How do a growth mindset and resilience contribute to good mental health?

May 18, 2023

 As May is Mental Health Awareness Month, in this blogpost we’ll be exploring the relationship of growth mindset, resilience, and mental health. 

Since having good mental health is not merely the absence of a mental disorder but includes having a positive quality of life that constitutes wellbeing, then positive abilities like having a growth mindset and possessing resilience help support good mental health. In the emerging field of Positive Psychology, cultivating a growth mindset and building resilience are both used in therapy, so their significance to good mental health cannot be overstated. 

The importance of growth mindset and resilience to good mental health

But why is that so? What makes these abilities especially crucial to promoting and maintaining good mental health? First, some definitions: 

Growth mindset: Is the belief that one’s abilities, intelligence and other qualities can be developed and improved through dedication, effort, and learning. 

Resilience: Is the ability to bounce back from a setback, see mistakes and failures and learning opportunities, and embrace change. 

Both abilities are interrelated, as having a positive attitude toward life and the willingness to learn and grow are key to both. Yet each is slightly different in the contributions made to wellbeing. 

How a growth mindset contributes to good mental health

Some examples of how growth mindset contributes to good mental health: 

Increasing resilience, as individuals with a growth mindset see challenges as opportunities for learning and growth so are less apt to fear challenges. And with increased resilience comes an increase in the ability to bounce back from setbacks, so resilient people are more likely to persevere through adversity. 

Reduced fear of failure. Since someone with a growth mindset sees challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, so he or she embraces challenges rather than fears them. These people also view failure as an opportunity to learn and grow and not as a personal indictment of their lack of ability. Therefore, they are less likely to fear failure. 

With a positive attitude toward challenges and failures, and the resilience to pursue in spite of obstacles, this enhances self- confidence. 

Greater self-confidence yields a greater sense of motivation and achievement, so people with a growth mindset are usually more engaged in life and persistent in pursuing goals. 

How resilience contributes to good mental health

Here are how resilience and good mental health are related: 

Stress management. Resilient people are positive people and possess a curiosity about life and are constantly learning. So they more readily find ways to positively manage their stress. Their ability to navigate through adversity (part of being resilient) allows them to manage a stressful situation without becoming overwhelmed. 

Positive coping strategies. As resilient individuals are most likely positive individuals, and they are constant learners, then it is very likely that they will develop positive, healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress and adversity, such as exercise, mindfulness, social support, or seeking professional help. 

Improved problem-solving skills. As resilient people are more likely to seek alternative perspectives, to explore different options and to be adaptable when faced with obstacles, their problem-solving skills are enhanced and augmented. 

Enhanced self-efficacy. When individuals successfully navigate difficult situations, they build confidence in their ability to handle future adversities. This increased self-efficacy positively affects mental health by reducing feelings of helplessness and promoting a sense of control. 

The one enhances the other

Interconnected, both growth mindset and resilience give rise to many positive attributes that contribute to good mental health, to wellbeing. Among these attributes are: reducing fear of failure, enhancing self-confidence, promoting motivation and achievement, improving stress management, developing positive coping strategies, enhancing problem-solving skills, and building self-efficacy.

Do you have a growth mindset? Find out by taking this quick quiz.


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