By Raychel Perman
Resilient people bounce back from adversity. They are self-aware. They practice acceptance. They are OK with not having all the answers and they take care of themselves. They are flexible and don’t let adversity keep them down for long.
Enter cognitive restructuring. It’s one way you can develop more resilience.
A very useful technique that identifies inaccurate negative thoughts and then challenge and change them. It’s a practice derived from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and it helps you reduce depression, stress, anxiety, and cope with difficult events.
To put it simply, you need to think about what your thinking about. And change the tape if it’s not accurate. Let’s talk about 3 common negative and inaccurate thoughts people often have that cause them to not be resilient and how you can practice restructuring them.
How often do you find yourself thinking that you are going to have a terrible time at an upcoming event, predict that that boss will hate your idea, assume everyone secretly dislikes you, or expect a negative outcome to an upcoming situation? This constant foreboding is making you completely incapable of being resilient because you can not see outside your own negative perceptions to find reality.
For 1 week, track how many times you have thought that assumes a negative event will happen. Then ask yourself what what is most likely reaction or response, the worst reaction or response, the most positive action or response, and the most likely. You will literally be -retraining your brain to look for the positive (or at least the most realistic!) retractions and responses.
Psychologists call overthinking “rumination.” I don’t have to explain what an over thinker is. If you are one you know it! You will think and think and think yourself sick or worse. The worst part is the overthinking never actually solves the problem! It just creates more stress and worry for you.
Worry verb (used without object), wor·ried, wor·ry·ing.
to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret.
If you find yourself constantly worrying or overthinking about a situation (either current, past, or present) put a timer and notebook to work for you. For the next week, set a timer for 10 minutes every day and write down everything that is stressing you out or causing worry. This is simply a brain dump. Don’t try to solve anything just get it all out of your head. It puts action to your fear and get's the worrying thoughts out of your head. This works especially well if you are worrying about situations that you have zero control of the outcome.
If the second you make a mistake your brain says “stupid idiot,” you are your own worst critic. That’s not a healthy or normal response to mistakes. You are human. You are allowed to make mistakes. Let’s talk about how you can change the tape.
Practice positive self talk. Every day, 3 times day say positive things about yourself out loud. The out loud part is the kicker. Your brain believes what you tell it. Positive self talk only works if you use it to break the cycle of negative chatter by saying it out loud.
If you want to build more resilience in your life you will have to switch the tape in your head. Negative predictions, constant worry, and being critical of yourself will only cause you to crumble under difficulties. Practice one of these coaching prompts for the next week and take the first steps towards a more resilient life!
With love and moxie
Raychel Perman is the CEO of RAYMA Team. She is funny, wise, and tells it like it is. Raychel is a gifted teacher who shares her poignant story of creating a new life for herself, after leaving a troubled marriage, to inspire others to believe it’s never too late to make a change. She specializes in helping clients identify patterns of self-sabotage, manage stress, build confidence & self-esteem, establish healthy communication patterns, and navigate the details of starting a business.
Raychel is a talented writer who has authored the UNBROKEN Bible study and co-authored many guided journals. She married her soulmate, Josh, in 2019. Raychel lives in North Dakota with her husband, 3 children, and fur-baby, Bela.