Apparently, resilience is everywhere!
Last week, Carol Gray, speaking at the Autism Conference in Edmonton, mentioned the power of resilience.
She also quoted Steven Covey, the same quote you’ll find below. (Great minds think alike . . . and . . . this is the part I always conveniently forget . . . fools seldom differ. :-) )
Today’s focus is on feelings and mindset: how to become aware of our feelings, how we view the world, and steps to make any changes we decide to make.
And I’m assuming you want to make some changes in your life or why else would you be reading this? Right?
(As a side note, it amazes me how many people are disinterested in feelings. We all want to be happy (happy is a feeling) yet don’t want to analyze what makes us happy so we would know what to embrace and what to avoid. Not looking at what makes us happy and unhappy reduces the chances of happiness, I would think.)
There are so many possible actions listed below to help to build a resilient nature, I’m sure that one will feel right for you. And remember: start small, practice daily, and you are more likely to be successful
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.
When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion.
Our feelings are not there to be cast out or conquered. They're there to be engaged and expressed with imagination and intelligence.
1. Become someone else. I don’t mean this in a suspense movie someone’s-identity-is-stolen idea but in a more practical sense. If we have never been a resilient person, how do we know what it feels like or what to do to become on?. Do you personally know any resilient people? Talk with them. Ask them how they handle problems and what their reasoning is behind it. That might give you a change in your paradigm/framework of how you define events, issues, and solutions. It’s the basis of the initialism* WWJD? WWJD stands for "What Would Jesus Do?". Jesus was the first name I heard in that phrase but have heard many others since then.
*I couldn’t think of the word acronym, the word I was going to use, and found out that the right word, at least for now, initialism. Since the English language is constantly evolving, and because many people use the word acronym instead of initialism, dictionaries are changing to reflect that. To be an acronym, the final word needs to be a real word, like RAM (random access memory).
2. Physically move like someone you want to be. Author/researcher Amy Cuddy speaks about the power of body language. What are you telling the world about yourself? Also, others often alter their behaviour based on their impression of you. Do you know what you are saying to the world? Do you know what you would like to say to the world?
Cuddy has a 30 second explanation of ‘The Power Pose’, something that many of us need to learn to use comfortably.
2. Define yourself by 2 groups of 3 words. Motivational speaker/author Brendon Burchard streamlines how to become a better person by asking that everyone to imagine who we want to become in two important areas: who we are, and how we want to interact with others ('The Charge',chapter 4, The Drive for Congruence) We each need to choose three core words that are important to our character and three words to describe the person we want to be when interacting with others. After you have narrower the list, those become your words. Words that you repeat through writing them daily, having them come up on your phone at sporadic times, or putting them on post-it notes throughout the house – whatever helps you to integrate them into your life. Then start to behave ‘as if’ you are those descriptors.
3. Emotional awareness and management. Our actions are based on our feelings, whether or not we are aware of our feelings. Self-sabotage is a good example. Better to understand why we behave the way we do if we want to make a change. What are the benefits and detriments to our different choices? While we may not ever fully understand all of our patterns and triggers, the more aware, the better (have doubts that feelings override thoughts, check out this article).
4. Relabel emotions. Fine tune how you describe your emotions. Go beyond mad/glad/sad. Our words can create our feelings. Tony Robbins tells a story of being angry. Very angry. When he shared the reason for his anger with a co-worker, the co-worker said, “I’d be annoyed, too.” Tony thought, “Perhaps I am more annoyed than angry,” and felt his body relax and the intense emotion dissipate. This list has over a dozen basic emotions and an extensive list under each basic. Read the list and see which words resonant with you.
5. I am enough / I am safe. These two phrases are popping more and more often in self-help literature. In the former, it is believed that at our core we feel unworthy of getting, having or being more in life. Yet part of us wants and needs to be more. Similarly, in the latter phrase, it isn’t safe for us to stand out or for us to be successful in any way. Oprah, Marissa Peers and Jon Gabriel discuss these ideas. If we feel undeserving of, or it is unsafe for us to have good things or good feelings, we will sabotage our good things or stop striving.
Jon Gabriel's is on how that belief causes us to hold onto fat but his philosophy can be applied to many areas of life.
6. Verbalizing to reduce intensity. Verbalizing** can produce a reduction of emotional intensity as the brain activity moves from the limbic system (the old, reptile brain) to Broca’s area (language) to the neocortex (higher functioning), sometimes in as little as three minutes of verbalizing. So, talk to yourself, journal in a book or on computer. Maybe try Emotional Freedom Technique which combines tapping on acupressure points (points are associated with an emotion) while making statements that have an emotional component.
**Verbalizing - writing, typing or speaking words, whether to yourself or to another. Important: thinking about what you would say it doesn’t count.
The above information was taken from a non-public video by Dr. Alan Christianson. It might be in one of his books but I am not sure.
7. Reframe. Although this was discussed previously, it is also included here because it fits the topic so well. Look at the situation from a different perspective, whether it is by removing emotions (describe the situation as if watching an old silent movie) or answering one of these two questions.
a) “I have chosen this circumstance/event/condition. I am delighted/curious about/thoughtful of this happening because ____________ and ____________ and____________”, and create a list of responses.
b) “What if all of my life until now, and what if all of these things that are happening right now, are just to teach me a lesson? If that were true, what would be the ‘big lesson’? “
8. Outside perspective. Pretend a stranger had your problem and you were hired to help them. First, in a single sentence, what is the problem? By problem, I mean the core problem – the one that if resolved or altered, most other things would change. Then ask questions about the problem and advise “the stranger”. We are frequently our own worst enemies. Be kind to yourself as you ask and answer the questions. Remember, even if another person is the problem, you cannot change the other person but you can figure out if there is something about the way you view the world or the issue, your attitude, your history that influences the way it is.
Or have a friend be your adviser. You describe the issue in one sentence and work to continue to make all answers brief. No excuses, blame, explanations or tangents.
9. Discuss or journal one good and one bad part of your day at the end or beginning of every day. Great in acknowledging emotions, celebrating wins and putting difficulties into perspective. Close your eyes to remember and feel the good feelings. It only takes a second. For the bad part of your day – is there anything you can do the next time to improve your reaction? Anything you can do to avoid being in that situation? Feel the strength of your resolution to make a change. Remember: small changes compound.
By coincidence, here is yesterday’s word of the day. A perfect fit for the topic:
Ataraxia - a state of freedom from emotional disturbance and anxiety; tranquillity.
Have an abundance of ataraxia this week!