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May 28, 2018 | by  | in SWAT |
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SWAT

Recently, it’s been really cold. It’s been difficult to get out of my toasty bed to brave the freezing gauntlet to the shower when I can see my breath in the air. I’m just not feeling it. We’ve all had days or months where things seem disheartening. Assignments are impending, you’re in a fight with your best friend, you’re feeling moody and chocolate isn’t fixing it. How can we wend our way back to a place where life is good and exciting again?

The good news is that though we tend to think about resilience as a trait that some people just have, it’s actually a skill that anyone can learn.

There is a famous parable of Thomas Edison — when told that he had failed to invent the lightbulb, he replied “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that do not work”.

This is an example of what psychologists call Cognitive Reframing. Our internal monologue is churning all the time with thoughts and reactions to events in our lives, without us really paying attention to them, and they’re often really negative. “I can’t believe I said that”, “I barely passed, I’m so dumb”.

If we can take a deep breath and become aware of them, we can slowly begin to rethink them in a more positive light: “Okay, that was a mistake, I won’t say that next time” “At least I passed — that’s better than failing”.
By reframing these thoughts, we can change our interpretation, even if the situation has already been and gone. Setbacks mean a chance to try again, better this time. Failure becomes feedback. We become more forgiving towards ourselves and of other people. It’s not a silver bullet, but by practicing this we can slowly develop resilience towards life’s trials and tribulations.

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