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Resiliency Skills with Ana-Maria Vranceanu, PhD

By March 21, 2018January 17th, 2024Science & Research

In this webinar Dr. Vranceanu brings to light some exciting research about the power of the mind to overcome obstacles and cope with pain and illness. Living with neurofibromatosis can often mean living with pain, social stigma, hospitalizations, learning disabilities and other chronic issues. These things can feel out of your control, but Dr. Vranceanu’s research is revealing that the human mind can learn to be resilient, to overcome obstacles and to choose hope in the face of difficulty.

Resiliency Q&A’s

As an adult, how can I apply these coping skills while I’m at work?

This is a great question. Resiliency skills are easy to incorporate into your life, including at work. You can set a reminder on your phone every hour to stop and check on your breathing, and take a couple of deep, slow breaths. When you do this, try to notice what is happening in your body. Depending on the type of work you have, you can schedule 5-10 minutes to meditate before or after lunch. When you notice anxiety or frustration, you can defer reacting and try to be curious about what might trigger your anxiety or frustration (e.g., could it be that you have negative automatic thoughts that you are thinking in a way that is not helpful? Can you change these thoughts into adaptive thoughts? At the end of the day, as you walk to your car, or you walk to the train station, you can form a habit of thinking of a few things that went well, or that you appreciate.

How can I help my child utilize these techniques while at school?

The first step would be to try to teach your child a couple of skills and have her/him practice at home. For kids, you can teach deep breathing by telling them to “smell the flower and blow the candle”. You can practice together when you notice stress at home, and then ask them to pick one situation at school to practice. You can next check in with them and give them praise for trying. You can also teach kids about how sometimes their thinking is negative – for kids, the acronym ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) is very helpful. You can play a game with them at home when you notice them becoming upset or negative -e.g., “Are the ANTS coming?” “Lets let go of the ANTS”. For ex., if a child might say “I have a test, I will fail, I don’t know how to do it”, they can learn to tell themselves “These are just the ANTS, these thoughts are not true”. Again, you would need to practice at home first, and then have the child start practicing at school.

These responses were provided by Dr. Ana-Maria Vranceanu.