I get access to several computer blogs about education since I work at a high school. I follow and keep track of trends and information about PTSD/CPTSD. One of the subjects I am studying is resilience. This article by By Elena Aguilar tackles 4 myths that people believe about resilience of a teacher. Follow the link for the full article.
Myth 1: Resilience will help you survive as a teacher. Resilience is not about survival, it is all about thriving. Using tough experiences to bounce beyond what you have ever done before. Smack a ball hard to the ground and it will rebound much higher than where it started. It is using difficult experiences to open new ways of doing things.
Myth 2: Resilient people have tough skins. Tough implies rigid and inflexible and unwilling to feel emotions. Supressing and holding back emotions keep us from focusing on the moment and feeling what you feel then doing what needs to be done about it. Bouncing back suggests that you can smush and feel crushed then refluff out again. Slow motion ball bouncing provides a great visual https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sVTJNv3-mWk
Myth 3: Resilience is a personality trait. The belief that some people got it and some don’t is a cop out for learning and building resilience. This is a learned behavior. There are things you can do to increase your levels of resilience. The article lists a few things you can do:
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat a healthy breakfast
- Have lunch with a colleague and don’t discuss work
- Expand your interpretation of the big and little challenges at your school
- Take a walk
- Focus on what’s within your sphere of influence
- Practice gratitude
- Expand your empathy for a challenging student
I would add to this list counseling, brainstorming with others to solve a problem, sitting with emotions, start with smaller issues then work up to bigger challenges. Don’t beat yourself up if you end up bouncing in a direction you don’t expect.
Myth 4: Resilience increases when you learn to manage difficult emotions. Manage implies controls without improving upon and growing from and experience. I like what Elena Aguilar wrote:
It’s important to understand how challenging emotions (anger, shame, envy, or fear) exacerbate stress. But resilience is about far more than just learning how to manage, or engage with these emotions.
Resilient people recognize the importance of both managing uncomfortable emotions and cultivating positive emotions (joy, gratitude, contentment, and happiness). Resilient people use those positive emotions to rebound from, and find meaning in, stressful events and challenges.
I am learning that no matter what age, I can learn and improve my resilience. Improving resilience puts me in the thriving area of life. I like thriving.