Of course, could there be a more perfect time for us to acknowledge that these are stressful times? Many struggle to care for others and worry about the implications of COVID-19! We are being asked to be strong even though we feel weak, afraid, and tired. All the news which harangues at us 24/7 just further intensifies our stress.
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene’ Brown says, “Resilience [is] the ability to overcome adversity.” She shares that her current research finds five common factors discovered in resilient people.
- They are resourceful with good problem-solving skills.
- They are more likely to seek help.
- They believe that they can do something that will help them manage their feelings and cope.
- They have social support available to them.
- They are connected to others.
Brown, Brene. (2010) The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, MN: Hazelton. pp. 64
Human brains are so intricate in all that they can do and process. In the center of our brains, the most primitive part exists; this part protects us, like it did our early ancestors, from danger. This is our Limbic System. “The brain processes emotions in a series of steps… This process is often very quick and may go beyond our conscious awareness.”
Pressman MD, Peter (December 2, 2019) “The Science of Emotions: How the Brain Shapes How You Feel” Very Well Health.
Retrieved March 25, 2020 from Very Well Health.
Our limbic system is trying desperately to discover how it should respond. Our bodies are pumping out stress hormones like cortisol and our amygdala is determining which response…fright, flight, or fight! WHOA!!!! There are steps we can take that help us be resilient and survive the stress.
Step 1: Ask yourself, “What is most important to you? What is necessary for you to keep going?” Now reach out to those you know and trust. So often I hear from friends and families that they want to help their loved one but don’t know how…here is your opportunity. This further helps you remain in connected relationships with others!
Step 2: Are you meeting your most basic health needs? Are you getting sleep, staying hydrated, watching your nutrition? Don’t poo-poo this… you help no one if you collapse. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will see your ability to cope diminish.
Step 3: Breathe! Those of you that have attended my workshops know how I value this. When you take three deep breaths (count to 3 as your inhale and to 3 as you exhale) you calm your limbic system down and tell it, “it’s ok… I am safe and I am ok!” This effectively slows the cortisol release.
Step 4: Maintain a mission focus. This will allow you to stay clear on your objective. It helps reduce diversions.
We may find ourselves in some dark times, but it doesn’t have to devastate us.
“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it.
It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”
Brown, Brene. (2010) The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, MN: Hazelton. pp. 82