Queensland Law Society

Wellbeing: Self-awareness and resilience

Part 1: The mental health continuum

Mental health happens on a continuum, and we are moving up and down along this scale throughout our life. Our exact location can change from week to week, day to day even.

On one end, we feel like on top of the world, able to deal with life’s challenges, and enjoy a productive and socially connected life. Most people also know what the other end looks like: we are struggling to stay afloat, our pool of resilience is all used up, and we are dealing with anxiety and depression or the debilitating effects of regular substance abuse.

But what about the space in between, where most of life actually takes place? If we don’t recognise our personal warning signs when we are sliding towards the wrong end of the scale, we may not be able to intervene in time.

For some of us, a different mix of the following four domains can be in the foreground of our subjective experience:

  • For some, decline of psychological wellbeing is mainly marked by physical symptoms, such as a racing heart and palpitations, sweats, digestive upsets, or sudden sleep problems.
  • Others can tell from a drop in their cognitive abilities, such as a diminishing capacity to focus and concentrate, make decisions and remember things.
  • The next person may be experiencing emotions of sadness, frustration, disappointment, constant worrying or mood swings.
  • Someone else may exhibit changed behaviour in sleep patterns, restlessness, avoidance of social situations or drinking more alcohol than usual, just to “take the edge of things”.

What are your signs? And where are you on the scale today?




Rebecca Niebler
Organisational Culture and Support Officer, QLS Solicitor Support (QLS Ethics and Practice Centre)
28 November 2019