If nothing else, the past year has reminded us that there is nothing so certain as change. The advent of 9/11 brought out the best in some people and revealed the worst in others. Not too many years ago, we thought the answer to protecting ourselves was pepper spray and mace. City people invested in the “club”, a device to prevent their cars from being stolen. But today, we need resources that are even more powerful. As such, this article will offer another set of tools for your belt to help prepare you for whatever may lie ahead.
Tool #1: Flexibility. Great lessons in flexibility can be learned from the plant and animal kingdoms. When Hurricane Andrew ravaged South Florida a few years back, this storm took out much of what was in its path. Buildings collapsed, roofs were swept off the tops of houses, and massive trees were wrenched from the ground. Among the survivors were trees that blew with the wind and a flock of wild peacocks who followed their instincts and took shelter.
Tool #2: Resilience. Studies have demonstrated that children growing up under adverse conditions can either be weakened or strengthened by such adversity. Cancer survivors and those who would be considered “miracle cures” often describe tapping into a personal resource from within. Some believe that the ability to bounce back begins in one’s mind, heart and soul.
Tool #3: Self-Efficacy. Self-efficacy is the ability to feel in control of one’s self even when our circumstances are beyond our control. Some people adapt rapidly to change; others fight rigidly to re-establish the status quo. Without self-efficacy, we depend upon the environment to make us feel secure.
Tool #4. Self-confidence. As children, we allow our strengths to be defined by others. But as we grow and overcome life’s hurdles, we can redefine ourselves. As we surpass the obstacles in our way, we must recognize and acknowledge our own accomplishments in order to build our inner strength.
Tool #5. Self-Awareness. It is often unpopular to take time for yourself, but it is not selfish. Recent theories suggest that as little as 5 minutes a day of meditation is sufficient to “reset” our immune system. Become an expert on managing your own stress and when something isn’t working, give yourself permission to make a change.
In the words of Bob Dylan:
May your hands always be busy, May your feet always be swift;
May you have a strong foundation; When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful; May your song always be sung and
May you stay forever young.
It has been my pleasure to write this column since October 1986. Many thanks to those who have read “From Dr. Jane’s Notebook”, special thanks to Post editor, Betsy Seale, and extra special thanks to my husband, Gary, who has pre-edited each of these columns over the past 16 years. Life is a continuous process of change and perhaps the greatest challenge is the challenge to know when to move on.
©Copyright, 2002, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.
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