I was struck as I read “How People Learn to Be Resilient” by Maria Konnikova in the New Yorker.
“Frame adversity as a challenge, and you become more flexible and able to deal with it, move on, learn from it, and grow. Focus on it, frame it as a threat, and a potentially traumatic event becomes an enduring problem; you become more inflexible, and more likely to be negatively affected.”
It’s a great article on the promise of teaching people to think differently about potentially traumatic events. People who are higher in neuroticism – the tendency to experience negative feelings – tend to score lower in resilience than others. Other research
suggests than task-oriented coping is associated with higher resilience and emotion-focused coping with lower resilience. The general picture is that those of us who experience negative emotion more easily and often tend to cope with that by focusing on managing our feelings, rather than focusing on potential tasks that might reduce the threat or stressor. I see this all the time in coaching leaders and teams who are dealing with potential conflict and negotiations.