What autobiography have you created?
Time for a revision?
This month’s Time magazine (June 1, 2015) hit harmonious chords about actions that can create disharmonious life situations. In “The Science of Bouncing Back” Mandy Oaklander explores strategies for resilience.
Citing resilience researchers, Oaklander writes that while traumatic stressors (read: the big ones) can have a devastating impact on our health, it’s “the countless smaller stresses that take a toll” on our bodies. Resilience—“the capacity to successfully adapt to challenges”—is not something that relates solely to the larger issues of life. The small things can bring us down just as well. One resilience researcher said that “the way we cope with little stressors strongly predicts how we’ll do once the big stuff hits. Personality is not as big a factor as one might think.” Coping comes to the little choices we make.
Jack Dickey presented evidence in “Save the American Vacation” that clearly shows American workers do not use—and many loose—the vacation time they earn each year. Due to overwork or fear or an inability to disconnect (from all the “labor-saving” devices we have!) more and more American workers are not taking “their time” to rejuvenate. And many that do take vacation, still work during their so-called time away. From emailing to texting, to working on documents to phone calls, 61% of employed vacationers do some type of work during vacation (when they take it). Of course, you may hear (and maybe even made yourself) the argument that when you love your job, well, it’s not really work. You’re just enhancing your vacation and better able to focus on your job.
When Dickey looked at the nearly 9 million souls who lost jobs during the Great Recession he found that “many have set about cobbling together a living in the so-called gig economy…where time off equates to time unpaid.” So, sacrifice vacation.
If vacation simply becomes an alternative location to conduct work, at best, how restorative is that? If vacation becomes negotiable, then what is the impact on resilience? At least, we need to be aware of our answers (or rationalizations).
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
(Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Video recommendation of the week:
So, how do we raise our resilience game? How do we train our brains and bodies to cope and bounce back in a healthy manner? Oaklander presented the following “Expert Tips for Resilience” as 10 places to start (p. 42):
- Tap into your core (unshakable) beliefs.
- Use each stressor as an opportunity to learn.
- As tough as it might be (and as trite and cliché as it might sound) do what you can to remain positive.
- Learn from a resilient mentor or coach.
- Don’t run away—confront those things that scare you. (#4 above may be helpful here as is #6 below.)
- Look for and reach out to your support network in difficult times.
- Keep your brain active and learning new things as often as you can.
- Exercise regularly.
- Live in the present—don’t ruminate on the past.
- What trait, characteristic, skill or talent makes you the strong person you are? Own it and give yourself credit for this strength.
Which point above is one of your strengths? Which is a challenge for you? What resilience plan do you have for the coming week?
What is the autobiography you have created for yourself?
Maybe it’s time for a revised edition of that story!
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.