I guess you like many people at the moment are facing some challenges as a result of Covid-19. Whether it is concern about loved ones, supporting your children’s learning, getting enough exercise, feeling stressed or even confused and indecisive, just know you are not alone. I know that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier.
It can be hard to remember that it’s natural to have obstacles crop up from time to time, and yes, this is a somewhat more significant obstacle than normal (whatever normal is). Everyone has setbacks, disappointments, and tough times. But going through a rough patch doesn’t have to spoil your life.
The key to thriving in the face of adversity is how you respond to the obstacles in your path. So you allow yourself to learn from this event, as they say, it would be a shame to waste a crisis.
Here are 4 suggestions to help you ride through and come out on top.
1. Decide to welcome the obstacle
If you’re having a tough time, it can be easy to feel helpless, even that you’re a victim.
So it is your choice to rise to the challenge and decide that you won’t be overwhelmed. The first step in overcoming any obsctacle, is choosing to identify, take control and embrace your challenge. I know the idea of embracing Covid-19 sounds weird, but that is not really the challenge. The problem is your response to that thing - Covid-19 - outside you. This is were ‘identify’ comes from, what are you feeling: fear, confusion, uncertainty, sadness or something else, only you know. Once you identify your feeling, your response, then you can look your obstacle square in the face and resolve to meet it.
2. Be okay with discomfort
The proof that you’re embracing your obstacle is acknowledging it doesn’t feel good. It can feel uncomfortable, heavy, even painful. There are lots of life experiences that hurt at the time but end up being for your best and highest good. From marathon training to going to the dentist to public speaking, even facing your debtors, you feel so much better once you’ve encountered the worst. Remember it won’t last forever. Don’t shrink from the bad feelings, learn from them and build your resilience. You can ride them out!
3. Make sure you have a support team
You don’t have to face your obstacles alone, and this means you ask for help, support or an ear to listen to you. It can make all the difference to have people around you who are supportive, who’ll stick by you and cheer you on when you want to give up.
If you have a cheer squad, you’ll find that extra level of energy to help get you through. And when you reciprocate and are there for your family, friends and colleagues when they’re facing their challenges, you’ll feel so good about yourself. Once you’re part of a team who have each other’s backs, none of you will have to face life’s ups and downs alone. You’ll fight together and celebrate success together.
4. Be grateful for your obstacles
Feeling gratitude for the challenges in life might sound counter-intuitive. But think about it. Accepting the challenge, resolving to meet it head-on, and overcoming it makes you a better, stronger person. Think of how good it feels to deal with a problem and solve it. To face fear and overcome it or simply let it go.
Without obstacles in your life, you would not grow and learn and become even more of who you are. Obstacles, even this current one, are a natural, regular (well hopefully irregular) part of living your authentic learning life.
A question for you
Which one of these suggestions is most useful for you?
During this pandemic with 24-hour news bombarding our senses and concern for ourselves, family, friends and colleagues, we are bound to feel stressed and a sense of loss of control. So the critical question is; what habits can you develop to support yourself and increase your resilience through this challenging time?
Even if you are the most mindful and resilient person, the low-level hum of stress may mean you have days when you don't feel your best and overreact emotionally. It is all a part of being human and your emotional responses at play which are currently more tightly wound. As an emotional being, you're programmed to feel, and it is essential information. But there are also times when situations can get the better of you, and instead of empowering you, they make you feel limited and powerless. When this happens, and you feel emotionally trapped in the moment, you may make decisions that could be unhelpful to the situation. And remember any decision is the best decision you can make at that moment in time with the information you have available to you. It is only in retrospect you can judge it, even if it is only a minute later. So if you find you have barked at your partner, for no good reason, take a step back, breathe and reorient yourself.
Being able to be resilient becomes all the more useful during these times. It is during emotionally-charged situations that your character often gets tested. While it's not only about character, your emotional strength and maturity to handle these situations is also at play.
One thing is for sure, emotional resilience is key to success. It helps you make sense of situations and enables you to choose the best decisions without being limited or feeling trapped. Overall, it is vital to maintaining a sense of balance in life. Being emotionally resilient empowers everyone and helps preserve a sense of hopefulness and positivity no matter the situation.
Why not experiment by modelling emotionally resilient people who have these 5 similar Resilient Mindset Habits in common.
1. They Pause Instead of Acting Impulsively
The value of the "pause" becomes even more pronounced amidst stress and adversity. It's during high pressure and emotionally charged times that character often shines through. During these passing moments of suffering, emotionally resilient people turn to the pause, not out of fear but wisdom – knowing that making a hasty decision influenced by what they're currently feeling and experiencing right now, could turn the scenario for the worst. This capacity for impulse control empowers them to make better decisions when they're in a better place and state of mind.
2. They Can Work Through Discomfort
The patience and the wisdom to willingly work through emotional discomfort is not for the faint of heart. And yet, this is one of the classic traits of emotionally resilient people. It's an inner strength that is admirable and worthy of being modelled.
Not everyone can sit through a storm peacefully and with wisdom, without potentially turning to a bottle of alcohol or another form of unhealthy vice. A lot of people wreck themselves momentarily in trying to cope. Resilient people's strength empowers them to gain a sense of perspective out of a difficult situation.
3. They Practice Self-Care
Emotionally resilient people momentarily cope with difficulty by turning to self-care. This self-soothing is a very positive and proactive form of coping, rather than drowning their sorrows or indulging in a 'pity party'. By giving themselves the tender loving care their inner self needs in the moment, they create even more strength. It's a wonderful opportunity to come out of a challenging situation more enlightened and refreshed.
Sometimes, the most productive solutions come out of these instances. A physically healthy person who establishes a more flexible mindset has more edge over a difficult situation. Whether it's enough sleep, exercise, going outdoors or enjoying playtime with a pet, emotionally resilient people master self-care, making it their weapon of choice amidst tough times.
4. They Know How to Turn to Humor
Apart from self-care, emotionally resilient people deal with life and the realities that come along with it with a bit of humor. The ability to laugh may be a form of survival. Some people manage to reframe their mindset from a situation at hand by telling jokes and getting their giggles on. They know even choosing consciously to smile fully can influence how they feel. Humor goes a long way and can be a great form of distraction in the meantime. Share it with people around you, and it also helps create positive bonds while fostering better relationships.
5. They Accept the Present
Contrary to what some people might think acceptance doesn't mean complacence. Instead, it is the flexibility to allow the wind to temporarily take a person's sails where they may not have originally planned to go. While it's good to plan and prepare for life at all times, nothing is ever certain.
A sense of calm and composure enable you deal with changes and situations beyond your control. Emotionally resilient people allow temporary situations and even suffering to pass without letting it break them. While they allow themselves to feel emotions, they don't let the circumstances overwhelm them.
Three Questions for You?
Are you noticing things (I'm not mentioning them, there is enough out there) are quite challenging at the moment due to all the uncertainty? In these times stress levels go up, and everyone's pinch point gets that bit more easily activated, causing friction in relationships. But you can decide to focus on being kind to ease the stress and soothe relationships. Being kinder is not about making sacrifices or denying your own needs. When you treat people kindly, it isn't an imposition or another task on your checklist, it is a way to be.
Here are some scientifically proven tips for engineering kindness into your brain.
Actively choose to be kind
It's the outward demonstration of living positively. Kindness is all about mindset, and you can train your brain to make kindness almost automatic. Ever notice that being kind to someone makes you feel good too? It's because altruism promotes a chemical reaction in your brain, releasing serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine. These chemicals not only make you feel good but also work to reinforce positive social behaviour. By laying down new neural pathways, you set yourself up for living a positive, kinder life.
In choosing to be kind, you are consciously resetting your mindset to treat people with compassion and empathy. Notice the effect of your kindness on others. When you smile, people's natural reaction is to smile back. You set up a kindness loop that keeps on paying itself forward!
Choosing to be kind, regardless of your mood, can even turn a cranky day into a happier one. Your brain receives the message that all is well, and before you know it, you'll be feeling more cheerful.
Do more random acts of kindness
Here in the west, we associate the mind with the brain, whereas in eastern traditions, the mind is associated with the heart. When you think of it in that way, it is easier to tap into the kindness mindset, isn't it?
Studies have shown that carrying out five random acts of kindness every week is the single most effective way of increasing your happiness. Anything from buying a pay it forwards coffee, to letting another driver into the traffic, or even helping your elderly neighbour with shopping will make you and the other person feel good.
Be kind to yourself.
Self-kindness starts with noticing your self-talk. Are you encouraging or judging? Do you start from a position of 'yes I can' or 'I'll never do it'? Pay attention to that voice in your head, and change the script to really being kind and gentle with yourself. Be your own cheerleader, just like you would with your best friend.
Build little acts of self-care into your day. Reward successes, big and small. Take time to do the things that make you feel good. Make sure you get enough sleep, stay hydrated and have a nutritious diet.
Make it a daily practice to count your blessings. Research has shown that people are happier when they notice the good things in their lives and practice gratitude. The outcome is so marked that it changes your brain structure! Brain scans have shown the positive effects of both mindfulness and gratitude. What happens is the parts of the brain associated with stress shrink, while the regions associated with self-awareness and compassion grow. And that is what you want, I suspect.
Stress is a component in many major diseases, as is being shown in more and more studies. If you don't handle your stress effectively, it can also cause problems in your business.
It’s important to realise everyone has stress at some level, and if you're not careful, it can hurt you. Stress comes from 4 sources also called stressors.
Here are some coping behaviours to help you handle stress:
That's all for now til next time this is Julie Silfverberg with Success Partners - working with you to create your success mindset.
I’m curious how do you offset your stress…if you have any! Do share in the comments below, we would all benefit.
Time Management? The funny thing is, it is not really managing time is it? It’s managing yourself within the constraints of the time available. As they say: “Time and tide wait for no man”
Managing yourself within the time available to you is critical to the achievement of any of your goals. Actually, if you can't master yourself here,
Sometimes there can be a mindset of "Well I've set my goal so now all I have to do is wait for it to happen." And yes, setting the goal is vital, and to guarantee its achievement you need to do stuff (technical term :)). To know what to do and when planning is the difference that makes the difference.
What are your tips for planning the steps of your goal?
When you feel angry or frustrated at work, home or even socially being able to manage your emotion in a way that allows you to communicate effectively and create the outcome you desire is a useful skill. Have a look at the video for a few tips.
If you find yourself getting distracted and losing focus it is probably happening without you knowing how it is happening. If you don't know the process, it is challenging to do anything about it. Discover how you do it.
If you find yourself getting distracted and losing focus take the time to write down what you are thinking that takes you away from the moment (the now). The process of doing this helps you step outside yourself and observe what is really going on. It may be a worry, stress, fear or the situation.
Whatever is disrupting your thoughts or actions needs to be written down because when you write it down, it requires that you label it, by labelling it you make it more specific which can reduce the distracting thoughts power to return again and again. You can then work out how to deal with them so that those thoughts no longer affect you.
Three suggestions for you to experiment with:
Now you may be thinking to yourself that this process just magnifies the problem, but if you do nothing, nothing will shift and you will continue as before. So go on, give it a go.
If you want to create the habit of eating mindfully, it is first useful to recognise the benefits of habits. Habits are fantastic. Your habits require very little energy. They increase your efficiency leaving space in your brain for the parts of your day that require you engage your brain and think carefully and purposefully. A habit is something that you do automatically a bit like the Nike slogan you “Just do it”.
So just think for a moment; it is the morning and you leave the house, jump into your car and drive away without thinking. Instead you think about your day ahead, you do a bit of planning and maybe even plan the dinner. How much are you thinking about changing gears, indicating or anything else. Do you need to think about driving? No! Now say it with me - you just do it.
As you can guess, creating the habit of mindfulness requires practice - just like you did when you learned to drive a car - so you get into the ‘just do it’ habit of it.
Now you may be thinking to yourself; sure, but how can you remember to practice in your already hectic life. Well one method is to choose to eat mindfully. The reason this is so useful is because it is something you do every day, more than once a day and so you get multiple opportunities to practice. Even if you don’t remember every time in the beginning, you can always decide to let that go and decide you’ll eat mindfully the next time.
Each time you go to eat, take a breath in and let it all the way out. Now stop, look at your food, its colour, shape, arrangement and all the little details that you normally overlook. Now breathe in the aroma and become aware there is more than one and they are complex. Be like a wine connoisseur identifying as many different scents as you can and describe them to yourself.
Now you are ready to take your first bite, notice the texture and the different areas of your mouth where the flavours develop. Take your time chewing slowly while you eat, become aware how you move the food in you mouth with your tongue and the resistance between your teeth. You will discover you enjoy your food more. You’ll experience the full taste of what you are eating. This also helps you eat less because your brain will have the opportunity to register when you are full.
Eating mindfully give you a little oasis of calm two or three times a day. It helps you slow down and gives your body the chance to relax before the next thing and as you know well there is always a next thing.
Are you ready to experiment with eating mindfully? Let me know how you get on.
Julie Silfverberg has worked in the field of personal and professional development for more than 20 years. She works with a diverse and exciting group of people. Each with their own unique talents and potential.