negatively impacted workers’ mental health. In fact, a recent study illustrated how healthcare professionals in intensive care units are experiencing PTSD at rates similar to what was seen in veterans returning from the war in Afghanistan. Elsewhere in corporate America, for professionals not already experiencing incredible stress and burnout, there is often a sense of languishing and discontent occurring within organizations. Of course, all of this adds up. In a report created by the American Heart Association titled Mental Health: A Workforce Crisis, it was estimated that the cumulative cost related to mental health is predicted to be $16.3 trillion by 2030, which exceeds the anticipated costs related to cardiovascular disease (estimated at $15.6 trillion) and cancer (estimated at $8.3 trillion). What makes this even more alarming is that this report, and the numbers it estimated, were generated shortly before the pandemic hit. It is likely the costs related to our mental health has dramatically increased since the pandemic changed our world. Indeed, every place we look, we see signs showing how the pandemic has impacted us.

With all this occurring today, it makes us wonder – what lessons can we learn from all of this? As we have continued to endure this pandemic, it has made one thing vividly clear: our mental wellness matters. While we can hope we will never experience a pandemic of this magnitude again in our lifetime, there is almost 100 percent certainty that each one of us will experience some aspect of future adversity, trauma, or hardship at some point in our lives. When we do face those challenges, we must be prepared.

Unfortunately, most of the solutions to help improve our mental wellness are reactive. We simply wait until a person is struggling… and then work to support them. If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is that we must be much more proactive in our approach to support and enhance mental wellness. We must move from a reactive approach, where we solely work to remediate disorders, to a proactive approach of enhancing mental wellness – one in which we upskill and foster factors such as resilience, grit, and hope to help people before, during, and after times of stress, uncertainty, and hardship.

The pandemic has shined a spotlight on the need for resilience. In a study titled Who Is Resilient in a Time of Crisis?: The Importance of Financial and Non-financial Resources, researchers sought to uncover what factors contributed to creating resilience in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. What they found was fascinating. Surprisingly, elements we often think might contribute to better wellness – financial resources like having a higher income, more savings, or lower levels of debt – were not associated with a person demonstrating greater resilience. Equally surprising was that other factors such as cognitive ability, having a sense of community within your neighborhood, and religiosity were not related to resilience. So, what actually did predict resilience during the pandemic? It turns out that non-cognitive skills, factors associated with a person’s mindset, were the best predictors of resilience. In this study, the researchers found that self-efficacy, described as our confidence to accomplish our goals, served as the best predictor of whether someone displayed resilience during the pandemic.

Indeed, there is a growing body of research supporting just how important these non-cognitive factors are for so many various positive life outcomes. Beyond predicting resilience in the pandemic, these important mindset skills like self-efficacy, hope, growth mindset, self-control, hardiness, intrinsic motivation, grit, and other factors have been shown to be predictive of numerous beneficial outcomes such as academic performance in students, workplace success in employees, performance in leaders, and even health and longevity in older populations. At the same time, further evidence supports that these skills are not hardwired nor set in stone in our minds but instead can be cultivated to help proactively improve people’s lives.

Knowledgeable about this growing body of research supporting the importance of these skills, our team at MindVue has focused on taking this research and applying it for good. With a mission to help cultivate these skills in millions of people across the globe, we have developed an award-winning Learning Experience Platform that utilizes an advanced mindset assessment, various analytics and reports, as well as micro-learning modules to measure and build these skills to proactively enhance mental wellness and optimize performance within individuals, teams, and organizations. By first obtaining a snapshot of a person’s mindset and then using that data to proactively support and help them cultivate these valuable skills, we can significantly improve people’s lives.

In conclusion, this pandemic has been incredibly tough, and it has taught us many lessons. Foremost, we have realized it is essential we make mental wellness a priority in our lives. Secondly, it has taught us that when working to improve mental wellness, we must move from a reactive approach to a proactive approach to improve people’s lives. Next, when we face adversity such as we have done throughout the pandemic, we have recognized our mindset can be our greatest asset. Equipped with a stronger sense of meaning and purpose, hope, self-efficacy, grit, resilience, and other key mindset skills, we will feel more capable of handling the challenges we encounter. By developing these skills, students will be more likely to persist and graduate. Healthcare workers will find a way to persevere and ultimately bounce forward from the trauma they have experienced. Employees within organizations can reignite a greater sense of meaning and purpose in their work. And all of us, from across the globe, will foster the belief that we can handle whatever the world throws at us next.

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If you are an individual wanting to utilize MindVue’s Learning Experience Platform to assess and build your own mindset, please go here.

If you are a leader interested in using MindVue to proactively enhance mental wellness and optimize performance within your organization, you can learn more here.

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