How to accept what we can't control without compromising our health and productivity
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO BEING RESILIENT IN THESE CHALLENGING TIMES…
Incorporating the latest in Wellbeing science, together with the ancient Wisdom from the past.
It's absolutely ok right now to feel angry, scared, in shock. However you are feeling is ok. In fact, it is very important for your mental health to allow yourself to feel. Sadly part of our culture, is not learning to sit with our feelings. Avoiding this can build resentment, harm relationships and over time can make us sick. We just need to learn how to vent in a way that does not harm ourselves or anybody.
Are you saying “how am I going to survive this for the next 6 weeks again? What about my job, my business, my clients? I can’t even visit my family and friends”
Me too…. so, could you try not to panic, stress, worry or go into melt down too much. Have a few moments to be upset, then walk away and breathe deeply. I never make good decisions when I am stressed and neither will you.
Do you know our brain when stressed, goes from the higher functioning mode of -
· Problem solving
· Rational decision making
to - Flight or fight, please or appease mode, where we:
· Can’t think clearly and make poor decisions
· Become more irrational
· Don’t consider others
· Feel grumpy or irritated
Sound familiar? But How do I cope and not worry, stress, get anxious??
For most people it will be continue to do what you know works for you to stay safe and well!
For a lot of people, it has been, constantly watching or listening to the news! The media companies know that our brain is hard wired to look out for negativity and danger as their ratings rely on doom and gloom.
Empower yourself instead and catch yourself constantly watching, or listening to it… If it is doing your head in, you are probably doing other people’s heads in. Be very aware and powerfully try saying to yourself, “I will be ok, my family will be ok. I don’t know what I am going to do right now, but I will be ok.” Catch your thoughts and reframe them.
1 - Practice Intentional Breathing techniques! Could you catch yourself being stressed? Anytime you feel overwhelmed and start to stress, worry and get anxious, catch your breathing. It will probably be short and rapid, causing your heart to beat faster and you starve your brain of oxygen, causing you to go into Flight or Fight mode.!
Practice the 4,7,8 BREATHING technique and in a couple of minutes you will be back to calm and in control!
Try in for 4 seconds, taking a really deep full breath, hold for 7 seconds, then really let it out of your mouth for 8 seconds. Repeat. This an ancient practice and is now used by the Fire brigade, US Navy Seals and CEO’s to get back into calm, in control and perform….
2 - Practice MINDFULNESS with everything you do? Eating, drinking, walking, listening,
About the future - because we do not know what is going to happen next week, next month, next year. There is only right NOW! There only ever has been and only ever will be, right NOW!!
Now more than ever before, we need to practice being powerfully present. Appreciating what we have. When we do our stress and anxiety goes way down. Having more time to think can be a danger for many people. Some need to be careful with over thinking, as we can often do our own heads in!!
3 - Attitude is everything.
· Be Grateful for what you do have right now. If you practice it first thing in the morning and again before sleep, it has shown to reduce anxiety, stress, worry and depression. Our brain cannot be grateful and angry at the same time. Really feel it and see it. Our thoughts actually help create our world.
· Don’t Worry - how can I stop worrying when I have no job? You could do what I am doing, focus on serving others. What can you do differently? Why, because worry is a useless, self destructive emotion. Practice letting go of the need to control. Reach out for help if needed.
· In or outside of my control? Make a powerful decision, ask yourself, what is inside my control that I can take action on, or what is outside of my control that I need to let go of?
This is what people with a flourishing or thriving mindset do every day! Could you catch yourself worrying? Then practice reframing your thoughts with empowering ones.
4 – Meditation
A recent survey revealed 60% of men would rather have an electric shock than be alone for 15 minutes with their thoughts!! By the way it was 40% for women. Practice catching those thoughts that do not serve you well. Don’t beat yourself up when you have them, because we all do, every day. It’s being aware first, then having a strategy to change our thinking. My Martial Arts Master told us, if we don’t become the master of our mind, we will become the slave to our mind. Yikes, not me…
· practice it like you have never practiced before...now is also the best time to start. Why?? Do you want to feel more in control? calmer? grounded? centred? productive? There are thousands of examples online via YouTube or Apps, e.g. Calm, Smiling Mind and Sam Harris’s Waking Up are brilliant.
5 – Journal your thoughts, concerns, feelings (reflections)
Not write a book, just empty that brain of yours onto paper, where you can then see what you have written and reflect on. Just pour out your concerns, thoughts, worries. Are you making any sense??? You could also record your thoughts, concerns and then listen to them for feedback to yourself. The most successful people on the planet practice daily reflection. Could you?
· Solitude and Self Reflection – now is a great time to get to know yourself better. To GROW! Why? To become a better person. The better our understanding of our self, the better the relationship we have with our self. Eg: our selfcare, selflove and self-esteem increase. Our health improves, our relationships and behaviour improve and our behaviour to others improves. See where I am going with this!! Why?
Sadly, suicide and domestic violence will drastically increase, people who have just lost their only source of incomes and are in debt, or had no or little savings, will be at highest risk. So, we need to collectively-
· Look after each other, look for the signs, especially usually stoic men, who say they’re fine. They will probably be susceptible to crashing, because they have been holding on for so long.
· For those whose relationship or health only survives because one partner is usually at work and they don’t get along, or those who now have angry, incomeless partners at home, REACH OUT, GET OUT, NOW…
· Most of us automatically use drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms. Usually to numb our pain. I think this is why Bottle shops have been deemed essential services…Can you catch yourself, watch yourself and others…
6 – Sleep - Not sleeping very well, no wonder, try these proven tips. As you would have read by now, when we are feeling stressed, we release the hormones (Adrenaline, Cortisol, Norepinephrine) which is the last thing we need when trying to sleep. So, practice the meditation just mentioned above. Could you practice catching your thoughts, worrying about events outside of your control and then practice being, present and grateful. It is just practice and more practice…And no electronic devices, no media an hour before sleep time. Plus, a dark and quiet room. We use silicone ear plugs which really help. These are Sleep Hygiene practices 101.
7 – Keep up connection - We are being told to keep our physical distance for our Physical Health, yet now more than ever, we need to come together and connect still, again. Do what you know works well for you!
Kids and Millennials may be happy to play online games from their bedroom, with food slid under the door for months, but older generations are not.
If you are like me, being a bit older, ok my kids are millennials, we need to be doing more than just watching Netflix for hours every day. Although watching ‘The Kindness Diaries’ is highly recommended.
Research indicates ‘Social Interconnectedness’ to be the no. 1 indicator of not only long life, but happiness.
It is a basic human need to feel CONNECTED, TO BELONG. So now more than ever we need to -
· Phone family and friends
· Internet based calls and video calls– WhatsApp, Messenger, Viber, Snap Chat, Zoom, Skype
· If you are under 30, that thing called a phone, use it and make those calls and stay connected not only to your friends, but your grandparents who probably will be feeling more alone than ever... I rang 4 people today to check in on them and it helped me feel better to hear their voice and have a chat and a bit of a laugh about this situation.
· Play old board and card games
· Loneliness vs alone I used to struggle with this myself being an extrovert. But we all need to learn to be comfortable being alone. Obviously too much for extroverts leads into loneliness and depression. Get to know yourself, your family, your friends!!
8 - Laughter - Speaking of laughter, you may have heard laughter is the best medicine. This has been proved true. Feel good hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins are released. Find ways although it may be not natural to laugh, to have fun in the face of this adversity. Stare down the circumstances and have fun with it.
9 – Exercise - we can still get regular exercise without going to the gym or playing team sports.
We can still go outside and walk, ride or run at this stage. Fresh air is a necessity for good health. If we are told to stay indoors in certain areas, then the normal daily pushups, Pilates planks, Yoga or Tai Chi you do… 😊 will suffice.
10 - Diet – whilst you can still order Uber Eats or any of those at this stage, cooking or learning to cook fresh clean food (not interfered/processed with by man) is now a great opportunity to keep yourself engaged or the family connected. Don’t forget fresh fruit and veg is still the way to go. We do not need to eat much flour or pasta!
11 - Have a Daily Routine that sets you up to THRIVE! well most of the time…
How is your daily routine going? Has it been setting you up to perform at your best? Eg:
• Are you getting up at the same time and have a morning routine that energizes you, eg: exercise, meditate, create
• Are you getting dressed the same, ready for work, even if you are not or at home..
• How are the boundaries you set for yourself - with kids, partner, work, going?
• Remember to take time every day for at least 1 SELF CARE activity!
• Do at least one thing a day that brings you joy!
12 – Finally Set A Goal
What do you need to STOP doing?
What do you need to START doing?
• If you were to do one thing differently this time that would make a difference for the quality of your life, what would you do?
• If you chose just one from the above mentioned tips and tools, which one would make the most difference to your life right now?
Remember this has all happened before in world history and probably needs to happen now for mankind to change its ways with mother nature and with each other…
If this has been of value to you, or I have missed something, please let me know.
Love to all, as we are all in this together. Look after yourself and those around you still!