Mary-Ann Owens and Associates

Resilience Blog

Reaching your goals with Grit

Dealing with Adversity and Difficulty

Dealing with Adversity and Difficulty

Looking at the Problem

When we look directly at a problem we can accept it more readily. People often spend so much effort and time denying their problems that they lose a lot of energy spinning their wheels. This effort instead could be used to overcome their problems.

Identify what you are feeling and thinking about the adversity/problem. When we identify what we are feeling, our left brain, the rational side, helps us calm our feelings down and we can start to act on and do something about those feelings. Journaling is a way to identify your thoughts and feelings and manage difficult situations well. I remember when I was completing my Ph.D. when I was writing my literature review one semester I was also required to keep a journal. The process of journaling revealed topic areas of interest and my thoughts and feelings over this period. It was a very effective way of managing myself throughout the semester.

Leaning into the Problem

Stepping into the issue and finding out more about it can inform you about how to deal with it more effectively. Learning more about an issue will assist you in coping with it quicker and more thoroughly. When you have a problem determine how and what you could do to learn more about the problem.

The best way out is always through….Robert Frost.

If you know people who are skilled in dealing with your situation or problem you could ask them for help or if you have the means pay them to support you through it.

Reframing the Problem

Reframing is a way of changing the way you look at adversity and, thus, changing your response to the experience. For instance, if you reframed an adverse situation you could ask yourself, “What is the gift in this experience?” This question could open up the situation and allow you to see new possibilities. When we reframe an experience we can keep the momentum going, giving us opportunities to lower stress, enhance our development, and shift the meaning in situations where we were previously stuck.

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Giving and Receiving Support

Giving and Receiving Support

I was thinking of this topic because of the necessity of having to be alone this Christmas season due to the pandemic. Christmas is usually a time when we get to see our family and friends. We usually have too many social engagements scheduled during this season. This year though most of us may be experiencing the lack of social engagements are causing feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety.

What can support look like this year?

We can reach out to others by mail, electronically, on the phone, or in person. This year though the in-person social gatherings are very limited in scope.

Staying in touch and keeping lines of communication open can provide needed support and encouragement to our family and friends. By providing an ear we could help to alleviate some of those feelings of loneliness.

We may have more time on our hands; so our gifts of support might include:

  • Baking cookies for family and friends,
  • Shovelling our neighbors’ walk,
  • Vetting your books and donating some to local charities or giving some to the little libraries in your neighborhood (A great charity that accepts books in Calgary is Between Friends),
  • Going through your closets and donating clothing to local charities, and
  • Others you can think of.

Support is enhanced by both giving and receiving

It is also important to identify your needs and how your needs might be satisfied.

If you are feeling especially lonely you might support yourself by asking friends and family if they have time for a phone call. These calls could support you as they may contain needed company, comic relief, warmth, ideas, advice, problem-solving and tangible support. Your phone call might also have the reciprocal benefit of helping the person you connect with feel less isolated as well. They might even realize the value of reaching out and talking to their family and friends.

Seeking support through special service agencies or counselling centers is important to consider as well, especially if you realize your thoughts and feelings need to be supported more than the level family and friends can provide.

Due to the forced isolation, you may notice the extent to which you appreciate your friends and family increasing. Be sure to let them know what they mean to you!

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Opening Yourself Up to Increase Your Resilience Levels

Opening Yourself Up to Increase Your Resilience Levels

Here are 8 benefits to opening yourself up to ideas, others, and experiences.

Finding optimal solutions: If we are open we can find solutions and optimize our situations. We can unlock blocks to our progress and find solutions to our problems. This means being open and facing our problems head-on. We need to delve deeply into blocks and problems so we can route out the answers. Some people have the courage and tenacity to do this and when they do they are rewarded with tangible progress.

Staying relevant: Being open to ideas and input helps our relevance in the marketplace. We know what we know, but at the same time, we are not aware of what we don’t know. The input of others assists us to learn what trends are important to customers and employers in our careers and fields. Employers and customers know what they need and these represent trends in our industry or the broader community. Knowing this we will know what skillsets and expertise to pursue because these are required in the marketplace.

Increased confidence levels: It takes confidence or a strong sense of self to reach out to others. When we are able to do this we can more gain confidence, thereby reinforcing our confidence levels, through the experience of interacting with others. We can gain ideas, feedback, knowledge of developments, and opportunities in the process. We are also able to expand our horizons by reaching out to others.

Continuous learning: Being open to new ideas enhances our ability to continue learning. Whether through our own desire and motivation or out of necessity, learning can enhance our lives and career. Engaging our curiosity and working with something new can help to raise our energy and engagement levels. Our world can flourish when we open to the energy that learning creates.

Enhanced flexibility: When we are open we are able to flex with the various situations that occur. We can’t always predict what will happen and how we need to respond. If we are open, we can eventually find out how to deal with anything that happens to us. Sometimes that means letting go of control, accepting what life is presenting, and going with that instead of fighting it. Letting go increases our ability to tolerate diverse viewpoints and unexpected events as these will inevitably occur around us.  

Being mentally strong: Understanding yourself or others’ backgrounds helps you put into context why people do what they do. Being open to learning about any topic or experience that impacted you or others will give you strength. We can feel more centered or grounded by knowing more about experiences that impact us deeply.

Enhanced decision making: When we open ourselves to feedback from others our decision-making improves. If we decide on our at times this works, however, at other times we need to broaden the parameters of our thinking and decision making to ensure our solutions and methods are more robust. When we open ourselves to others' input our decisions are going to be stronger to the broader group or market.

Increased optimism and positivity: When you are open, you expand your ability to make positive changes even out of negative situations. I have read of people who were able through open-heartedness to forgive people that did awful things to them or members of their family. They were able to find meaning in extending themselves positively in a situation that would bring most people to their knees. So finding the higher meaning and doing something about the situation can ensure we generate positivity. This openness enables us to be empowered by what happens to us instead of victims of it.

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