Thriving Personally in Challenging Times Redux
One of the best ways to create or re-gain a feeling that you are in control of your situation Ė i.e., your emotions, your actions - is to pay attention to how you view yourself and the world around you. Why? We tend to find the things that we seek. For example, those who see themselves as victims look for evidence that confirms their dismal state Ė and they find it. Similarly, those who see themselves as healthy individuals find evidence that validates that perspective. In our article How to Help Your Employees Take Charge of Their Lives, we suggested five ways that employers can help workers take control of their work situations. Those suggestions work well in one’s personal life as well. In addition to those techniques, there are things that you can do to enhance your well-being that add to your sense of control of your life and/or help you feel more confident you can handle what life brings your way. Below is a 2008 article on this topic that addresses ways you can do this.
Especially during times of adversity it is critical that we pay close attention to our personal well-being. The analogy that comes to mind is the one that air travelers hear every time we fly: "In the event a change in altitude causes the oxygen masks to drop, put your own mask on first before you assist others." Similarly, we must be physically and mentally healthy in order for us to be most useful to ourselves and to others. Here are a few things we can do to ensure we take care of ourselves.
- Look realistically at what is instead of what might be. Separate fact from fiction or speculation by seeking objective evidence.
- Look realistically at your talents and strengths. While the environment may have changed, you - the person - have not. How can you leverage your talents and strengths?
- Create realistic expectations for yourself and others.
- Surround yourself with people who support you. Drop those who do not.
- Use "down" time to build on your strengths. Doing so will boost your confidence and you will emerge stronger than before.
- Look for life's rainbows - literal and figurative. They are there when you least expect them, sometimes even when logic suggests they shouldn't be there at all.
- Be open to whatever life brings your way. If you are not looking, you will never see the possibilities.
- Enjoy the simple pleasures of life. Take a walk on the beach or in nature. Watch how the colors in the sky change as the sun rises in the morning or sets in the evening. Go play in the rain and jump in the puddles it forms. Release your inner child!
- Focus on the abundance in your life. If you seek it, you will find it.
- Ask questions that lead you in positive directions for the answers. For example, instead of asking whether you can or should do something, ask how you can do it. You will find yourself a lot closer to where you want to go.
- Remain confident by focusing on those things you can control
- Keep the big picture and the long-term in mind when making short-term decisions. You can avoid getting lost in the details and the feelings of being overwhelmed by keeping the big picture in front of you at all times.
- Make decisions that are consistent with your values.
- Look for reasons to do things rather than for reasons not to do them.
Remember: while we sometimes are unable to control our situation, we always get to choose how we experience it. By exercising that option, we choose to make healthy choices that will see us through even the most challenging of times.
What quality of life do you choose?
Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.
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