Things are pretty stressful right now – and likely, that is an understatement. Worries about health, the economy, logistics related to school and work, adapting to a brand new work style and environment, and major routine disruptions have rapidly become our new normal, and coping is probably at the very bottom of everyone’s to-do list. Normal coping techniques, like time with friends, going to the gym, or participating in a shared activity might no longer be an option. And because of the unpredictability factor, none of us know when this will end, and when we can return to our normal routines.
To get through this all, we need resilience. Resilience is defined as the process of adapting, or getting through, difficult circumstances and trauma. Resilience is the “bounce-back” effect, how we respond to a setback. Resilience is also universal, and can be trained and strengthened, like a muscle. We all have the capacity for resilience, and our thoughts, feelings, and actions contribute to this ability.
Psychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, author of the book Resilient: How to Grow An Unshakable Core of Calm, Strength, and Happiness, discusses some of the brain training and reframes necessary to cultivate resilience. Among them, compassion (including self-compassion!), mindfulness, gratitude, and openness to learning. This can be incredibly difficult when we are all just trying to survive, and likely garnered some eye rolls as you’ve read this. “Sure, mindfulness and gratitude is fine, but I’m just trying to get my bills paid.” In fact, you may be coping by deliberately avoiding mindfulness, or being fully present in the moment. Escape, fantasy, and daydreaming might be exactly what you need right now.
It helps to know that we are all in this together, and that even with the public health advisories, the Center for Disease Control understands the importance of mental health as well. There are plenty of scary, worrisome, and troubling news stories out there right now. It might help to filter or screen for the good news – because those stories are occurring too. The helpers, the healers, and the heroes who are creating services, modifying existing supports to be virtually accessible, and sharing positives can help us see things not as an apocalyptic disaster, but rather as character and grit builders.
From our end, we are seeing positives as well. Prioritization and increasing accessibility for mental health services means that stigma is decreasing – we all know that mental health support is an essential service, and we are pleased to continue to offer therapy and consultation services while we experience this pandemic. We are seeing increased connection within families, and adaptation to new learning styles and strategies. We are seeing kids ask to help, and adults accepting the help. We are seeing that love, safety, and security are openly expressed more, and healthily. We are seeing that we can show up for each other – even if that means staying home, instead.
We know that this is a difficult, unsettling, and uncomfortable time, and we want to be here to help build resiliency as much as possible. Contact us, we can help!