Resiliency… A Gift for All Seasons

by Garet Bedrosian LCSW, CIRT, CBT, CET

“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”  e.e.cummings

Is there another time of the year that challenges our sensibilities and triggers so many conflicting emotions and reactions? I do not think so.

Of course, being in the field of psychotherapy I have the almost daily privilege of working with and associating with a population of individuals and couples who tend to express or at least attempt to understand their sensibilities and triggers. In other words, my belief that this is a universal condition may be skewed.

We all know about holiday and end of the year pressures but when we’re feeling stressed it is sometimes worth the reminder. The most obvious are the various holidays and traditions to mediate. We then have the end of another year evaluations about whether we succeeded or failed according to those resolutions and expectations set forth at the beginning of the year. Then, of course there are personal issues of finances, love and family to spice up the mix and to top it off there are the sometimes over riding National and International issues.

Foremost on our national minds is the recent shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We each feel a combination of shock, sadness, heartbreak, grief and anger as we watch the unfolding of this tragedy. Witnessing something so horrific sometimes helps to put the rest of our lives into perspective and we can let go of less threatening irritants and feel appreciation for all that we have. For others, it intensifies existing feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and alienation.

We each react differently to crisis and stress depending upon our resiliency and resources. It seems we would need to be numb to avoid feeling something with this combination of variables but what we do with those feelings is most significant and worth our attention.

There are many experts whom have researched and advised about surviving the holidays, stress, loss, trauma, etc. There are many others whom have studied resiliency. It appears that with resiliency we can ‘bounce-back’ from most things life has to offer.

I would like to share my list of resiliency enhancing practices and hope you share it as a way of expressing care for someone you know.

  1. Take good care of yourself. We all know the airline spiel. Put your mask on first before tending to anyone else. It is a metaphor for life because it really does all start with you, so… eat well, drink water, sleep enough, breathe some fresh air, move your body, take some time to regroup and get centered, moderate sugar, caffeine, alcohol, substances, carbohydrates and last but not least, connect with something higher than yourself.
  2. Reach out to someone. It will feel good to both of you.
  3. Talk to someone if you need support. Nothing is trivial and you are worth it.
  4. Express appreciation to everyone and anyone for anything. Write an ongoing list of the things you appreciate every day. It will help you remember what is good in your world when stress causes you to forget.
  5. Smile and if possible laugh. It really does elevate your mood even if you are just practicing.
  6. Honor sensitivities and boundaries for yourself and others… financial, emotional, physical, social, spiritual
  7. Consider homemade, home cooked, help with a project or chore, teaching a skill, time spent, shared experiences and your presence as very generous gifts.
  8. Make a decision and feel good about it even if it is just which socks to wear or what to eat for breakfast.  It is a confidence building-block and will help you make decisions about something more challenging.
  9. Pay more attention to the things you can change and find ways to accept the reality that you cannot change everything.
  10. Remember, ‘This Too Shall Pass.’

Please contact Garet Bedrosian, LCSW if you desire help building your capacity for resilience.