Tackling a mental health crisis: Ten steps to authentic resilience


Medical research shows that mental health challenges are the biggest hurdle humankind will face this lifetime. It will take true resilience to survive it, says author and life coach, Gabi Lowe.

Gabi Lowe and her partner Pippa Shaper both suffered intense loss and grief after losing loved ones to illness and tragedy. Taking care of their mental state meant fighting darkness at every turn.

While it is not a medical intervention and cannot replace medical care for those who need it, they say authentic resilience can help people manage the tumultuous nature of modern life.

“Authentic resilience is an essential skill that can be developed and grown with time, intent, understanding and commitment. It requires conscious and courageous presence to access your full life force in the face of adversity and challenge. Resilience is a capacity, a critical resource that can be learnt, culitvated and taught,” they say on their website.

Gabi explains that authentic resilience is the difference between surviving or thriving in the face of adversity, challenge and stress. Through their joint life experiences and learning to survive themselves, Gabi and Pippa created an inspirational model called The Ten R’s of Authentic Resilience ©

  1. Reality: “The first R is the most important,” says Gabi. “So often as humans we either deny or catastrophise situations. Finding the centre-point, realistic optimism, of any situation means finding the real truth. Not opinion, belief or assumptions, but the facts of the problem you are working with.”
  2. Reach in: “This is about vulnerability. We know there is no courage without vulnerability. Authentically face your feelings. Putting on a suit of armour is the kind of resilience that is not going to last. Allow yourself to come to grips with what is going on internally and you will cultivate authentic resilience.”
  3. Response-ability: “The word is hyphenated for a reason. We have very little control over events in our lives. No matter how horrific the event, true emotional maturity lies in the ability to choose how to respond to that event. We have to work out how to find that space so that when you respond, it is in a calm, considered way. Choose how to act, not react.”
  4. Reach out: “Asking for help is one of the hardest things for us as human beings to do. I don’t know why, but it is. Yet we live in community, we are all connected, we need to learn to ask for what we need. The first step to reaching out is knowing that giving and receiving is a virtuous cycle of support in both our professional and personal lives. Part of authentic resilience is learning how, when and why to reach out.”
  5. Robust revolutionary thinking. “Learning to access creative thinking in times of stress is an essential part of resilience. An example is recognising your strengths and how you can use them in stressful times. Then sourcing what you don’t have.”
  6. Relentlessness: “This is all about coming to terms with change, and knowing that nothing stays the same. It is about having grit and perseverance, AND about being flexible and adaptable.”
  7. Reflection: “This is about finding time every day to sit in reflection with yourself. This is important in our volatile world, to have in yourself a centre which is quiet and still. Authentic resilience requires learning how to do that on a daily basis.”
  8. Renewal: “This is the basic simple stuff that goes out of the window when we are stressed. Simple things like sleep, nutrition, exercise. Then comes time alone in nature, and time with friends. In times of stress we have to allow ourselves time to fill ourselves up from the inside. We need to renew in whatever way serves us best.”
  9. Ratio: “Even in times of stress, we have to maintain perspective of where we are and the broader picture. One way to do this is to cultivate gratitude. Notice the things you are grateful for, don’t only focus on what we have lost or are anxious about. Seek out humour, even in death and illness, track down joy and hold on to hope.”
  10. Recalibration: “There comes a point when you have everything together and all is well. Around about now is when you need to recalibrate, because everything changes again. Going back to the first R, and start over. It is a cycle we have to keep working on as we navigate life.”

“We all face challenges, loss and pain which is why the Ten R’s of Resilience model is applicable to everyone at any stage of their life whether at work or at home. It teaches and equips us with steps to take when challenging situations – or even just the usual complexities and paradoxes of life – present themselves,” says Gabi.

  • Get Me to 21: The Jenna Lowe Story is the memoir Gabi Lowe, the mother of the teen behind the famous #GetMeto21 campaign, recently published. Jenna was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension, an extremely rare illness that, after a double lung transplant, led to her untimely death, just four months before her 21st birthday. Gabi shares her family's extraordinary four-year battle to save Jenna's life, and the capacity and depth of the human spirit.

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