React or Respond - You Choose

In this Happy Café Ely meeting we explored resilience and in particular how our thought processes can influence our ability to either react or respond to challenges we may face. We started by looking at Action for Happiness poster number 7 on resilience which says "If you can't change it, change the way you think about it". We considered if this was a strategy any of the group used already and in which situations it could be helpful.

Then we went on to discuss how the unconscious brain can produce an instant reaction before the conscious brain has had time to consider an appropriate response. We evaluated what effects our interpretation of situations or behaviour have and how we can fall into common interpretation pitfalls, such as: seeing what we are looking for, seeing what we want to see and being trapped in habitual interpretation patterns. Group members spoke about whether they had a tendency to react or respond and which situations really "pressed their buttons". We recognised that having an awareness of an unconscious, instant reaction had the potential to change future behaviour and enable us to pause - in order to respond, rather than react. Finally, we looked at some additional resilience strategies and considered if we used any of these already, how they made us feel and if there were any new ones to try. An addition to the list which the group suggested is the dotted line at the bottom where you can write in your own favourite strategy. *See crises as challenges to overcome; not insurmountable problems *Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family *Accept that change is a part of life, not a disaster *Take control and be decisive in difficult situations *Nurture a positive view of yourself - don't talk yourself down or focus on flaws *Look for opportunities to improve yourself: a new challenge, social situation or interest outside work. Set goals and plan ways to reach them. *Keep things in perspective: learn from your mistakes and think long term *Practise optimism and actively seek the good side of a bad situation *Practise emotional awareness: can you identify what you are feeling and why? *Look after yourself through healthy eating, exercise, sleep and relaxation (*Add your own here .........) We finished the session with this quote from Viktor Frankl, Holocaust survivor

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