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How we build resilience through learning

Did you know that every time you learn something new, the structure of your brain changes?

It’s not just a metaphor either. Your brain physically gets bigger in order to store the extra information.

The neurons in your brain build a new pathway specific to what you have just experienced or discovered, and repeating the experience strengthens that connection.

It used to be believed that your brain’s grey matter only grew in size during childhood.

However, an experiment in 2000 by University College London proved this wasn’t true.

The university studied taxi drivers who’d gained ‘the Knowledge’, an intimate acquaintance with the streets in a six-mile radius of Charing Cross.

This takes around three years of hard training, and three quarters of drivers who embark on the course drop out.

The taxi drivers had a larger hippocampus compared with other people, and part of it grew larger the longer they were in the job.

Later research showed that most changes to the brain happened during the training period rather than on the job itself.

This shows that humans have the ability to change the way their brain works through practice.

We can use this ability to learn from experiences and become more resilient.

If we embrace learning and repeat experiences that positively reinforce resilience, then this is known as a growth mindset.

People with a growth mindset tend to:

  • Embrace challenges
  • Persist in the face of setbacks
  • See effort as the path to mastery
  • Learn from criticism
  • Find lessons and inspiration in the success of others

And it’s not something people are born with either – we can all learn how!

To discover how to do so, we recommend taking the BounceBack Developing Resilience eLearning course.

Take care,

Team BounceBack

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