Resiliency and Grit are learned behaviors that enable us to not only survive, but thrive in the face of adversity. This is your third of 14 daily messages, each containing an exercise designed to strengthen your development of these two key skills. Keep a journal, record your reflections and chronicle your growth.
The content of our thoughts determines how we feel and often, how we act. Stressful situations often result in stressful thoughts. For example, when your school district announces, “All classes will be virtual until November 1!”, you may automatically think: “I can’t do this again”. Likewise, a setback at work may trigger thoughts like: “I think they are planning to furlough me. Thoughts like these are known as Negative Automatic Thoughts (AT) and often pop into our heads when we are dealing with a difficult situation or negative emotion. AT’s are often very judgmental, critical of self, and reflective about ourselves and our world. This challenge is designed to help you replace these unhelpful thoughts with helpful coping thoughts.
One effective way to manage stressful situations is to bring a coping thought to mind. A coping thought is a thought that will help you to shed a different, more constructive light on the situation. By using a coping thought, negative thoughts are replaced by constructive thoughts, which, given our feelings follow our thoughts, can drastically reduce feelings of stress.
Think of a situation that often causes you stress and record the AT (the negative thought) that immediately pops into your head. Now, come up with an alternative coping (positive) thought that you can use to replace the AT.
Situation: The school district is going virtual
AT: WIth the kids around, I will never get anything done and my work performance is compromised.
Coping Thought: With some structure, this can work for all of us!
Finally, take a moment to think about one helpful positive daily thought that can become your coping mantra. A coping mantra is a highly personal and meaningful thought that you hold close and that you can call upon at any time you need to. Take a moment here – there is no rush, and this coping mantra may stay with you for a long time. When you are ready, write down your coping mantra in your journal and use it to begin each day. Mine is simple; when someone says, ‘How are you?” or “How are you doing?”, I respond, “I’m super good and getting better!” I hope you are too!
Embrace the Challenge!