Small changes make big differences.

Tuesdays with MOJO/Keys to mastering resiliency through chaos

Marjorie Spitz RentoComment

Gosh things are chaotic lately! And I don’t just mean in MY world, but in THE world.

In the midst of chaos, it can be difficult to maintain calm (which of course is the best way to manage chaos). It's easy for me to encourage deep breathing or other meditative calming methods, but when in the thick of a difficult situation, taking action can be a real challenge.

Whether it a client who recently quadrupled the size of his business, my mother managing the difficulties of undergoing shoulder surgery, or a governmental staff shake up, the impact on the body and the mind is the same: stress.

So I use today’s Tuesdays with MOJO to offer tried and true methods to master resiliency during times when you absolutely must, but don't necessarily feel able.

It’s important to understand how your body and mind react to stress, so you can not only recognize it, but plan for it. Address the voice in your head that my derail you, and stop it in its tracks.

Much has been written about the subject, and a recent NY Times article cites “Scientists who study stress and resilience say it’s important to think of resilience as an emotional muscle that can be strengthened at any time. While it’s useful to build up resilience before a big or small crisis hits, there still are active steps you can take during and after a crisis to speed your emotional recovery.”

Thus, even if you’re experiencing a wonderful moment of calm, let’s understand how to flex those resiliency muscles so you can call on them when needed next! I’ve pulled tips from various resources, and especially focused on those that aren’t “duhs” (like breathing, although it works every time):

Frame your thoughts optimistically: OK, it can be hard to be optimistic when experiencing a difficult period. “Optimism doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of a dire situation. After a job loss, for instance, many people may feel defeated and think, ‘I’ll never recover from this.’ An optimist would acknowledge the challenge in a more hopeful way, saying, ‘this is going to be difficult, but it’s a chance to rethink my life goals and find work that truly makes me happy.”’

Don’t take it personally, or blame yourself: “Remind yourself that even if you made a mistake, a number of factors most likely contributed to the problem and shift your focus to the next steps you should take.” Wallowing in misery will not help!

Remember your “comebacks”: “Look back and say, ‘I’ve gone through something worse in the past. This is not the most horrible thing I have ever faced or will ever face. I know I can deal with it.’” And I bet you can!

Support others: It’s difficult to get stuck in your own whirlwind of negativity when in a supportive role. Surround yourself with a supportive circle (MOJO Maker™ #12), and BE supportive to those around you as well.

Get out of your comfort zone: This is one of my favorites! Your “zone” is filled with comfy cushions with big stop signs around the edges. Push past them and do something that will surprise even yourself.  Dine alone, do a triathlon, take on a challenging project, etc. “There is a biology to this,” said Dr. Charney. “Your stress hormone systems will become less responsive to stress so you can handle stress better. Live your life in a way that you get the skills that enable you to handle stress.”

The American Psychology Association offers 10 ways to build resiliency, including the importance of being decisive: “Act on adverse situations as much as you can. Take decisive actions, rather than detaching completely from problems and stresses and wishing they would just go away.”

I strongly believe moving in a direction is critical, even if it’s a small step, rather than remaining stuck in one place. What small step toward a more resilient you will you take today?

And if all else fails, just stare at this for a bit.

Resiliently yours,

Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™

P.S. Exciting news: For those observing the upcoming jewish holidays, I will be launching a new program to help you "Get through the High Holy Days without High Holy weight gain." I can't wait to tell you all about it!