Before diving into step 4, a reminder about resilience: it is defined as the ability to overcome adverse conditions; with healthy bonding relationships, guidance, support, and compassion as the catalysts. Basically, it entails having the capacity to bounce back from stressful or overwhelming experiences.
What are some steps we can take to ensure we are building resilience in our lives?
- Focus on the positives.
- Seek out and nurture supportive relationships.
- Utilize self-care strategies.
- Take action steps to create positive change.
- Work on healthy habit formation.
- Find a guiding hand to hold.
- Learn to become our own hero.
- Be gentle with ourselves.
Today we will cover Step 4: Take action steps to create positive change.
In order to overcome the panic attack and anxiety symptoms I had been experiencing for over twenty-five years, I had to make some serious changes in my mindset. I also had to be willing to change my habits, instill healthy boundaries, build my support system, and welcome challenges. These days I pat myself on the back for investing time and energy into ME and creating a life filled with tranquility even in the midst of storms.
Here are ten action steps you can implement in your life in order to create positive change:
- Be honest with yourself: Take a good look at your life in order to determine where you really want to make some positive changes. Make a pros and cons list, journal it out, or talk it over with a friend. Do you want a more spiritual existence? Then what can you do to change that? Do you want to feel more fit and healthy? What are some realistic options to make that happen? And so on. Being real with what you want will give you a clear goal.
- Welcome challenges as opportunities for growth: If you approach your action steps with a “bring it” attitude, you will take the negative power out of any challenges which might arise. Remind yourself that you might stumble. And that’s okay. Look at mistakes or setbacks as opportunities for growth. I recently visited the gulf coast in Florida and allowed my fears to overwhelm me on a beach visit. I closed in on myself and held a pity party. However, within a few hours, I gave myself a pep talk and headed back out to the shore. I conquered my phobias and enjoyed a moment in the “now” as I played with my family in the surf.
- Small steps add up: You do not have to accomplish your goal all at once or have it completed in day one. If you are wanting to be more active, turn off your television or phone or video games for an hour. Then go move. Walk in the park, hop on your bike, turn on music and dance around your kitchen while you cook. No need to toss the television out the window . . . yet! Start making new habits one little step at a time. What will your first small step be?
- Treat others as you would like to be treated: That whole golden rule thing. It really does help bring positivity into your life. Try smiling at others and take note of their responses. Sure, you might run into a few folks who are having a bad day (or life) and ignore your gesture, but that’s cool. Send them a little private wish for positivity in their lives then move on to the next person for a smile exchange. Try doing favors for others without expecting a favor in return. Maybe join a volunteer organization to give back to your community. As you nurture kindness, that will radiate into all aspects of your life. Keep track of how many people returned your smile today . . . you might be surprised!
- Remove/reduce negativity: I really could live without a television. I rarely have it on. And, wow, is my life more fulfilling now that I keep it from infiltrating my peaceful space. I also listen to meditative music. I avoid violent, disrespectful, and negative song lyrics. I have put limitations in place regarding toxic people in my life . . . those energy vampires I have mentioned before. I do not remove them completely as I hope maybe some day my glitter-shitter attitude will rub off on them, but I do walk away if I start to feel overwhelmed by their negativity. It’s a gift I give myself. Is there anyone in your life needing a boundary adjustment so as to minimize their pull on your positive energy?
- Practice self-care: A powerful tool for creating positive changes in your life is self-care. Using positive affirmations, utilizing healthy eating choices, engaging in activities that promote laughter and smiling, allowing yourself permission to rest or do “no-thing”, and finding a hobby are all examples of self-care. Choose one self-care practice to start today!
- Eliminate unhealthy/unsafe choices: One of the best decisions I ever made for myself was quitting smoking. I breathe better, feel better, smell better, and live better. Recognizing my stress eating and carb addiction helped me make the choice to treat my body better, fueling it with healthier options. What unhealthy choices have you been wanting to eliminate? What’s stopping you from cutting it from your life?
- Build a supportive social network: Whether you join an online group, engage in a volunteer organization, or reach out to someone new, make sure you surround yourself with others who lift your spirits and promote positive actions. Avoid the gossip groups and bitch-session gatherings. It’s okay to vent now and then, just don’t dwell there. Do you have a circle of support? If not, envision it. Then take those small steps to make it happen.
- Challenge yourself: Believe in you! And show it by challenging yourself to accomplish something you have long wanted to do. Have you been wanting to go back to school and finish up a degree? Are you an artist looking for an audience . . . then create an online store or sign up for a craft show booth. Again, believe in you!
- Dive deep: It can be scary going back into the dark spaces of your heart and soul. At the same time, it can be liberating. If you need to hold a hand (friend, therapist, religious leader, or coach), by all means, do so. You will find you are so much stronger than you may have thought possible. I certainly believe in you. By diving deep and revisiting those dark spaces, you will empower yourself with each triumph of merely returning to peek in. My hope for you, for all of us, is that we will eventually be able to shine our light so brightly, there is no more darkness.