Two weeks ago, yesterday, I attended a workshop that dealt with stress resilience and then again last week. At the beginning, the reason I decided to go was because for my journalism class we were required to write a story about an occurrence or event that had an impact on the school and it’s students. We had to research, interview, and write about this event, and although there may have been dozens of directions to go, once I saw an announcement on the student’s calendar about this, I knew I had found my story.
As I have talked about Anxiety and Stress before, and about how I deal with these, I knew attending to it would benefit me in more than one way.
Since the first workshop I attended emphasized on cognitive reconstruction, the facilitator, Dr. Poynter spoke to us about cognitive distortions and how these can be converted into more positive thoughts. I have to admit it was eye-opening for me to realize, as we were going over each of the 12 distortions of the picture on the right, that I tend to do each and every one of them. I also feel it was a tremendous help learning to recognize each of them for what they are and realizing that I’m not the only one that deals with these.
As she gave us an example of what our thoughts would be if we were in a plane that all of a sudden this stopped working mid-air, we slowly started identifying what the alternative, more positive, thoughts to the distortions would be. In reality I do not know what my thoughts would be in given scenario, which I hope never happens, but I understand the gist of it all.
The other thing that stuck with me the most was to focus on the now. It sounds easy and maybe even dull, but that action and phrase holds power that can make a difference. As the Dr. Poynter and Dr. Amaral explained, we can’t stay stuck in the past wondering and beating ourselves up for what this was. Similarly, we shouldn’t overthink about the future, as it has not happened. Instead, we need to focus on the present because if we want our future to be as we’d like, it is right now that we can work on it.
The first time there, I was more determined on figuring out the approach my story would take rather than letting go of the stress right away. Comparing the first week we did some breathing and meditation exercises to the second time I went, I admit there was a significant difference. By the time the meditation exercise ended, my body felt lighter, I was calm. Truth is, as I had my eyes closed, listening, picturing and sensing what the facilitator was saying, all while taking deep breaths, I was able to let go.
Thinking back, I am beyond thankful with my decision of focusing on this workshop for my final. Truthfully, I found myself in a welcoming environment full of people who were familiar and/or have had similar thoughts and feelings as mine. I believe I was able to learn to an extent more about myself and other forms, that I had not tried, to cope with not only stress but my anxiety.
Have you ever attended any form of resilience workshop or have you thought about attending one? If you’ve attended to one/more before, has your experience been pleasant and what are some of the things that you learned?