Hello Dear Readers, and welcome to May. The sun is out, and the temperatures are rising, and that is a welcome gift right now. I'm not sure about you, but I've been taking several walks per day and drinking coffee on my porch whenever I can. There is such comfort in breathing fresh air and watching nature unfold as spring gets about its business of moving life forward.
Today I saw a mother bunny and her four babies chasing each other around in my yard. It made me think about how much resilience there is in life. The rabbits and the birds have families, and the trees all come back to life after the cold winter. It's a good reminder for us as we face the challenge of the coronavirus and deal with the stress and pressure of the unknown future we all anticipate.
The American Psychological Association defines resilience as "the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands.” In conversational terms, resilience means the ability to bounce back from hard things. We are definitely in some difficult times right now, Dear Reader, and I’d like to help you put some bounce into your life as we plan for the long road ahead.
Speaking of bouncing makes me think of one of my favorite children’s book characters from Winnie the Pooh, Tigger. The wonderful thing about Tigger is his indomitable spirit. He is simply not going to stay down. That is a very exaggerated example of resilience, I know. Still, it does illustrate the power that attitude plays in the process, which brings me to my first tip for building resilience:
Thinking positive: This is the oldest tip in any life coach’s purse, I know, but there is real value to this technique. Thinking shapes our life experiences. Have you been visualizing a dire future for yourself and your family? Have you seen visions of losing your livelihood, being hospitalized, or losing a loved one? All normal conclusions to jump to right now, I agree, but do you know that any of these things will absolutely happen? No. You don’t have a crystal ball. Many people think that optimism equals naivety. I beg to differ. We cannot know the future, and it's good to be able to prepare ourselves for hardship, but it's also good to let ourselves rest and think about the possibilities as well.
Controlling what you can: Resilience is about being flexible. Right now, many things are out of your control. There are some things that you can do, however. You can define your priorities and choose where to focus your attention. Making small decisions about things we can control alleviates some of our stress and makes us feel empowered. That's important when you need to make it through tough times.
Letting Go: To bounce back from hardship, you would be smart to practice the art of letting go. If we hang on to the idea that things should be a certain way or focus on what "might have been," we will slow down the bounce back from pain and remain stuck. Resilience is about hope and a willingness to be flexible to recover from life difficulties. What do you need to grieve and let go of to move forward with your life? Remember to honor your feelings and acknowledge what happened, then direct your energy to move forward.