Resilience in Times of Uncertainty
By Linda Cattelan
Do you feel overwhelmed by all the negative information currently circulating? Are you living in fear of what will happen next? Would you like to take better control of your own situation and just don’t know how?
We are clearly living in uncertain times right now. The Chinese symbol for CRISIS is made up of two symbols: danger and opportunity. The media has been very thorough informing us of the dangers regarding the current crisis we are facing. So, let’s consider the opportunities in front of us, not only to rise above the current situation but to build some resiliency for whatever may await us in the future
Here are 7 strategies to help you get control of your own situation:
- Identify what is within your control right now. Many people put a lot of attention on things they have no control over. Focus your energy and attention on what you can control. If you are working from home, are you maximizing your productivity? If you are in a location where you are advised to practise social distancing, are you making good use of this practise by spending quality time with friends, family and colleagues (even if it is via face time, phone or by video conferencing)? Alternatively, now might be a good time to tackle cleaning out your closet or any one of a number of items on your to do list.
- Limit negative news. Neuroscience tells us our brains have a negativity bias which assists us to survive. Now, I’m just as guilty as the next person. This current crisis had me glued to my screen but I finally realized that I had to limit my screen time and stop watching the news before bedtime. Getting a good night’s sleep is important to our immune system as well as our overall health and wellbeing.
- Release stress. Regular exercise is known to help lower stress and build resilience. Other ways to release stress include: deep breathing exercises, meditation, mindfulness, eating healthy, getting sufficient sleep and laughter. I’m in awe of the number of free online opportunities available right now to assist people. In our own home right now, we are meditating as a family 1-2x daily.
- Release fear and negativity. Allow yourself to feel whatever emotions come up. Label them, sit with them and be an observer to them. Practice constructive, positive ways to reenergize and release. This may be a good time to reconnect with a hobby or a passion.
- Stay positive. Focus on what you are grateful for, especially the small things. A time of crisis often brings clarity to what is most important to us. According to Social Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, (and Robert Levenson’s research project: Undo Effect of Positive Emotions), the more you can access positive emotions like joy, gratitude, interest, serenity, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love, the more these positive emotions help “undo” your negative emotional experiences in daily life.
- Set goals for the future. While its not easy to focus on a bright future when you are in the middle of a crisis. Visualizing and daydreaming about a positive outcome or intention can keep you from falling prey to negativity. Setting daily, weekly, and monthly goals and intentions will help you stay focused and engaged on moving forward and taking action.
- Maybe you can benefit from hiring a life coach. A coach can assist you with overcoming obstacles, increasing capacity and courage, shifting perspectives and ultimately help you take action towards your desired results.