These are trying times for all of us. Often people say, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. So mindset is critical at this point. I find it critical to stay positive to overcome the challenges we face. So let's make positivity more infectious than this virus, as that's what this community needs. So here are some tips I thought could help us all in these times, if we were more mindful of them. Our ability to pivot and innovate in these trying times will be the key to persevering these challenges.
Mindful Tips To Bluster Resilience:
Keeping your Composure - It’s about regulating emotions. The fight-or-flight response of the brain loves to flare up when facing challenges but being able to overcome that instinctive emotional response and maintain your composure often means being able to recognize hidden opportunities and solve problems in novel ways. This is because becoming emotional prevents you from properly accessing your ability to think critically. It's normal to feel emotional through these challenges but you don't have to let those emotions control you; you can't control what you feel but you can control your actions and thoughts. Maintaining composure means keeping calm so you can save your energy for what is important.
Ask is this a FACT or STORY? Don't let your interpretation (perception) of something cloud the facts. Research shows that a natural inclination to negatively interpret ambiguous situations makes people six times more likely to show symptoms of depression, while a positive interpretation of ambiguous data results in higher resilience. Let's up our odds and stick to the facts and don't spread STORIES! Our energy can be focused on so many other things to help you overcome the challenges.
Manage Your Expectations. Composure is not just about being able to return to a state of poise, but also about considering your own beliefs and expectations that produce emotions in the first place. For example, if you expect that nothing will ever go wrong with your life, then you’re likely in for a big shock. Compare that with a healthier belief that, most likely, something will go wrong, and when it does, you’ll manage it. It’s easy – just expect that everything will be harder than you expect! A key part of collaboration is understanding the context of your interaction with people.
Anticipate and plan. I always liked the saying proper planning prevents piss poor performance. The key is not just about applying critical thinking during a crisis, but also about taking action ahead of time to prevent things from going wrong in the first place. Think proactively through how things may go wrong and take action ahead of time to prevent or minimize impact, and think through how you’ll deal with different scenarios. Don't wait till there is no toilet paper to determine what would I do if I ran out of TP? See the shortage and plan accordingly.
Be resourceful. Having the right information, tools, techniques and people available to you will help you solve problems more effectively and find more efficient ways to overcome challenges. Resourcefulness is a skill we need to actively build, and the more resourceful we are, the easier it becomes to make unusual connections and find innovative ways forward. Creativity and innovative problem solving is incredibly useful when facing challenges along the way.
See opportunity in change. A high reasoning ability means that a changing environment is welcome since it always brings hidden opportunities. By maintaining your composure and knowing what you want to achieve, change is no longer a threat and you can look for things that others might have missed, helping you to succeed in overcoming challenges.
Learn from mistakes. Rarely will we do things right the first time. And even when doing something we know well, eventually we will make mistakes. What is important is how we react to mistakes. Instead, it’s important to be able to objectively look at our mistakes, find lessons in them, and not define ourselves by them. The past is there learn from, not to dwell on. Persistence is key. We need to be willing to work hard and smart and stay with a problem, if we hope to overcome something. You only fail, when you stop trying.
Don’t be naïve, have realistic optimism. Research shows that people who are overly optimistic about succeeding are less likely to, since they tend to give up at the first sign of trouble. What is more useful for success is to have a sense of ‘realistic optimism’, meaning that you are hopeful about your ability to succeed, but you realize that the road will be tough and full of challenges. This realization combined with the willingness to be persistent is what ultimately leads to success.
Collaborate. We are social beings. The brain has a deep fundamental need for connection with others to be able to thrive. So don't isolate yourself in troubled times. The brain has dedicated neural structures to recognize facial expressions, while mirror neurons fire within the brain to help us empathize with others. We are, after all, in this together, so what we do and focus on is not just for us, but to help our communities together and overcome these challenging time.
Support and be supported. We get what we give. In a complex world, it’s crucial for us to build supportive network. Interestingly, research shows that when it comes to peace of mind, it’s not actual available support that matters, but instead it is the perception of available support that’s important. So even if you have 100 people ready to support you, if you don’t realize this, you will not feel supported. Keep this in mind for others as well, and show the people you care for that you are there to support them whenever they need you.
Good health means looking after your body through what you eat, how you move, and getting quality sleep. A healthy body provides a strong foundation for your own resilience. Good health may not be your ultimate goal itself, but your health affects your brain health and mental performance. Regularly eating foods with a high combination of fats and sugars (like chocolate, ice cream, cookies, baked goods, burgers…) actually reduces the chemical in the brain that produces more brain cells. This makes the brain less plastic and reduces your mental adaptability. Lack of sleep results in more mistakes, reduced attention span, and a decreased ability to deal with stress. It also increases cortisol, the brain’s stress hormone. The affects add up over time, compounding the toll on your body, brain, and performance. Sleep makes a big difference, but it’s not just about quantity, it’s about getting enough quality sleep. So don't forget to take care of your body too in these hard times, give your body the fuel (proper nutrition), hydration, activity, and sleep needed to run optimally so you can up your odds to overcome the challenges.
What is the goal - having clarity allows you to be decisive when facing tough choices and to maintain perspective when facing challenges. Sometimes when we are overwhelmed, we can have a hard time actually getting into action because we being pulled in so many directions and can't determine what's the RIGHT thing to do or many have decision fatigue and just can't bear to make another choice, so they do what's easiest.
Clarity keeps you focused - so that when things get tough, you know what’s important and what isn’t so you stay focused and continue to make progress. It’s easy to get distracted by unimportant details and events if you don't have anything specific you're working towards.
Congruence is the name of the game. Congruence means all your actions are working together towards one unified purpose. When you don’t have clarity, it’s likely that some of your actions may conflict with each other, resulting in frustration as moving towards one goal moves you further from the other. Instead, if your actions are aligned, everything you do slowly moves you towards your ultimate goals, helping you achieve feats that others deemed impossible.
Resilience is a life-long and ongoing journey for each us and our effort here improves quality of life and directly contributes to our achievement and success. Just as strengths in some areas can compensate for weaknesses, so too can weakness in one drag down others. It is worthwhile for us to pursue personal development, so that we are strong in all areas and effectively well-rounded. The more well-rounded we are, the more resilient and adaptable you become and more likely you are to overcome challenges. So hopefully you found these tips helpful, as areas to be mindful of and how they can effect your overall outcome. So let's make positivity more infectious than this virus, as that's what this community needs.