HOW TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM AND REDUCE STRESS RELATED MENTAL DISORDERS WITH 8 PRACTICAL LIFE-CHANGING STEPS.

It’s not that bad— it’s just a flat tire! Then the day wears on and it is a phone call from your child’s teacher because they are falling behind in their schoolwork— virtual learning that is! This is not going well for the children or for you and maybe the entire family/household for that matter. Maybe later that same week a call from the doctor with the news you were not expecting.   It is one change after another where it seems you can’t seem to catch a breath.  Hence the proverbial saying, “when it rains it pours.” True—let’s face it, change is inevitable but so can be your ability to “bounce back” and experience new growth in your life. QUESTION: Over your lifetime, have you noticed what helps you embrace change more easily?

ACKNOWLEDGE

2020 started out pretty “standard” for most of us— focusing on our goals and plans perhaps even some new year resolutions.  Ever experienced a careening car, suddenly out of nowhere, coming at you?  This the reality of COVID-19 which turned our world- literally, upside down.   The expected, even the mundane, became uncertain.

Family, employment, and recreation activities, you name it, anything “normal,” became obsolete it felt like—, I thought, this feels like going from beepers to cell phone. Only worse!!!   I recall there were FDA concerns about grave health concerns like radiation from this use of the “clunky” things that could result in cancer and death.

With the Corona Virus, relationships and connections changed—some permanently severed as many have lost their family, friends, and co-workers due to this virus. There has also been a tremendous financial loss—causing many to become homeless and/or find themselves in financial ruin.

As if, now, living with COVID-19 is not enough, we are bombarded with the news media giving updates, some information redundant, as well as continued strained, embattled race relations.  It is no surprise, then, persons are experiencing confusion, isolation, and depression.

I don’t believe there is anyone who has not been touched by this virus is in some way.  Our worldview is rocked and for some destroyed—leaving us with questions about our own strengths, our capacity, our belief.  Some of us are just now “picking up the pieces” while others are still reeling with grief and loss, disappointment, and the like.

INDENTIFICATION & OPENNESS

How do we move through this?  “What we think is attainable is only a function of what we already know’, Ray Dalio.  In his book, “Principles”, Ray Dalio talks about his life in the context of his adverse experiences and disappointments he faced; but also, the lessons learned from which he derived principles.  Principles that reshaped his worldview—a newly constructed worldview to bring about his rebound— his ability to “bounce back.”

PRINCIPLES

As human beings, we are creatures of habit; we function based on routine and familiarity.  Hardships, changes, and tragedies are the UKNOWN—a chasm, really, from what we are accustomed to.   This unknown has the potential to call in to question our beliefs, — about ourselves, about God, about our spirituality, if we have this expression, to begin with, our existence, and certainly our purpose.

Learning and applying principles—principles whether learned from our own experiences or that of others can be pivotal to the development of being resilient—the ability to “bounce back” and experience “growth” after a tragedy or adverse event— also known as PTG (post-traumatic growth).

RESILIENCE & POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH

I liken resilience to a rubber band that gets stretched but is able to bounce back and return to its original form or position.  Remember, the experience with the flat tire— “it’s not that bad.”  This is the likely response of a resilient person. Psychological research states, resilience exists when people use mental processes and behaviours to protect themselves from potential negative effects of stressors.

Post Traumatic Growth (PTG) on the other hand, is that rubber band that gets stretched and, at some point, and does not return to its position or original form—but rather takes on a new one—growth over time.  This growth is possible and is clearly different.

According to the expert on Post Traumatic Growth, Dr. Richard Tedeschi, PTG is a sense of personal growth that is eventually possible for persons who are not resilient or who has difficulty bouncing back and endures a traumatic event that significantly challenges his or her core beliefs and worldview resulting in a psychological struggle.

If you are curious, and a visual learner, here is a short 2-minute quick video link below: “What is Post Traumatic Growth  Explained in 2 min.”

QUESTION: Did you know individuals who are more resilient have less of a genetic risk for a mental disorder?

ADAPT, CULTIVATE & IMPLEMENT

You may be asking yourself the question, is it possible to teach others or even myself to be resilient? Or how does one prepare for Post Traumatic Growth?  According to psychological research, there are practical ways to cultivate hope and build strength paving the way for Resilience and Post Traumatic Growth.

I have listed 8 of the most hands-on, life-changing, must do implements, as I have seen the impacts in my own life and that of my client-family individuals and families in the context of my practice.   Test it out!

RESILIENCE & POST TRAUMATIC GROWTH

  • Building and sustaining meaningful relationships (Communicate digitally with family and friends, talk to your neighbors outside across from the porch with your mask of course {to maintain social distancing} to still have real connectivity}.
  •  Staying positive (perhaps develop a way to express yourself such as writing affirmations, prayer, learn meditation, and deep breathing). 
  • Living in the present moment (Being present in the activity you are doing at the moment- meditation helps to enhance this skill). 
  • Cultivate or develop a spiritual connection. (Being open) 
  • Anticipate Survival. 
  • Promoting accomplishments (something you were able to get done today that was important or something of the past- recall it) 
  • Self-discovery of what is meaningful in your life or help others to discover what is meaningful in their lives (discover strengths, forge connections with others)
  •  As permitted and by personal choice, schedule activities that involve your interest.

 RE-INVENT

This is not about excessive optimism— as this approach can minimize someone’s pain and experiences.  Rather this approach seeks to honour and dignify one’s experiences of pain and loss allowing persons to be OPEN when they are ready. The research on PTG reports that “openness” is said to be one of the key identifiers of growth. Dr. Tedeschi said it this way, “openness allows one to reconsider their belief system and worldview.”  Perhaps there are possibilities that lie beyond our unwanted adversities and complexities.

We are all at a different stage of our pain and psychological struggle.  Being “open” is a choice and requires patience and time on the part of everyone.

           “Instead of suiting up in a lifejacket to save us from the tides of change, try reaching for a surfboard.”

-Tamara Levitt

4 Comments

  1. Darlene on February 5, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    Excellent blog and tips. I’ve been focusing on living in the present moment and staying positive.

  2. Claire on February 11, 2021 at 12:18 am

    Very good insight!! Thanks so much

    • admin on February 16, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Thank you!

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