Five Top Traits

Research suggests several key traits that you can cultivate to keep your mental health in check. Five of these top traits are:

Fexibility—Try to develop a sense of adaptablity. The tree in the forest that can survive a storm is the one that bends with the wind, and when the storm is over it straightens its branches back again. Keeping a flexible mindset, one that allows for change and unexpected moves, not rigid or unwilling to accept new circumstances, enhances our mental health.

Passion—Focusing on what makes us happy and fulfilled keeps us in a positive state of mind. When we identify and verbalize what makes us feel amazing, what brings joy and peace to our hearts, we are able to create energy, which in turn fuels our lives. Embrace your life passion and be intentional in remaining in a place of hope. This will strengthen your mental health and bring added meaning to your life.

Resilience—Pushing forward and embracing grit, determination and fortitude are all within the scope of resilience. Choosing resilience can be painful and uncomfortable, yet it is achievable. You may not feel the power of resilience as you push forward, but it is already in your heart. Whether you are trying to get out of bed to make it to your early morning class or searching for the last bit of energy to make it through a final project, your resilience is already working for you. The beautiful flower that pushes it way through the crack in the sidewalk is a prized treasure. It thrives against the odds and inspires us all. At times resilience can look like a slow rise from hurt and loss, but taking the first step leads to another, and then another, until you reach the finishing line. Like any living plant, cultivating resilience is an effort of a lifetime. You have the seed, and you can choose to nurture it into an amazing force in your life.

Gratitude—When you cultivate a spirit of gratitude, you become intentional in choosing to dwell on the positive circumstances of your life. This in turn, keeps you focused on your strengths and the positive aspects of your interaction with the world around you. This does not mean you ignore the power of negative forces over you. Focusing on the positive gives you fortitude and courage to resolve the things that are not at their best in your life, while providing you with the attitude and yearning to remain in a place of hope, faith and optimism. Acknowledging God's providence in your life allows you to see beyond your problems and keeps you motivated to continue moving forward toward better horizons.

Self-Compassion—The ability to give yourself grace or speak kindly to yourself allows you to embrace your humanity and promotes healthy living. We are usually quicker to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. We are created in the image of God, who championed forgiveness, reminding us that this supreme Being can cast all our wrongdoings into the deepest part of the sea. As we see ourselves through God's eyes, we can exercise self-compassion, worth and love. This is not feeling sorry for ourselves, but is rather an antidote for self-pity or shame. So don't allow your past mistakes or hurts to define you. Celebrate every success. no matter how small you may perceive it to be. Look to the future with hope and optimism, believing that God has placed within you the seed of greatness, and no one or nothing has the power to deter you from living fully and achieving your life calling. Remember this promise: "I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness." John 10:10 (GNT)