In the midst of giving a talk on Resiliency this past week to a group of leaders in Healthcare, one of them sheepishly raised her hand and said to me, “Yeah, but obviously you have this all figured out so you don’t have to use all of these coping strategies, right?”
Wrong. It is not that I have it figured out, it is that I have fallen down so many times that I have found my own, individualized, personal rhythmic plan to wellness. And no, that doesn’t mean I feel well all of the time. It means I know what to do when I don’t feel well.
This personalized rhythm doesn’t come naturally to most. Especially those of us that were raised in families that are not an effective match for our personalities, temperaments, needs, or sensitivities. Finding our own rhythm takes time, energy, challenges, loss, and grit. We have to fight to find our own rhythm when we have been given someone else’s time and again.
For example, your family of origin might have shown you that all feelings are allowed, except anger. The family you were raised by might have offered you the exact opposite as a solution to life’s challenges, you can always express anger but never sadness, disappointment, loneliness. Your family might have taught that it’s ok to binge watch TV when you feel like you need to numb, or they might have taught you TV is the enemy and mindfulness is the only tool acceptable.
Our families shape the way we perceive ourselves, our environment, our life’s situational stressors and these are the exact messages that can delay us finding our own paths to resiliency and recovery. To expedite wellness, we first have to validate we have been given messages about wellness and wellbeing, then we need to evaluate how true those messages are for us individually given our personality and needs, then we have to build a corrective action plan.
This corrective action plan becomes our rhythm for facing life’s never ending challenges. We need to correct the messages sent to us about our skills/abilities or on the converse flaws/areas in need of growth. The plan should include what we learned about relationships, how to build them, grow them, and sustain them. We need a plan for what we learned about how to spend our leisure time, how to take care of our bodies, how to manage our money, and how to cope with the stimulation of life being outside of our control.
Our bodies need to know less what is coming toward us and more about how we will face the experiences. That is our rhythmic plan of resiliency. Our brains need to know that even though life is unpredictable, we have a plan to respond and that this plan is routine and rhythmic in its predictability.
Tips to Finding Your Rhythm
- Validate that some of the beliefs we have were handed to us as real, accurate, fact, and data and this may or may not be true for us.
- Reflect on what our own individual brains and bodies need for beliefs/values/experiences and tools.
- Sometimes the best way to understand what we need is to experiment and try some new beliefs/values/experiences and tools on for fit.
- Build the right rhythmic plan for ourselves.
- What sleep time works best for us? What wake/action time works best for us?
- What do we need the most when our feelings are hurt?
- What is actually restoring/rejuvenating as a leisure activity?
- What must we stay away from?
- What types of people help us lead our best lives?