Resilience and a Growth Mindset
This is an excerpt from Stress Management With HKPropel Access by Pardess Mitchell.
As discussed in chapter 5, resilience is the ability to cope with difficult situations and successfully adapt to the changing world. Your level of resilience comprises a few factors, including the ways you view and engage with the world, the availability and quality of social resources, and your coping strategies. People with high levels of resilience have been shown to better manage adversity (Garcia-Leon, Perez-Marmol, Gonzalez-Perez, Garcia-Rios, and Peralta-Ramirez, 2019). They are able to reflect on past events (even traumatic ones) to acknowledge the significance of the event and how the experience changed them (Crane, Searle, Kangas, and Nwiran, 2019). Resilience has also been shown to serve as a protective factor against some mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression (Parvar, Ghamari, Pezeshkian, and Shahriarirad, 2022; Setiawati, Wahyuhadi, Joestandari, Maramis, and Atika, 2021).
Resilience is partially inborn, but it can be developed and nurtured (Feldman, 2020). Studies have shown resilience can be fostered through education, particularly when problem-based learning methods are employed (Walsh, Owen, Mustafa, and Beech, 2020). Recall the problem-solving skills presented earlier in the chapter. These same skills can also enhance your resilience by giving you the space and tools to handle problematic situations, rather than passively experiencing them.
It is not the strongest of species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
Many techniques presented earlier in this chapter, such as using affirmations and learning how to combat distorted thinking, can be used to build resilience. The following behaviors are more helpful tools that can be used to strengthen your resilience.
- Recognize the impermanence of difficulties. Remind yourself that stress is temporary and that unpleasant experiences will not last forever.
- Recognize setbacks as opportunities for growth. Understand that failure is an opportunity to change what you are doing to obtain a different result.
- Recognize you have tools to manage stress. Have confidence in your ability to manage stress.
- Recognize that many things are out of your control. Stop dwelling on things that are out of your control.
One of the best tools to help develop your own resilience is to adopt a growth mindset. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence is a changeable trait that can be improved with effort. People who adhere to a growth mindset see struggle as part of the path to developing intelligence and are more likely to take on challenging material as a result (Limeri et al., 2020). Many studies have shown that students who believe in the growth mindset outperform those who feel intelligence is an innate ability that cannot be changed (Smiley, Buttitta, Chung, Dubon, and Chang, 2016). Additionally, those who believe in a growth mindset see mistakes as a learning opportunity and think of them as part of the learning process (Murphy and Gash, 2020).
People with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, tend to see mistakes as an indicator of failure, avoid challenges, and give up when they encounter struggle (Limeri et al., 2020). Research shows students with a growth mindset are better able to manage stress and have higher levels of academic success compared to those with a fixed mindset (Mosanta, 2019). Refer to table 6.1 on the differences between a growth and fixed mindset.
Having a growth mindset allows you to learn from your successes and mistakes (figure 6.3). When encountering stress, those with a growth mindset are not intimidated and actively work on finding ways to cope. A person with a growth mindset is focused on the process, whereas a person with a fixed mindset is just focused on the result. A growth mindset places value in the process, which is completely under your control, and not the outcome, which may only partially be under your control (Ronkainen, Kuusisto, and Tirri, 2019).
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