April Series: Resilience
Why Not Stay Inside and Wait Out the Storm?
We can’t completely avoid the change or adversity that storms into our lives, but there is a temptation to ignore the emotions that come along with it. Feeling disappointment, sadness, and loss is awful! Why would we want to do that?
While painful in the beginning, dealing with our emotions helps us in the long run. We maintain a healthy emotional life by naming our emotions, accepting them, and then releasing them. If we stuff or ignore our emotions, they become like small annoying insects that keep buzzing in our ears for the rest of our lives.
One of the most profound things I learned in my coach training is that the things that we can’t be with run our lives. If we can’t be with anger, then we avoid all situations that might make us or someone else angry. Think about the effects if we avoid disappointing people at all costs! If we can’t be with confrontation, we constantly put up with things that we don’t want to endure because we don’t want to start a fight. We want to use our coping mechanisms and face the situation and our emotions. We must walk through it now or avoid it forever.
Although our initial impulse may be to avoid uncomfortable emotions, they are not all bad. Discomfort is a powerful motivator and can lead to positive achievement if we maintain a positive mental state. Remember, how we view the situation makes all the difference.
There is an interesting TED Talk by Kelly McGonigal. She researches stress, and she discovered that stress doesn’t kill us – the belief that stress kills us is what kills us. Our perspectives have a tremendous effect on our bodies! That is important to keep in mind before, during, and after challenging times. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcGyVTAoXEU&t=34s
In the video, McGonigal also talks about the hormones that our bodies release when we feel stressed. One of them is oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone” because it also releases when we touch other people. Oxytocin makes us want to interact and bond with others. So, when we are stressed, our bodies help us by encouraging us to reach out to other people.
Remember my learning at the Military Child Education Coalition workshop: that which does not kill us makes us stronger – as long as we have hope and support. We get both of those things when we reach out to others.
Finally, keep in mind that each time we overcome a challenge, we become more resilient. As we face adversity, change, and the emotions that come along with them, we build confidence. When the next challenge comes along, we can think to ourselves, “I’ve done this (or worse) before, and I can do it again.”
Creating a resilient life and using positive coping mechanisms greatly increase your chance of not only surviving adversity and change, but also thriving. Every storm that we weather makes us more confident that we can successfully face the next one. We create a spiral of success that carries us easily through life’s storms. If we stay inside, we miss the rain – and an opportunity for growth.
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