Cognitive Fitness – part 1
Part 1 on Cognitive Fitness as resilience, which is the capacity to adapt successfully in the presence of risk & adversity.
To be healthy is to be flexible & adapt to the demands of each situation.
In being cognitively flexible, it’s important to be aware of changing demands & adjust accordingly. We’ve all seen the need to do this in the current pandemic. It’s important to recognize that things still have not returned to normal. Therefore, it’s understandable if you require more sleep & recovery time emotionally. Planning for these increased needs is about being cognitively adaptable.
Practice problem solving, generate multiple options & alternatives to a problem. Recognize & think through the pros & the cons of a situation. Visualize what you want to do in a given situation, this may help illuminate other potential stumbling blocks & gives you more ready access to the behaviors you want to use when the actual time comes.
Learn to set doable & measurable goals. This will make it much easier to determine if you are making progress & what next steps are. Setting a goal of being successful is great, but can be hard to judge. Instead try to make the goal concrete & break it down into smaller steps. Instead of success, perhaps the goal will be to graduate college. This is concrete & measurable. The next step is breaking this goal into smaller steps so that you can measure progress more easily.
Learn to establish realistic goals & when it’s appropriate to let a goal go because it’s unattainable. Part of this is looking at your track record of where you’ve had success and where you have struggled. This can be complicated if you have self-esteem issues, so asking a trusted other to check your thinking can be valuable.
Compare yourself with others who have similar talents & goals – what has been possible for them to accomplish? Where have they struggled? It’s important here to look at who you are comparing yourself to, as a White, cisgender man will not face the same obstacles as a Black transgender woman.
Much of the above information is based on Dr. Meichenbaum’s Roadmap to Resilience.