Growing Resilient – Session 6

Growing Resilient – Session 6

Challenging Beliefschallenge beliefs

Before we get to challenging beliefs, let’s review:

Resiliency is that ability to get through life’s challenges effectively and come out stronger, healthier.

Resiliency is NOT about being unrealistically optimistic, or about withholding your thoughts and feelings, or about becoming hardened, or about changing other people.

Resiliency IS about self-awareness. (Self-awareness is the key to all real growth.) Resiliency IS about healthy, constructive, flexible, accurate thoughts & responses, purposeful action, empathy for self and for others, realistic hope, about growing confidence, and about finding connection with our fellow travelers.

One tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is ABC. In any event, positive or negative, the “A” is the activating event – the trigger, challenge, or adversity – the who, what, when, where. The “B” is belief, those thoughts that come automatically, in the moment, the things you say to yourself about the “A”, and they often go unnoticed. These can be productive or unproductive; we really want to take hold of these and examine them objectively. The “C” is the consequence – your feelings, emotions, reactions. If we take hold of our thoughts and make them subject to Truth, then we can change our unhelpful feelings, emotions, and reactions to be helpful, productive effective in leveraging the positive changes we want to make in our lives.

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to recognize our faulty thinking habits, those “B”s that lead us astray. We do that by employing disputation “D”, becoming good detectives, taking a step back and looking for evidence, allowing that evidence to lead us to the truth, and then choosing verifiable, effective thought, “E”.

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to know the abilities of resilience so that we can mindfully pursue them. They are emotional regulation, impulse control, empathy, realistic optimism, causal analysis (flexible and accurate thinking in the identification of cause), self-efficacy (confidence), and reaching out (people need people; people change people).

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to recognize our icebergs, those deeply held beliefs that may or may not help us to move in the direction we want to go. Sometimes old beliefs no longer serve us and must be chipped away. Other times old beliefs are distorted beliefs and we must allow the Holy Spirit to melt away that which is not of Him. However, sometimes our deeply held beliefs are healthy and helpful, and to recognize them is to grow in self-awareness and to understand at a deeper level the “why” in the choices we make.

I have asked you to look for themes in your thinking and in your beliefs. As we move on to the tool of challenging beliefs, let me take a moment to draw a diagram from a U of Penn lecture on explanatory styles… (yes, I went offline to my scrapbooking program to make this)

challenging beliefs explanatory style
Explanatory Style

When you look back at your “B”s, do you notice a theme of “always always always” and “everything everything everything” and “me me me”? OR equally as unhealthy: “them them them” “never never never” and “everything everything everything”???

If so, be mindful that we want to move toward the right side of thinking – balance.

If not, if you find you are generally balanced, good for you! Keep up the equilibrium!

I want to show you this chart, too. It will help us in challenging beliefs. Sometimes our feelings are properly responding to our thoughts, and so it is worth looking at:

Are you learning anything more about yourself? I’d love to hear from you!

Thus far we have been working on increasing your self-awareness and improving your self-regulation (emotional regulation and impulse control) by learning and practicing your ABC’s, identifying thinking traps, and checking out your icebergs. Examining your thinking habits and deeply held beliefs encourages mental agility, that ability to think flexibly and accurately, and to begin to identify and understand problems in thinking and, by consequence, in communication. Your willingness to try new strategies demonstrates your already existing mental agility! Give yourself a high five!

So here is your next tool: Challenging Beliefs. You have been doing this along the way, but this week I will give you these downloadable exercises.

  1. Chart your ABC’s about an event that was upsetting to you. Here is a sheet I found.
  2. Look at the “B”s and examine which can be considered “why” beliefs, or causes – why this happened. (Why did this happen? Is this problem my fault? Is this problem in my control? What caused this problem? What can explain this problem? Etc)
  3. Decide what percentage each cause contributed to the problem. The total for all of the causes should add up to 100%.
  4. Use the back of the sheet to draw a pie chart and pie-out the percentages so you have a visual.
  5. Which “why” beliefs carry the greatest percentage? Let’s look at that one (or top 3).
  6. Print this “Why” Belief Scale and write in each “why” belief and score each following the explanatory style.
  7. Are you noticing a balanced or an imbalanced explanatory style? If it is imbalanced, let’s do some detective work. Our goal is to be flexible and accurate in our thinking, so let’s take each one individually again.
  8. Print out this sheet on “Why” Belief Evidence. Take a step back and try to do this exercise as if you were doing it for a neighbor – looking honestly for the objective evidence. Watch out for the confirmation bias! (Where we only look for evidence that supports our belief!) Video on confirmation bias: https://youtu.be/4512ALn5YdY
  9. Revisiting your pie chart, can you make any alterations as to percentage of causes?
  10. Now print out this “Why” Alternative Belief sheet. Looking at your original “why” beliefs, can you generate a more likely cause to each belief? Write this in. Score it. Is it more balanced? If so, good job. Now you are ready to formulate a solution, an action plan! You can leverage change that will be effective and lead you in the direction you want to go!

If not, either your why beliefs were already balanced and ready to go, or you are in need of some help. Ask a trusted friend to assist you, or perhaps a counselor or coach are in order. This can be a difficult exercise for anyone to do alone.

The tool of Challenging Beliefs is one way to increase our mental agility. This discipline can help increase our resiliency in all 7 abilities! If we have a clear picture of the causes of a problem, we can let go of that which we cannot control (protecting our energy), and focus precious energy on that which we can control, forming and acting on a plan to resolve the problem.

Note: There are tragic times in life where it can seem we have no control at all, no power to leverage change. However, there is always one thing that no one can ever take away from us.: our power to choose our attitude. (meme can’t change situation in photos – memes)

Next week we will learn another tool for strengthening our resilience: using our signature strengths in problem-solving, for overcoming challenges, and in achieving our goals!

Let’s review:

Resiliency is that ability to get through life’s challenges effectively and come out stronger, healthier.

Resiliency is NOT about being unrealistically optimistic, or about withholding your thoughts and feelings, or about becoming hardened, or about changing other people.

Resiliency IS about self-awareness. (Self-awareness is the key to all real growth.) Resiliency IS about healthy, constructive, flexible, accurate thoughts & responses, purposeful action, empathy for self and for others, realistic hope, about growing confidence, and about finding connection with our fellow travelers.

One tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is ABC. In any event, positive or negative, the “A” is the activating event – the trigger, challenge, or adversity – the who, what, when, where. The “B” is belief, those thoughts that come automatically, in the moment, the things you say to yourself about the “A”, and they often go unnoticed. These can be productive or unproductive; we really want to take hold of these and examine them objectively. The “C” is the consequence – your feelings, emotions, reactions. If we take hold of our thoughts and make them subject to Truth, then we can change our unhelpful feelings, emotions, and reactions to be helpful, productive effective in leveraging the positive changes we want to make in our lives.

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to recognize our faulty thinking habits, those “B”s that lead us astray. We do that by employing disputation “D”, becoming good detectives, taking a step back and looking for evidence, allowing that evidence to lead us to the truth, and then choosing verifiable, effective thought, “E”.

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to know the abilities of resilience so that we can mindfully pursue them. They are emotional regulation, impulse control, empathy, realistic optimism, causal analysis (flexible and accurate thinking in the identification of cause), self-efficacy (confidence), and reaching out (people need people; people change people).

Another tool we can employ daily in our quest to grow stronger is to recognize our icebergs, those deeply held beliefs that may or may not help us to move in the direction we want to go. Sometimes old beliefs no longer serve us and must be chipped away. Other times old beliefs are distorted beliefs and we must allow the Holy Spirit to melt away that which is not of Him. However, sometimes our deeply held beliefs are healthy and helpful, and to recognize them is to grow in self-awareness and to understand at a deeper level the “why” in the choices we make.

I have asked you to look for themes in your thinking and in your beliefs. Let me take a moment to draw a diagram from a U of Penn lecture on explanatory styles

challenging beliefs explanatory style
Explanatory Style

When you look back at your “B”s, do you notice a theme of “me me me” “always always always” and “everything everything everything”? OR equally as unhealthy: “them them them” “never never never” and “everything everything everything”???

If so, be mindful that we want to move toward the right side of thinking – balance.

If not, if you find you are generally balanced, good for you! Keep up the equilibrium!

I want to show you this chart, too. Sometimes our feelings are properly responding to our thoughts, and so it is worth looking at:

Are you learning anything more about yourself? I’d love to hear from you!

Thus far we have been working on increasing your self-awareness and improving your self-regulation (emotional regulation and impulse control) by learning and practicing your ABC’s, identifying thinking traps, and checking out your icebergs. Examining your thinking habits and deeply held beliefs encourages mental agility, that ability to think flexibly and accurately, and to begin to identify and understand problems in thinking and, by consequence, in communication. Your willingness to try new strategies demonstrates your already existing mental agility! Give yourself a high five!

So here is your next tool: Challenging Beliefs. You have been doing this along the way, but this week I will give you these downloadable exercises.

  1. Chart your ABC’s about an event that was upsetting to you. Here is a sheet I found: challenging_beliefs
  2. Look at the “B”s and examine which can be considered “why” beliefs, or causes – why this happened. (Why did this happen? Is this problem my fault? Is this problem in my control? What caused this problem? What can explain this problem? Etc)
  3. Decide what percentage each cause contributed to the problem. The total for all of the causes should add up to 100%.
  4. Use the back of the sheet to draw a pie chart and pie-out the percentages so you have a visual.
  5. Which “why” beliefs carry the greatest percentage? Let’s look at that one (or top 3).
  6. Print this Why Belief Scale and write in each “why” belief and score each following the explanatory style.
  7. Are you noticing a balanced or an imbalanced explanatory style? If it is imbalanced, let’s do some detective work. Our goal is to be flexible and accurate in our thinking, so let’s take each one individually again.
  8. Print out this sheet on Why Belief Evidence. Take a step back and try to do this exercise as if you were doing it for a neighbor – looking honestly for the objective evidence. Watch out for the confirmation bias! (Where we only look for evidence that supports our belief!) Video on confirmation bias: Confirmation Bias
  9. Revisiting your pie chart, can you make any alterations as to percentage of causes?
  10. Now print out this Alternative Why Belief Scale. Looking at your original “why” beliefs, can you generate a more likely cause to each belief? Write this in. Score it. Is it more balanced? If so, good job. Now you are ready to formulate a solution, an action plan! You can leverage change that will be effective and lead you in the direction you want to go!

If not, either your why beliefs were already balanced and ready to go, or you are in need of some help. Ask a trusted friend to assist you, or perhaps a counselor or coach are in order. This can be a difficult exercise for anyone to do alone.

The tool of Challenging Beliefs is one way to increase our mental agility. This discipline can help increase our resiliency in all 7 abilities! If we have a clear picture of the causes of a problem, we can let go of that which we cannot control (protecting our energy), and focus precious energy on that which we can control, forming and acting on a plan to resolve the problem.

Note: There are tragic times in life where it can seem we have no control at all, no power to leverage change. However, there is always one thing that no one can ever take away from us.: our power to choose our attitude. 

Next week we will learn another tool for strengthening our resilience: using our signature strengths in problem-solving, for overcoming challenges, and in achieving our goals!

I hope you are learning some new things about yourself, and new skills to bring about positive change!

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