Expert Opinion

Living in a frantic world

‘Resilience’ is a term that has become more frequently adopted within our discipline – but what is it? What does this term mean and how can we as individuals, in our frantic day to day existences, benefit from it?

Every day I learn something new about my insecurities and ways that I limit my life. Luckily, I’m noticing these and making choices to empower myself through practical strategies. For example, learning about mindfulness has helped me to press pause; to create a moment of stillness where I detach from drama & everyday challenges. This helps me to make better choices and to feel calmer in a crisis.

When we make a mistake, we often begin to self-chastise. But we can also press stop and remind ourselves that we will learn from this. Perfection does not exist. In acting in this way, you are encountering human resilience.

I know my negativity bias is really not my fault. It’s my brains way of protecting me from harm and I have inherited this from my ancestors who were primed and ready to defend themselves from animal attack. With simple exercises, we can all train our brains to be more positive and to be thankful for everyday compassion. This helps us to notice more of it around us. I dare say the more I notice it, the more I attract it into my own life. Start to re-train your brain now. Write 10 things for which you feel grateful every day; from the coat that keeps you warm to the love of a good friend. Do this for a week and notice how this alters your perspective.

Fear can keep us in a prison of predictability but little, manageable steps can increasingly move us along a path where we risk letting go of not knowing the outcome. Instead, anticipate the joy of our unknown potential. Students will learn empowering approaches for how to recognise and challenge unhelpful thoughts that block progress and also work on communicating assertively. Try this: Stop saying “It’s only me” when you call someone. Replace this with “Hi it’s me!” Notice how you feel different.

All of us can start today by noticing what brings energy in and what takes it away. Aim to reduce the depleting activities and increase the energising ones. A small adjustment in one area of our lives can have a big impact!

I hope to make a difference to our students’ experience by passing on my learning to them. With my experience and materials jointly created by innovative colleagues, I can help and teach others to develop resilience. So starting today, on World Mental Health Day, I am offering a weekly programme of resilience training to BSc Mental Health & Counselling students by creating a space in the timetable for student self-care that will empower them and be of benefit to their future clients in the profession.

Tara Fox

Senior Lecturer / School Of Health

Tara Fox – Lecturer in Psychological Therapies and Mental Health
Tara Fox is an experienced educator/counsellor. She has worked in education since 1999 delivering counselling training and personal development courses in the community as well as FE and HE environments. In 2007 she became a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (now Academy HE). Her private counselling practice focuses on relationships, young people and adoption


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