Our 2021 Superpower is . . .
After having our world suddenly turned upside down in 2020, it seems that 2021 could not have arrived quickly enough.
I started my day on Monday, January 4 – – excited to work with my clients on their goals and challenges for this new year. Less than 2 days later, an angry mob of rioters was storming the Capitol, the United States Capitol. Could this really be happening?
Although I was watching media coverage of the event as it unfolded, I had a sense of cognitive dissonance – I saw the images but my mind was insisting this could not be happening. This type of experience is understood as an automatic defense mechanism that we use to ward off the anxiety and distress triggered by an unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary event that is contrary to our existing belief structure.
As it began to sink in that this was happening, I found myself getting more distressed.
I noticed the anxiety showing up as a pit in my stomach and my thoughts becoming more catastrophic. I became aware that I would have to turn this situation around. I turned off the news, turned on a ten minute mindfulness exercise, and then drank a hot cup of chamomile tea – sending the message to my body to calm down. I had no control over what was happening in our nation’s capital, but I could take control of what was going on for me.
How do we manage stress and anxiety triggered by unexpected and sudden events? We get flexible – our 2021 superpower.
Flexibility is “the practice of actively dealing with stressors by using whatever resources, strengths and creative ideas you have,” says Professor George Bonanno, a clinical psychologist who leads the Loss,Trauma and Emotional Lab, Teachers College, Columbia University, in NYC.
Here are a few “flexibility” suggestions to manage stress:
- Give yourself permission to feel stressed and anxious. Stuffing your feelings makes it difficult to process them and delays you feeling better.
- Write or draw about what you are thinking and feeling.
- Take a walk, get fresh air, and access nature.
- Play with your pet, or your neighbor’s pet.
- Take a social media break.
- Call a friend or family member with whom you are comfortable sharing difficult moments. Research shows our stress is higher when we feel alone so connecting to social support can be powerful.
What resources, strengths and creative ideas do you bring into play to manage stress and anxiety?
If you would like to share your ideas or chat, please call 215.260.4881 or drop me an email at email@example.com.
Here’s to continuing to be flexible – together – no matter how unpredictable 2021 may be.
Stay safe, Stay sane,
Everyone has heard, seen and dissected the “slap” Will Smith bestowed on Chris Rock. On the precipice of receiving the crowning achievement of his career, the Academy Award for Best Actor, Smith slapped Rock on television before a global audience.
As we enter this new year, the pandemic is still creating uncertainty in our personal and professional lives. That said, now is the most popular time to set goals and resolutions. In order to set ourselves up for success, we need to be thoughtful about what we want to accomplish.
Who among us hasn’t had a moment, a day or a week where we felt the pressure in our lives – professionally and personally – to “go out there” and do what is expected of us even when all we really wanted to do was get back under the covers?
As part of my goal to practice wellness during the work week, I committed to do a short mindfulness exercise. I downloaded a Mindfulness app and began using it for a 10-minute practice three times a week.
Covid has caused us to reevaluate many aspects of our lives and ask the questions: What am I doing with my life? Is this what I really want?
Getting into a good public high school in NYC, where I grew up, was a high-stakes, competitive process. My older brother was already attending the Bronx High School of Science, the crown jewel of the magnet schools, and now it was my turn to take the exam, pass it, and follow in his footsteps.