‘Re­silience is built by FAC­ING FEAR, not avoid­ing it’

Good Housekeeping (UK) - - Gh Spotlight -

GH’S Pro­fes­sor Tanya By­ron shares her ad­vice on how to in­crease your re­silience re­serves and raise emo­tion­ally strong chil­dren

For a long time, a per­son’s level of re­silience was thought to be in­her­ited, but it is now recog­nised that nur­ture plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in the abil­ity to re­cover from ad­ver­sity.

In our cur­rent cli­mate of rolling news, we’re be­ing drip-fed uncer­tainty, threat, and trauma. This en­cour­ages ‘he­li­copter parenting’ – par­ents hov­er­ing around chil­dren and mon­i­tor­ing their ev­ery move in a bid to brush ev­ery ob­sta­cle from their path. This means chil­dren are be­ing raised in a risk-averse so­ci­ety, with lit­tle op­por­tu­nity to learn how to man­age ad­ver­sity.

Re­silience is built by fac­ing fear, not avoid­ing it. It stems from tak­ing risks and treat­ing mis­takes as learn­ing tools. To arm the younger gen­er­a­tion with the skills to nav­i­gate an uncertain world, we must en­cour­age them to take rea­son­able risks.

Cog­ni­tive ther­apy tech­niques can help us to de­tect in­ac­cu­rate thoughts that make us catas­trophise. Chal­lenge neg­a­tive be­liefs (‘I’m use­less’) with re­al­is­tic al­ter­na­tives based on ev­i­dence of past re­silience (‘I’ve man­aged other ad­ver­si­ties’). Mind­ful­ness is use­ful in de­vel­op­ing re­silience. By pay­ing at­ten­tion to the present mo­ment, you can tap into your phys­i­o­log­i­cal re­sponse to fear, and crit­i­cally eval­u­ate the ex­pe­ri­ence.

We need to get chil­dren to take risks

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