BLOG: Experiences of Resilience Lab from Elli, Social Work student

Hi! I’m Elli, a Social Work Second Year Student placed with OTR for five months as a compulsory component to my degree. Within this, I was put in the Resilience Lab project to co-facilitate workshops. However, I’d never really come across the term Resilience in this context. When asked what my definition of resilience was, I replied only with “being motivated to keep trying I guess”.

So in the beginning I felt like a fraud!

But by the end, I was comfortable presenting an assembly explaining exactly what resilience is, what Resilience Lab focus on, how it works for me and how it can be useful for them too! I even noticed my ability to challenge negativity over trivial things.

To let you into a secret, I was asked to write a piece for the OTR website at the beginning of my placement and had absolutely no idea what to write about so pushed aside ever doing it. How times have changed! Now I’m writing this just because I want others to know how it genuinely works. Not because I’ve been asked to at all, but in fact to appreciate the work that Resilience Lab guys do.

So here’s how I went from this:


To this: 



  • It took time! One workshop, even one block of five workshops, wouldn’t cut it for me. I needed to figure out what I wanted to gain from the project and what I identified with the most. I had to spend months before that lightbulb finally switched on and I realised I was already capable of being resilient.


    • Teaching others about the importance of resilience helped. I needed to know the benefits of building up coping strategies and be able to sell them to others – almost persuading other people to try focusing on how great they already were.


    • It took trial and error. No, I haven’t done every strategy under the sun. I’ll admit I downloaded the Headspace app, but have I actually used mindfulness outside of the workshops? Of course not. Four months is not enough time to trial everything! I have a lifetime for that. Besides, knowing what works for me right now means I’m halfway there right? I experimented by reaching out to new people, doing physical exercise, keeping gratitude diaries, learning how to challenge negative thought patterns, making positivity trees, identifying what stresses me out and many more.


    • Sometimes just having a conversation was all it took. Actually it took a lot of conversations where I’d hear about my strengths, what I was doing well and how to make plans that were achievable, and ultimately rewarding. Hearing things that you can be proud of yourself for is amazing.


    • Finally, there’s something magical about peer education. I realised everyone should be labelled an expert. We all know ourselves better than anyone else ever could and we all have it within ourselves to change something negative into something positive, even if it’s just once. It becomes addictive, I promise. And it’s fun! It’s a bit alien at first, but it truly will help any aspect of your life if you’re willing to try.

I am coming to the end of my work at OTR now and I have loved every single minute of working with like-minded people and really getting my brain warped into embracing that silver lining in all that life has to offer.

Thank you soooo much Resilience Lab for teaching me the art of Positive Psychology! How to think in positive ways is so understated and a genuine belief in yourself and your ability to cope goes a long way.

To finish, I’d like to share with you my new found motto… “It’s not a bad day, It’s just a bad moment”

…Because everyone can overcome a bad minute in the day…can’t they?!