Building Resilience: Suggestions on more helpful ways of ‘Thinking’ (Series 3)

Focussing on changing our mind-set can make a real difference. This can be achieved by becoming much more aware of what we think and how we respond to different situations and taking active steps to change this. Ways to do this have been introduced in very different settings – the Penn Resiliency Programme in schools has been adapted to become the Master Resiliency Programme in the US Military – which makes it very adaptable for all of us to try.

  • Recognising and celebrating our personal and professional strengths. It’s all too easy to forget about what we’re really good at because it’s often the things we do easily and without thinking. Write them down, recognise when we are using them and the benefits they bring.
  • Problem solving. Nobody has had a clear run and we constantly have to find solutions to overcome issues big and small. Note the many examples in where you have achieved this previously and think about how this was achieved. What can you learn from that to re-use again when you have a new hurdle to overcome?
  • Perseverance. Actively putting this into practice helps us recognise just how able we really are. By setting goals which encourage us to take small steps which take us out of comfort zone enables us to learn and grow, even if that means making mistakes – we learn from them too.
  • Negative Thinking. Thoughts are powerful – our brains can come to believe them as facts when in actual fact they are just a point of view, often not a very accurate – or very helpful – representation of reality. There are common thinking errors that we repeat over time so we end up not even noticing them so they become our truths. For example these can be looking at things in a way that make them seem bigger or smaller than they really are, or ‘all or nothing’ thinking, or blaming ourselves for things that aren’t our fault. By becoming more aware of our thinking distortions and challenging ourselves with an alternative view will help us to have a much more realistic and accepting outlook. In stressful situations it is helpful to be able to distract ourselves from difficult thoughts but it’s always important to go back to them as they tell us very important things about ourselves.
  • Changing our personal narratives. Putting these altogether allows us to start changing the view we have of ourselves. Each of us are skilled, adaptable and resourceful, albeit in different ways. By cultivating a more positive view of ourselves we can be more optimistic, assertive and enthusiastic.

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