The content of this website is not a substitute for advice, treatment, or counselling from a registered health professional or therapist. A health professional or therapist should be consulted in the case of suspected physical or mental illness. The training is not a substitute for any intervention advised by your healthcare provider or therapist. If in doubt, always consult your healthcare provider and therapist.
Do not listen to the audio file and do not practice the relaxation training while driving or operating machinery.
What is Adaptive Resilience
Exercise 1: Coherence Training
The Breath Pacer
Exercise 2: Quick stress relief
Exercise 3: In- Step- Technique
Step 1: Review (Stepping out)
Step 2: Contemplation (Making sense)
Step 3: Mental rehearsal (Stepping in)
Exercise 4: A courageous conversation with myself (Contemplation)
Strengthen Your Willpower and Attract Favorable Circumstances
Exercise 5: Mindful nature observation
Exercise 6: Active listening
Exercise 7: Transforming Difficult Relationships
Addendum: Physiology and Psychology of Stress and Resilience
The Autonomic Nervous System
The Physiology of Engagement and Flow
Summary and Conclusion
Download your Breath Pacers for free (for use with Coherence Training)
Download: click here
Download the folder with the Breath Pacers (MP3) and Instructions for the Coherence Training (PDF) onto your desktop
Import them Breath Pacers into an MP3 player or into your smart phone
You can also stream the files on your phone whilst online
Use head phones when listening to the sound files for maximum effect
Peter Gruenewald, The Quiet Heart: Putting Stress in Its Place (Edinburgh: Floris Books, 2007).
Angela Duckworth. TED Talk. Grit: The Power of passion and perseverance. https://www.ted.com/talks/angela_lee_duckworth_the_key_to_success_grit/transcript?language=en
Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, “Flow and the Foundations of Positive Psychology: The Collected Works of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Springer, New York (8 Aug. 2014)
Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi, Flow: The Psychology of Happiness, New Ed. (Ebury Digital, 2013), London, Kindle.
Martin Seligman, The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist's Journey from Helplessness to Optimism (London: Nicholas Brealey, 2018).
Martin Seligman, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life (London: Nicholas Brealey, 2018).
Martin Seligman, Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being—and How to Achieve Them (London: Nicholas Brealey, 2011), Kindle.
Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence. Why It Can Matter More Than IQ (London: Bloomsbury, 2009).
Chrisanthy Vlachakis et al., “Human Emotions on the Onset of Cardiovascular and Small Vessel Related Diseases,” In Vivo 32, no. 4 (July/August 2018): 859–70.
Ed Diener and Micaela Y. Chan. “Happy People Live Longer: Subjective Well‐Being Contributes to Health and Longevity.” Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being 3, no. 1 (March 2011): 1–43, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1758-0854.2010.01045.x.
American Psychological Association, “The Road to Resilience,” apa.org, 2014, https://uncw.edu
Brian Chin et al., “Marital status as a predictor of diurnal salivary cortisol levels and slopes in a community sample of healthy adults,”Psychoneuroendocrinology 78 (April 2017): 68–75, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.01.016.
Jerry Suls and James Bunde, “Anger, Anxiety, and Depression as Risk Factors for Cardiovascular Disease: The Problems and Implications of Overlapping Affective Dispositions,” Psychological Bulletin 131, no. 2 (March 2005): 260–300, https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0033-2909.131.2.260.
Michele M. Tugade and Barbara L. Fredrickson, “Resilient Individuals Use Positive Emotions to Bounce Back From Negative Emotional Experiences,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 86, no. 2 (February 2004): 320–33, https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1680.
Paul M. Lehrer and Richard Gevirtz, “Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback: How and Why Does It Work?” Frontiers in Psychology 5 (July 2014): 1–9, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00756.
Paul M. Lehrer et al., “Resonant Frequency Biofeedback Training to Increase Cardiac Variability: Rationale and Manual for Training,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 25, no. 3 (October 2000): 177–189, https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1009554825745.
Bradley M. Appelhans and Linda J. Luecken, “Heart Rate Variability as an Index of Regulated Emotional Responding,” Review of General Psychology 10, no. 3 (September 2006): 229–40, https://doi.org/10.1037%2F1089-2622.214.171.124.
Raymond Trevor Bradley et al., “Emotion Self-Regulation, Psychophysiological Coherence, and Test Anxiety: Results from an Experiment Using Electrophysiological Measures,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 35, no. 4 (December 2010): 261–83, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-010-9134-x.
Maria Katsamanis Karavidas et al. “Preliminary Results of an Open Label Study of Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback for the Treatment of Major Depression,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 32, no. 1 (March 2007): 19–30, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-006-9029-z.
Auditya Purwandini Sutarto et al., “Resonant Breathing Biofeedback Training for Stress Reduction Among Manufacturing Operators,” International Journal of Occupational Safety and Ergonomics 18, no. 4 (January 2012): 549–61, https://doi.org/10.1080/10803548.2012.11076959.
Gregg Henriques et al., “Exploring the Effectiveness of a Computer-Based Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback Program in Reducing Anxiety in College Students,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 36, no. 2 (June 2011): 101–12, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-011-9151-4.
Richard P. Brown et al., “Breathing Practices for Treatment of Psychiatric and Stress-Related Medical Conditions,” Psychiatric Clinics of North America 36, no. 1 (March 2013): 121–140, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psc.2013.01.001.
Rollin McCraty et al., “The Impact of a New Emotional Self-Management Program on Stress, Emotions, Heart Rate Variability, DHEA, and Cortisol,” Integrative Physiological and Behavioral Sciences 33, no. 2 (April 1998): 151–70, https://doi.org/10.1007/bf02688660.
Mike J. Gross et al., “Abbreviated Resonant Frequency Training to Augment Heart Rate Variability and Enhance On-Demand Emotional Regulation in Elite Sport Support Staff,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 41, no. 3 (September 2016): 263–74, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-015-9330-9.
Auditya Purwandini Sutarto et al., “Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback: A New Training Approach for Operator’s Performance Enhancement,”Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management 3, no. 1 (June 2010): 176–98, http://dx.doi.org/10.3926/jiem.2010.v3n1.p176-198.
Terri L. Zucker et al., “The Effects of Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Biofeedback on Heart Rate Variability and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms: A Pilot Study,” Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback 34, no. 2 (June 2009): 135–43, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-009-9085-2.
Kennon M. Sheldon and Sonja Lyubomirsky, “How to Increase and Sustain Positive Emotion: The Effects of Expressing Gratitude and Visualizing Best Possible Selves,” Journal of Positive Psychology 1, no. 2 (2006): 73–82, https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760500510676.
Robert Emmons and Michael E. McCullough, “Counting Blessings Versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 84, no. 2 (February 2003): 377–89, https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1997.
Jeffrey J. Froh et al., “Counting Blessings in Early Adolescents: An Experimental Study of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being,” Journal of School Psychology 46, no. 2 (April 2008): 213–33, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsp.2007.03.005.
Jeffrey J. Froh et al., “Gratitude in Children and Adolescents: Development, Assessment, and School-Based Intervention (2007),” School Psychology Forum 2, no. 1 (Fall 2007).
For more about the benefits of exercising gratitude, see Kori D. Miller, “14 Health Benefits of Practicing Gratitude According to Science,” positivepsychology.com, May 20, 2020, https://positivepsychology
.com/benefits-of-gratitude/; Alice M. Isen et al., “The Influence of Positive Affect on Clinical Problem Solving,” Medical Decision Making 11, no. 3 (July/September 1991): 221–7, https://doi.org/10.1177
%2F0272989X9101100313; Alice M. Isen et al., “Positive Affect Facilitates Creative Problem Solving,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 52, no. 6 (June 1987): 1122–31, https://doi.apa.org/doi
/10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.522; and F. Gregory Ashby et al., “A Neuropsychological Theory of Positive Affect and Its Influence on Cognition,” Psychological Review 106, no. 3 (July 1999): 529–50, https://doi.apa.org
Hildur Finnbogadóttir and Dorthe Berntsen, “Looking at Life from Different Angles: Observer Perspective during Remembering and Imagining Distinct Emotional Events,” Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 1, no. 4 (2014): 387–406, https://doi.org/10.1037/CNS0000029.
See Melanie Gregg et al., “The Imagery Ability, Imagery Use, and Performance Relationship,” The Sport Psychologist 19, no. 1 (2005): 93–99, https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/cb93/ab4c2c70da9a0d52aedc
5859640eda00978d.pdf; and David Eldred-Evans et al., “Using the Mind as a Simulator: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Mental Training,” Journal of Surgical Education 70, no. 4 (July/August 2013): 544–51, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsurg.2013.04.003.
Shad Helmstetter: “What to say when you talk to yourself,” Park Avenue Press (2011)
Mai-Chuan Wang et al., “Purpose in Life and Reasons for Living as Mediators of the Relationship between Stress, Coping, and Suicidal Behavior,” Journal of Positive Psychology 2, no. 3 (June 2007): 195–204, https://doi.org/10.1080/17439760701228920.
Sven Asmus et al., “The Impact of Goal-Setting on Worker Performance—Empirical Evidence from a Real-Effort Production Experiment,” Procedia CIRP 26, (2015): 127–32, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2015.02
P. Christopher Earley et al., “Task Planning and Energy Expended: Exploration of How Goals Influence Performance,” Journal of Applied Psychology72, no. 1 (1987): 107–14, https://doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/0021-9010.72.1.107.
On the effectiveness of self-talk, see Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis et al., “Mechanisms Underlying the Self-Talk–Performance Relationship: The Effects of Motivational Self-Talk on Self-Confidence and Anxiety,” Psychology of Sport and Exercise 10, no. 1 (2009): 186–92, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2008.07.009; Chris P. Neck and Charles C. Manz, “Thought Self‐Leadership: The Influence of Self‐Talk and Mental Imagery on Performance,” Journal of Organizational Behavior 13 (1992): 681–99, https://doi.org/10.1002
/job.4030130705; and David Tod et al., “Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review,” Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology 33, no. 5 (October 2011): 666–87, https://doi.org/10.1123/jsep.33.5.666.
Genevive R. Meredith et al. Minimum Time Dose in Nature to Positively Impact the Mental Health of College-Aged Students, and How to Measure It: A Scoping Review. Front. Psychol., 14 January 2020 https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02942
Richard Louv, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder (London: Atlantic Books, 2013).
On the benefits of time in nature for mental health, see Mardie Townsend and Rona Weerasuriya, Beyond Blue to Green: The Benefits of Contact with Nature for Mental Health and Well-Being (Melbourne, Australia: Beyond Blue Limited, 2010); and Diana E. Bowler et al., “A Systematic Review of Evidence for the Added Benefits to Health of Exposure to Natural Environments,” BMC Public Health 10 (August 2010): 456, https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-10-456.
Rudolf Steiner. Goethean Science (Liverpool: Mercury Press, 1988).
Shinya Kubota et al., “A Study of the Effects of Active Listening on Listening Attitudes of Middle Managers,” Journal of Occupational Health 46, no. 1 (February 2004): 60–7, https://doi.org/10.1539/joh.46.60.
Lynn Kacperck, “Non-Verbal Communication: The Importance of Listening,” British Journal of Nursing 6, no. 5 (December 2014): 27, https://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.19184.108.40.2065.
Nancy Kline, Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind (London: Cassell, 2002). The power of effective listening is recognized as the essential tool of good management.
Carl Rogers, Client Centred Therapy: Its Current Practice, Implications and Theory (London: Robinson, 2003).
Sachiko Mineyama et al., "Supervisors' Attitudes and Skills for Active Listening with Regard to Working Conditions and Psychological Stress Reactions among Subordinate Workers,” Journal of Occupational Health 49 (2007) 1. https://doi.org/10.1539/joh.49.81.
Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer, Leading from the Emerging Future: From Ego-System to Eco-System
Overcoming Misery In 2004, a lifetime of negative feelings—principally of anxiety—were precipitated by family circumstances into a much more acute depression with symptoms of sleeplessness, bursts of anger, feelings of a failed and guilty life, and suicidal imaginings. Now, a year later, my life has been transformed with a much more balanced view of life in all its aspects. In Freud’s phrase (though not with his treatment methods), hysterical misery has been replaced with ordinary unhappiness. This residual unhappiness—which is mild rather than severe and does have occasional sunny intervals—is, I think, attributable to a lifelong predisposition to unhappiness springing from childhood and a failure to find ongoing creative activities. Treatment at my medical practice has consisted of modest doses of antidepressants, now gradually being taken off, together with regular coaching from Dr. Gruenewald in resilience techniques. These have consisted of the breathing exercise (Coherence Training), a combination of relaxation and breathing exercises, and affirmation. In this process I have developed, with Dr. Gruenewald’s flexible approach to treatment, a series of helpful mental pictures (the essence of which came to me unbidden). In these I see a series of colored veils fall from a “diamond” version of myself. They are replaced by more luminously colored positive feelings within the transparent self that arise Phoenix-like from each negative veil, consumed by the fire of love. Each major negative feeling is replaced by an inwardly and outwardly directed positive feeling. A red veil of anger is replaced by patience and lovingkindness. A yellow veil of fear is replaced by courage and trust. A green veil of envy is replaced by gratitude and empathy. A white veil of perfectionism is replaced by self-forgiveness and an ability to enjoy the unexpected. After stopping the antidepressant treatment, I see myself continuing resilience-based exercises, continuing with new creative activities, and making other lifestyle changes as may be necessary. My treatment has provided a foundation for this future of balanced thinking and feeling.L.T., architect, age 62
Living with a Demanding Mother I am 43 years old, married with three children (now aged 13, 15, and 3). I work as an electronics engineer, developing and designing products for computers. My mother has been living with the family for the past four years. This decision was based on a certain necessity but also on genuine mutual fondness. The first two years went well, and everybody was pleased with the arrangement. This has changed dramatically over the past two years. When I first saw Dr. Gruenewald, I felt emotionally drained and physically exhausted. I felt that my enjoyment of life had been lost. What kept me going was my sense of duty toward my family. I felt that I was just going through the motions of life, although I wasn’t sure whether there was much point in that at all. I didn’t want to end my life, but I would have liked to just fall asleep and not awaken again. I had stopped enjoying activities I previously enjoyed, for example, socializing with friends. I believed the cause of all my problems was the drastic change in my relationship with my mother. My mother had become increasingly demanding, constantly complaining and interfering with our family life. She was insensitive to everyone else’s needs, and intrusive. I blamed myself for the fact that my wife and family found life with my mother (and with me!) increasingly difficult. The only one who still liked having his grandmother around was my three-year-old son, who has a sunny disposition and seems happy anywhere. Over the last few months I had become irritable, often very angry and short-tempered, full of guilt and confusion about my own behavior. I avoided my mother wherever I could as a measure of self-protection. I had been feeling very resentful toward her, partly because I started to remember a lot of negative experiences from the past and because I blamed her for all our current problems. She didn’t show any understanding for my very busy and demanding work, nor for the circumstances of my wife or teenage children. I felt trapped and couldn’t see a way out. I also felt depressed and developed other health problems. I found it difficult to speak to my friends about the home situation because I thought all my problems might sound petty and ridiculous. I felt ashamed and worried that they might consider me a complete failure and unable to deal with my problems adequately. All this has impacted not only my relationship with my wife and children, but also my work, and that was what finally drove me to consult a doctor. I had developed sleep problems, high blood pressure, and frequent headaches, and I kept worrying about my more or less constant dull stomachache. Dr. Gruenewald took time to listen to me and asked me to come again for a 30-minute appointment. He arranged for some medical investigations (blood tests) that, besides increased cholesterol and slightly high blood pressure, all turned out normal. At the second consultation, Dr. Gruenewald invited me to see him for a one-to-one coaching session using the adaptive resilience approach. He suggested teaching me techniques that would empower me to cope better with my life situation and social relationships and that could help improve my low mood. I was motivated to give it a go as I saw a possibility of avoiding medication and talk therapy, which I wasn’t so keen on anyway. Dr. Gruenewald suggested that counseling or medication may still be needed but agreed to pursue the Adaptive Resilience approach first. In my first adaptive resilience session, Dr. Gruenewald gave me an overview of the approach and its clinical background. He introduced the Coherence Exercise to me and suggested that I practice it at least once daily for 10 minutes, but more frequently if possible. He advised me to practice the breathing technique once or twice daily for 15 minutes. Within a few days of practicing the breathing technique, I experienced a new sense of inner calmness, not only during the exercise but also, at least at times, throughout the day. After about two weeks, I realized that I had been significantly more relaxed in my communication with all members of my family, including my mother. My wife confirmed that change. I started to feel less anxious and irritable and became able to stay calm in many of the challenging situations. I had been practicing about twice a day for at least 15 minutes and had enjoyed it and considered it my personal quality time. I feel that as soon as I practiced controlled regular breathing, I experienced a deep sense of calmness and relaxation. My low mood hadn’t improved much, though. I still felt low most of the time when I saw Dr. Gruenewald again two weeks after the previous consultation. But I was encouraged by the progress I had made with my fears and irritability and I felt generally more hopeful. During this session, Dr. Gruenewald introduced the Courageous Conversation exercise. He advised me to spend only up to 20 minutes on the Coherence exercise and then to move on to this new exercise. Practicing the Courageous Conversation with myself, I started to recollect very recent situations. In the evening, I looked back to encounters with my mother during the day. I tried to remember each situation as vividly as possible. I tried to visualize my mother’s and my own gestures, facial expressions, spoken and unspoken words, and feelings in the situation. I learned how to cope with the feelings attached to the memories by continuing with balanced breathing and feeling deep calmness. The feelings I experienced at the time were anger, annoyance, frustration, and sadness. I learned how to ease these feelings and look at the situation in a more detached way. Moving on to the next step of the exercise, I learned to develop feelings of compassion for myself, something I’ve never done before in my life. The image of the hurt child within me was a great help. I then moved on to mentally rehearsing difficult life situations by picturing myself in difficult times with my mother and finding calmness, caring, and strength to resolve these situations amicably. Having practiced it for a while, I started to apply this exercise to my mother. I reflected on some of the personal traits in her that I really appreciate and allowed myself to create and experience feelings of appreciation for her. For example, I admire her patience in dealing with my children. In the next step, I faced the difficult sides of our relationship, but this time not criticizing, but rather trying to understand her behavior and reactions from her perspective and by reflecting on her own difficult childhood experiences. From here it wasn’t too difficult anymore to develop a sense of compassion for my mother as I recognized how little she seemed to be in charge of her own behavior and emotional responses. As I experienced compassion for her and her current life situation, I extended it to her “victims,” too (my family and myself). I ended the exercise by asking myself how to best respond to this life situation in order to find a solution to the conflict. I practiced this exercise about four times and experienced a significant change within myself after a few days. I learned to develop a sense of acceptance not only for her, but for my failures too. I learned to see our whole situation in a different light. The change of attitude toward myself and my mother changed my perspective on our problems, and now I can respond to her better even in challenging daily situations. For example, I can feel my mother’s pain and concern and understand the motives for her actions. I have gradually come to recognize that she has no intention of harming anyone. Also, surprisingly, it hasn’t been too difficult to replace blaming my mother, other family members, or myself with positive assertiveness, understanding, and forgiveness. Of course, this works better on some days than others, but I also realized there are issues that need more work and others that now seem to be resolving almost effortlessly. What surprised me most was that, although I had never talked to my mother about the exercises I’d been doing, she seemed to have been changing too, opening up and showing more interest in the family’s life again. My relationship with my family has improved as well and I feel optimistic about the future. The physical symptoms have eased up, in step with the disappearing tension. I’ve made the Coherence Breathing and Courageous Conversation exercises a regular part of my life now. I’ve learned to use and adapt them to my own needs for other situations, for example, to improve difficult relationships at work. I do seem to get on a lot better with family, friends, and colleagues now.B.R., engineer, age 43
Preparing for a Difficult Meeting The day after I took part in an introductory workshop on the Resilience techniques, I attended a meeting about which I was very concerned. I knew a difficult issue would be discussed, and I felt a huge resentment about it. I was worried that my resentment would get the better of me and that I would create an angry scene. In addition, a manager would be present whom I had confronted about lying once before, fueling my resentment even further. Ten minutes before the meeting, I sat down quietly and did the breathing technique and reminded myself of my experience with the Active Listening exercise. That took five minutes. I then had another five minutes to “come back into the world” and make my way into the meeting room. Once there, I was amazed at how calm I was and how much genuine appreciation I experienced for the manager’s general attitude and professionalism. When I spoke, it felt as if the resentment had simply vanished. Instead I was clear, articulate, and assertive when I stated a request. The words just came without premeditation and it was only when I actually spoke that I realized my request meant that it would be difficult for the manager to be “economical with the truth” at a later point. My request was accepted. Since then I have practiced the resilience exercises on a daily basis. As a result, I am generally calmer and able to quietly and assertively ask for what I want as well as set boundaries. Until now I have had great difficulties with both of these.M.F., accountant, age 49
Frustration of a Teenager I was in my last year of high school and found it extremely stressful. I wanted to study law and needed very good results. I was always a good student but was at odds with my history teacher. I felt that he hated me, wanted me to fail, but was himself incompetent in some areas of the subject. We often used to have words, where I felt I was in the right, but my teacher just wouldn’t admit it. He was out to get me! I was so worked up and frustrated that it had a negative effect on my attitude toward school. I became extremely bad-tempered and started falling out with my sister, who claims I had become unbearable. I felt that nobody understood the pressure I was under, blamed family and friends for not caring, and talked about giving it all up and traveling to get rid of them all. But I also felt ill all the time and wondered whether I had the strength for traveling on the cheap. I decided to see Dr. Gruenewald only as a (last) favor to my parents, and in the beginning, I wasn’t very engaged at all. I must have come across as impatient and arrogant. As our conversation continued, I felt safe to open up and poured out my grievances. After a while I even enjoyed the conversation, as I realized that I wasn’t being criticized or blamed. I agreed to start with some relaxation exercises to help me calm down because I somehow felt sad and frustrated that I kept losing my temper with the people I liked and cared about. A week or two after I began practicing the exercises almost daily, my sleep started to improve even though I hadn’t even realized its sleep quality had deteriorated over the last few months. I felt more relaxed and able to open up and engage in conversations. Through my conversations with Dr. Gruenewald, I realized that I can become very impatient with people and that I have really high expectations of myself and others and hate to see them disappointed. I mentioned to him that I’ve often been perceived as arrogant and that I didn’t think this was the case at all, but people often misunderstood me. I just like to get things right and find it extremely annoying if people who should be knowledgeable in certain areas don’t get their facts straight. I found teachers particularly annoying because they had an automatic claim to always being right and never admitted making mistakes. I couldn’t stand their hypocritical behavior and the way they demanded respect despite not respecting me at all. I just couldn’t understand how this didn’t seem to matter to other people. I felt, though, that I often got things a bit out of perspective, and I wanted to be more patient and slower to judge others. I didn’t like the fact that I sometimes treated people, even friends, unfairly because of my quick temper. I agreed to work on my relationship with the teacher after Dr. Gruenewald introduced the Preparing for a Challenging Conversation exercise to me. I was keen to try this exercise because I felt that this relationship had so much impact on my life at present and for the future and I hoped the exercise would help. At times I had been extremely harsh in my judgments of myself and others. I understood that being kinder to myself and learning to accept my own weaknesses would help me become kinder toward others. After two weeks of practicing the Transforming Challenging Relationships exercise, I felt that my attitude toward my teacher had changed. At times I was now able to see the teacher’s point of view. I had still disagreements, but they seemed more constructive. Sometimes I could even convince my teacher of my own view of things or clarify facts, like dates, that the teacher got wrong. I think that’s because I wasn’t so aggressive anymore. Gradually I became more aware of my own actions and how they influence others. My temper has calmed down considerably and I also get along better with my family. The exercise taught me to be more compassionate and accepting of myself and others. Imagining future events in a positive way was particularly helpful. Reflecting compassionately on myself and others and mentally rehearsing future events now helps me deal with people I used to find hard to take. I’m also better with exam situations. Recently I went to a few job interviews and felt that they went very well. Out of four interviews, I was offered three jobs. In the past, I usually found the interviews rather annoying and resented the interviewers’ superior behavior. I think now that might have been because I have been putting on a rather arrogant act. I feel more confident now because I’m able to rehearse the situations mentally and therefore can act more naturally in potentially stressful situations. I believe I’ve changed, and more people seem to like me. In the past, although I had good friends, I had problems with older people in authority. I have now taken a year off after graduation to do some traveling and possibly some teaching in developing countries. It’s pretty ironic that I’m even thinking about that. Somehow, I’ve learned a lot about myself through the exercises and I’m more interested in other people. This makes me more understanding and patient. I’m planning to start college after my year off.Frustration of a Teenager