Resilience Agenda was born out of a desire to empower people to take a different approach to their mental health as founder, Hadleigh Fischer grew up observing his family affected by their own struggles. Life is meant to be exhilarating but there’s also times when it’s rife with challenges, and Fischer recognised that just as we pay close attention to our physical fitness with regular gym sessions, we must also pay close attention to our mental fitness in order to keep our brain and emotional health in check, enabling us to cope better with the changes and uncertainties of life before it’s needed.
As the name suggests, Resilience Agenda assists our capacity to deal with stress and setbacks by providing a helpful mental fitness toolkit, strategies, prompts and monthly workout guides aimed to help create practical routines for better managing mental health, compiled into a neatly organised year planner.
WHAT IS A MENTAL FITNESS TOOLKIT?
Inside the agenda notes that the mental fitness toolkit “borrows from the most effective and actionable principles of positive and cognitive psychology, behavioural science, well-being science, neuroscience and the wisdom of practical philosophy”, and offers “a set of solutions to common challenges that each of us face day to day,” with the aim being by the end of the year, you’ll have mastered the toolkit of strategies to overcome them.
“The Resilience Agenda mental fitness toolkit aims to break down mental health into ten easy to understand activities that we can use to train and develop our resilience”. It consists of two parts, ‘The five pillars of wellbeing’, and ‘The mental fitness training framework’. Each monthly chapter delves deeper into one of the elements of mental fitness and offers three different levels of training, which are easily incorporated into your life and can be moved through month by month, or read ahead, there’s no right or wrong, simply what works for you.
The month of January begins by highlighting the mental health dynamic continuum, a scale from 1-10, with 1 being a ‘struggle’, 5 falling in the ‘feeling ok’ category, and 10 being ‘purposeful, happy and engaged’, and explains that most of us fall somewhere in the middle of the continuum, meaning we’re generally ok most of the time but may feel we’re missing a deeper sense of meaning or purpose. It finishes off by prompting us to sit and reflect at various times throughout the year where we sit on the continuum, and why we chose that number, what has changed and how do we feel about it.
HOW RESILIENCE AGENDA’S MENTAL FITNESS TOOLKIT HELPED ME
My passion for Resilience Agenda is tied to believing in what the company stands for, the goals Fischer has to reframe public perception around mental health stigma, and the importance of mental fitness being incorporated and widely accepted as an everyday practice, just as physical exercise is.
Exercises within the mental fitness toolkit helped me reshape my emotional well-being, and calm the unhealthy mental marathon I was running due to the diagnosis of a serious neck injury in early 2020. Fast forward a few months and I’m currently working through various pain management techniques to see what the best course of action will be moving forward.
Perhaps surprisingly to some, the best pain technique I found wasn’t modern medicine or physical manipulation, it’s been my mental shift, the way I compartmentalise the injury, maintaining a more positive mindset around it and understanding my coping mechanism. This shift didn’t happen overnight, it took weeks of mental fitness exercises to shift higher up the dynamic continuum and maintain my ability to stay there more frequently.
But every day is different and moods are complex so it’s important to recognise it’s natural to experience emotions and feelings in response to pain. So when I am feeling a little lower on the continuum, as prompted by the Agenda, I stop to reflect and ask myself why I feel this way. I find often being completely present and mindful about how I’m feeling is enough to create a small ripple of a shift.
Resilience Agenda honours their mission and is making huge inroads in reframing public perception around mental health, and by providing people with a framework that teaches lasting habits in an easy to understand format is a fantastic initiative. We all know when we’re feeling down or off, and being armed with techniques to manage ourselves out of these feelings is powerful and life changing.