Awareness – Acceptance – Adjustment -Action
What you are about to read is not a slag to millennials, but rather a compliment!
I know that you take a bunch of criticism from Boomers and GenXers, some if of it deserved 😉 some misinformed and wrong. So to balance out this perception, I am going to share a good news story with you…
I have just come back to work after a province wide (24 colleges) faculty strike where I had the privilege of waking in circles, for little to no pay, taking a strong stand for quality education (which is super important). No, I didn’t want to be doing this but the cause was irresistible since education changed my life profoundly. Integrity means supporting your beliefs even when it is hard. I want you to have the incredible educational experience that I had so that you too can create your wildest dreams life.
So, we faculty were all very nervous coming back, wondering what we would be met with as the student-faculty paths started to intersect again. What I found was pretty incredible behaviour from you millennials 🙂
So many of you were stressed and overwhelmed, which is absolutely normal since you had no idea what the plan was for you to complete your semester. Within a week, after the plans were clear, the whole campus feeling transitioned from freaked out to functioning beautifully. Students listened, asked questions and started getting back to work and professors listened, asked questions and supported their students. So many of you decided that you would “lean in”, listen and figure out your next steps. You got all gritty and motivated and made the next step toward your success. Nicely done!
My advice to you is look around you at the students who are leaning into their studies, not complaining about what happened (staying stuck) but rather doing what it takes to get their semester completed successfully, one small step by one small step. There are some pretty great examples out there in your classes, sitting right beside you. I am so impressed with your behaviour and resilient abilities 🙂
Well, this got me thinking about resilience building and a model that really helps bring the process to life.
Awareness – Acceptance – Adjustment – Action
The first step in building your resilience is awareness.
- Be aware of what is going on in your body and your brain. Where do you feel tension? Is your body telling you that something is wrong?
- What are you feeling? Emotions contain information. Notice what they are telling you about the situation and yourself. If you are saying that you can’t do this, well that is exactly what your body is reacting to.
- Try this! Mindfulness Practice is a great way to get started: Check this Out!
*Overall, awareness is reading your personal signs and knowing that there may be something that needs to change.
This is the part where you say, “okay, that happened”.
- Feelings: Accept the way you feel is the way you feel. Feelings are are part of our natural response to experience. It is absolutely okay to feel disappointment, shock, sadness, overwhelmed or incompetent. But…
- Remember that just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. You may feel like you can’t handle something or that you are a failure, these are just feelings. Feelings are not facts!
- Also, you don’t have to stay living in those feelings. Be careful how you interpret the message.
- Behaviour: Accept the situation for what it is, what you can and can not control. Do something to change the situation or change how you are reacting to it. I had an amazing professor who called staying stuck in things you can’t change as ‘baby wishes’. You can wish and wish and wish, but that will never change what is. This was a very helpful way of conceptualizing my stuck inner tantrum-prone 4 year old 🙂
This is where the “bouncing back” part of resilience begins.
This is where you start to make adjustments in your approach so that you can improve the situation. Asking yourself, How can I shift my attention and energy to something helpful?
Here are some tools to get you started:
- Attitude Adjustment:
- Adopt the attitude of making change happen in your life, not waiting for others to do it for you. You are your own advocate, show up in your own life. #MakeSomethingGoodHappen
- Radical Acceptance: Check out this funky little therapy trick!
- Cultivate Clarity: You need to have an idea of who you want to be, what qualities you want to possess and what you would like to accomplish in your life. If you know where you are going, the tough times are easier to navigate.
- Take on the Challenge: Be a person who deals with anxiety and overwhelming emotions by approaching them, not avoiding them. The very thing that scares you is the thing you need to run toward, not away from. *You can also walk or even crawl because it is the direction matters 🙂
Take action and do something.
Do it consciously and intelligently. Use your emotional awareness, even if your choice is not to act immediately. Consider the last time you were in a state of indecisiveness.
How did you feel the moment you made a decision and took action?
What positive changes happened as a result?
Adapted from: 4 Steps for Building Your Resilience
Still don’t believe me that this helps?!?!
Here are some facts to convince you tough ones out there…
It has been a while!
I just can’t stop myself from dropping some nerd on you today 🙂
Here is some evidence that emphasizes the importance of cultivating the skill of acceptance. I highly recommend adding this to your self-development life “to-do” list, especially if you want your life to be less overwhelm and drama and more “I got this” and “I can’t believe how this has changed my life”.
Buddhist teachings on happiness have long held that accepting that which cannot be changed or controlled is key to reducing suffering.
So some pretty smart researchers, Broadbent, de Quadros-Wander & McGillivray (2013), found that “perceived control” is a very important learned ability that fosters life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing.
Perceived Control has Two Parts:
Primary Control (External): the ability to make desired changes in your environment. Yes, you need to assesses the situation and see if there is anything you can do to make it better….and then do it.
Secondary Control (Internal): making changes within yourself to adapt to your environment; the acceptance of what can’t be controlled externally. You change your thinking about it, or work hard at stop thinking about it (stop dwelling on it), and start regrouping and designing your next steps.
*Both types of control are EQUALLY important in determining overall life satisfaction. Secondary Control, internal control, helped the research participants to cope with the losses in primary control that they had experienced.
I will end with the words of advice from a very wise woman….
“Bring your best self to whatever the challenge is”
Jennifer (Reid-Bicknell) Trapman
Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait/work for what you deserve.
Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)
eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success
Broadbent J, de Quadros-Wander S, & McGillivray J (2013). Perceived Control’s Influence on Well-being in Residential Care vs. Community Dwelling Older Adults. Journal of Happiness Studies; DOI 10.1007/s10902-013-9452-9