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How do You Get More Resilience?

How do You Get More Resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to easily recover from or adjust to misfortune or change.

Since we are living in a fast changing world, it is to our advantage to build our resilience. So – how do you get more resilience?

There are several ways to increase resilience.

1. Good Relationships With Family  

Good relationships with family members provide you with a safety net. More and more households are living with two adult generations under one roof. This is often a stressful situation but it also provides several benefits. House-sharing with elderly parents can provide built in child care. For the elderly parents it provides safety when a medical emergency occurs. When adult children move back home with their parents, it can be a significant saving to recover from financial hardship. The proximity can be a challenge but it isn’t even an option when there is a rift between family members.

2. Close Friends

A small circle of close friends provide mutual support. They can be a listening ear, or a shoulder to cry on or help out in a pinch.

3. A Community

Being part of one or more communities can be a life saver. A couple of examples follow: A young woman had no close relatives but she was active in her church. When she unexpectedly lost her job, her church community pulled together for her. To save money the young woman gave up her apartment. Several church members stored her furniture and belongings in their basements. Then people with an extra bedroom in their home offered to let her stay with free room and board in their home for a month each. This community support helped save her from going bankrupt and helped her get back on her feet.

Another example: A retired schoolteacher became an avid photographer. She joined a local photography club and became active in the amateur photography community and its leadership. She learned and then taught others about photography. When she ended up in a car accident that left her wheelchair bound for many months, many jumped in to help. Some gave her rides to appointments, others ran errands like grocery shopping and the like, others brought companionship to this homebound photographer. All this made the long months of recovery much more bearable.

4. Ask for Help

In order for the young woman and the photographer to get help, they had to let people know about their difficulty and ask for help. They also had to be gracious about the generosity extended to them. I was particularly amazed at the asking skills of the photographer. Though many offered to help her, she was wise enough to find out what each individual enjoyed doing already. Then she asked for help that most fit in with the lives of those who offered. I was lucky enough to have a vehicle that could easily accommodate her and her wheelchair and I was able to bring her to photography club meetings. I really enjoyed the conversations and what I learned from her during those car trips. With my help she was able to get out of her condo at least once per month.

5. Set Goals

While the photographer was wheelchair bound she could not pursue her photography hobby. So she focused on another part of her photography. She organized the many photos she had taken, selected prints to be displayed, created slideshows she could present at future meetings, and found opportunities to sell her beautiful photographs. And she did it in the company of fellow photographers who provided companionship.

When adversity strikes it is important to have goals and to regularly take actions to achieve them.

6. Understanding That Setbacks Are Part of Life

Many of us have gone through setbacks, be it losing a job, health issues, natural disasters, loss of a family member or divorce. Those who are resilient are more likely to work through the difficult times, and move on from there. Believe that whatever difficulties you encounter, you have the strength to move on and rebuild your life.

7. Problem Solving Skills

When problems present themselves, learn to break the problems down into small and manageable steps. Then take the steps, one at a time.

8. Understand That All Things Are Temporary

Each day brings new challenges. Some are good and some are painful. Savor and be grateful for the good things that come your way. It makes the difficult times more bearable knowing that they will become less painful over time. Resilience doesn’t make challenges go away. It simply helps us rebound more quickly and with less pain.

Next Steps

If you are facing a challenge, don’t do it alone. Reach out. Support is out there. But also realize what strength you have, what challenges you have already overcome, and that you can overcome the current challenge as well.

If life has got you down and you are feeling excessive anxiety or depression, seek professional help.

If life is good to you, reach out to others and strengthen your communities. Reach out to others who need help and volunteer your time.

Contact me:

To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Adjusting Boundaries as a Cure for Stress

Some people say there is good stress and bad stress. Would you say that getting married is good stress and getting divorced is bad stress?

It appears that the body does not distinguish between good and bad stress. There are “50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress” listed on the American Institute of Stress (AIS) website: http://www.stress.org/topic-effects.htm which includes symptoms like headaches, back pain, nausea, chest pain, fidgeting, overwhelm, excessive hunger or loss of appetite, social withdrawal … You can have these symptoms regardless of the kind of stress you are dealing with. Ask any bride-zilla.

So let’s look a little deeper.

Story: Weddings are about redrawing boundaries

In my past as a wedding photographer, I had the opportunity to work with brides as well as the other businesses that cater to them and their special day. May my observations and thoughts help give you courage to start redrawing your boundaries.

It seems that whatever relationship dynamics exist between the various people planning the wedding are magnified under stress. For example: a bride who hasn’t been able to stand up to her mother about much of anything, will continue to have problems. Freeze, Fight, or Flight? 1. Freeze: the bride feels paralyzed and unable to speak up for what she wants. 2. Fight: the bride may fight her mother on any and every decision. 3. Flight: the bride will avoid including her mother in anything. So what’s the solution? None of those.

Let’s look at close relationships. When you get married you change your primary alliances from the family you came from to your new family unit. But often that is not a conscious decision, or it happens not at all or haphazardly. What you do take with you into your new relationship is how you deal with boundaries. If you had trouble standing up to your parents or siblings, you may have the same trouble in your marriage. If you were expected to maintain peace at all cost or secrecy, you will likely continue to do so.

←—————————————————————————-→
“Put Up With It”                                                                       “Blow Up”

Where are you on the “Put Up With It” to “Blow Up” continuum? Open communications between two people allows you to explore what each of you want and need. It allows you to draw and redraw boundaries and design your relationship consciously and in consideration with each other. And that allows you to build a relationship with very little unresolved stress. Open communication takes courage; lots of courage. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Call to Action and Why This Matters:

If you toggle between being a pushover and blowing up, chances are that your relationships are stressful. Your needs are not being met and neither do others feel they can consistently count on you. The gap between how you’d like things to be and the reality is stress. Stress affects the body in negative ways and when it is unresolved, it can cause major health issues.

Taking a stress or anger management class helps you with better self-control when stressed or angry. But that is like putting a band-aid on a toothache. It doesn’t help with the problem.

What can you do? Start observing gaps in communication. Do not sabotage your efforts with talking about big things first, like where to go on vacation, whether to move to a new house, or asking your boss for a raise. Start with little things.

If your spouse or a friend asks, “where would you like to go for dinner?” don’t say something like, “whatever you want is fine with me”. Instead give yourself a little time to think, say something like, “thanks for asking, let me think about what I might like.” Then think about it and come back with a proposal like “I’d really like some fish, how about that xyz restaurant?” or “I really love the atmosphere at abc restaurant? What do you think?” Now you have the opportunity to discuss what you both want. There may be backlash to your new ways at first, especially if you have well-established patterns. It is best to stay as calm as you can.

Talking about little things may seem extremely tedious at first. It is. You are developing a new skill and practicing on small decisions where the stakes are not very high and you are more likely to be willing to compromise. It is like building your muscle to talk things out and find joint solutions. You can move to bigger decisions as your skills improve. Just think of the value of having a calm conversation with your spouse about money, sex, children, work, and household chores. With the right skills, a willing partner, and practice you can get there. You’d be amazed how many people will eventually respond favorably to your new way of being in relationship. And you’ll find out who won’t.

Taking it Farther:
There are a variety of excellent materials on boundaries. Dr. Cloud and Dr. Townsend have co-written many books on boundaries. They are excellent. They are written from a strong Christian viewpoint. If you are not Christian I hope you can still get the boundary lessons from their books or find other helpful materials.

Contact me:

Want more help? I’m here for you. Tired of the status quo? Get relief! Call to get coached and start designing the life you want to live. Have questions? Call to get answers. Edith at 847.913.3900

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