Accept That Change Happens

3 Mindsets To Help Students Change Their Perception When Faced With A Challenge

Why do some young people thrive, despite personal tragedies and challenges?

For young people, challenging circumstances may look like a difficult home life, feeling overwhelmed at school, or experiencing a sudden stressful or upsetting event. These circumstances do not have to determine the course of a young person’s life, but the way they choose to respond to them can change how their life plays out.

While each person has their own experiences, some young people seem to have a smoother ride through life and are able to bounce back quicker from challenges. They seem to see life through a positive lens, using adversity and challenges as learning experiences, rather than a source of trauma.

Seeing adversity and challenges as a learning experience is an essential part of resilience. Some can naturally grasp this, while others turn it into helplessness. The good news is that resilience is a skill that can be strengthened with practice.

Here are 3 mindsets students can learn to help them change their perception to build their resilience.

1. Circumstances are Opportunities

Changing your perspective changes your internal dialogue about an event or circumstance to a more positive, less emotional viewpoint.

If a challenging circumstance is seen as an opportunity for growth, students are better able to deal with it, bounce back and learn from it. If it is seen as a threat or trauma, it can seem hopeless.

Circumstances are Opportunities

Journaling is a great way to practice changing your perspective.

Have students take a challenging situation and answer the following questions:

  1. Write the challenging circumstance you are facing.
  2. What’s a more positive way to look at this challenging circumstance?
  3. What choice could you make to put this new positive perspective into action?

2. Fear of Making a Mistake

The fear of making a mistake can be a huge deterrent to young people to try something new. No one likes the feeling of failing and embarrassment. But what if we taught young people to see making a mistake as an opportunity to grow and learn?

What if we taught them that ‘the butterflies’ or nervousness they are feeling is a good thing and that it’s natural to feel that way? Perhaps then, they would be excited to try something new instead of fearing ‘what if I make a mistake?’

Fear of Making a Mistake

Have students do the following exercises:

  1. Write about a time you allowed your fear of making a mistake stop you from saying or doing something.
  2. What do you wish you would have said or done?
  3. What did you learn from this experience?

3. Accept That Change Happens

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, challenges and mistakes will happen. Children who understand that life is like a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs will be able to bounce back with more ease. Studies show that viewing change as a challenge instead of a threat, equips young people with the ability to better deal with adversity. It allows them to find creative solutions to new challenges and to face adversity with calmness.

Accept That Change Happens

Have students do the following exercises:

  1. Write about a time you did something you thought you couldn’t do.
  2. What did you learn about yourself from that experience?
  3. List 3 new things you could try.

Resilience is a very valuable skill for anyone, particularly for children and youth. Developing this skill will help them feel UPowered to move through challenges. We can’t always control the circumstances in our lives but we always have the ability to choose the choices we make – this is where our power lies.

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