Just when you think you have it all figured out— kaboom.
Whether you’re facing a mid-life or mid-career crisis, emerging from a health scare, or waking up and realizing a megalomaniac television celebrity is your new leader, there comes a time when we’re forced to stop what we’re doing, assess our situation and figure out just where we might go from here. So how do we go about getting our shiitakes together? Take five.
- Be mindful – 5,000 years and still going strong…yoga. According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, creator of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), mindfulness can foster clear thinking and openheartedness and can be used to deflect self-criticism, ruminations on the past, and worries about the future. MBSR incorporates yoga, breath control, body awareness and meditation. New research from Georgetown University Medical Center (2017) has shown that MBSR sharply reduces stress hormone and inflammatory responses.
- Make lemonade –Channel your emotions and create something. Go to a pottery studio, write bad poetry, knit doggie coats or perfect your karaoke song. A 2013 study showed that creative activities can lead to a cathartic release of positive emotion. Create, release, repeat.
- Be curious –In 2016, researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University found that curiosity may be an important source of resilience for those at risk for suicide. Curiosity drives people to embrace new and challenging opportunities, increases coping skills to stop negative thoughts and counters distress, depression, anxiety and sleep disturbances.
- Eat yogurt – How can you trust your gut when it’s not working all that well? Research into the gut-brain connection confirm that the type of bacteria in your intestines can radically alter mood and brain functions. A recent study at the UCLA School of Medicine found that women who ate probiotic yogurt twice a day were calmer in response to emotional stimuli, with measurable improvements in brain function.
- Get gritty – In her bestselling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, psychologist Angela Duckworth, says that “grit” grows when we dust ourselves off after rejection and disappointment. “To be gritty is to keep putting one foot in front of the other.” ”To be gritty is to fall down seven times, and rise eight.” Watch her Ted Talk here.
In the midst of a crisis or the aftermath of a meltdown, remember that you do not need to go through difficult times alone. There are always others who have been down this road before and lend their support to you. Have compassion for yourself. Reach out to those who can offer their strength when you can’t quite access your own. And, then…when you can, pay it forward.