Resilience: A Skill that Can Be Learned, Part 1

(written by one of our SOVA students)

Resilience (or toughness) is a tool you can use to bounce back from stressful situations and to respond to life’s challenges. The United States Army Reserve developed a Resilience Training Program based on research about how to improve resilience. Designed at the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center, the program is called Master Resilience Training Skills. Army service members are required to dedicate 24 hours to studying this curriculum, which can benefit anyone. ResilencyCheck out this video about building up your resilience for shame.

I recently had an experience in which I could use some of the skills they teach in resiliency training. A few weeks ago, I failed a big Physics exam. I was so upset and I started to catastrophize (or believing something is far worse than it actually is) and become concerned I wouldn’t do well in the course at all! I stopped to take a moment to look at all the evidence:

  • it was one exam
  • there were more opportunities to do well in the class, and
  • I could still go back and learn the material I did not understand!

I avoided the thinking traps I was letting myself fall into earlier and put the situation into perspective. I practiced problem solving by going back and learning the material, going to my teacher for additional help outside of class, and studying very hard for the next exam. I set a goal for myself that I was going to do better on the next test. On the next exam, I got a 100%!

Now I’m glad I didn’t do quite as well on the first test because it gave me the opportunity to strengthen my resilience. I think I’ll feel more prepared when I encounter another challenge. Resilience is not just something you are born with – we can learn and practice it and it can help us manage depression and anxiety.

If you want to learn more about the skills they teach in the Master Resilience Training program, check out tomorrow’s post where we will expand on resiliency as a skill! In the meantime, do you have any of your own examples of resiliency, like the exam?

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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