Resiliency Strategy #4: Building Healthy Thoughts
FROM CARRIE C. KUBACKI, POSITIVE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT EXTENSION EDUCATOR, UW-MADISON DIVISION OF EXTENSION
While riding the waves of uncertainty and crisis, we may find it difficult to maintain positive or hopeful thoughts. We may think to ourselves, “Why me?” or “It’s never going to end.” Although challenging, when we focus on building more optimistic and healthy thoughts, research has shown that we increase our mood, immune response and cardiovascular health. The strategies below can help us to strengthen our resiliency when facing overwhelming negative thoughts.
- Keep things in perspective. When faced with adversity, our minds have a tendency to think that the worst is going to happen. Instead, take time to consider the reality of the situation and what is within our control. It can be helpful to write down your thoughts or talk them through with a trusted support person to help gain a more realistic perspective.
- Learn to accept change. Life is a constant flow of ups and downs. While we may want to always “keep things the way they are,” we will be healthier when we remain open and flexible during times of crisis. This does not mean we agree with or like all of the changes happening. Rather, finding positives in challenges and change will help us to strengthen our resiliency now and during future adversity.
- Maintain a hopeful outlook. Just like life flows with ups and downs, our thoughts and emotions also go between negative and pessimistic to positive and optimistic on a regular basis. The goal is not to pretend that everything is perfect. The goal is to practice finding positives daily. Practice gratitude for small moments of joy, find strength in mindfulness, and have hope that you are doing the best you can at any given moment.
Life is challenging enough on its own, and encountering additional moments of crisis may seem like we are constantly battling against overwhelming waves of adversity. Throughout these past five articles, we have learned that taking small steps and daily practice of building connections, fostering wellness, finding purpose and building healthy thoughts can help to strengthen our resiliency. We will not only survive the waves of uncertainty—we will thrive. Visit langlade.extension.wisc.edu or Facebook: Langlade County Division of Extension for new resiliency opportunities and resources. For additional information about resiliency please visit: https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/resilient/index.htm or https://www.mindresilience.org/.