Positive Steps for RECAREERING
R esilience. The ability to bounce back from adversity Eda LeShan, noted expert on aging, tells the story of how lobsters grow. When a lobster becomes crowded in its shell and can’t grow anymore, by instinct it travels out to some place in the sea, hoping for relative safety, and begins to shed its shell. It is a terribly dangerous process-the lobster has to risk its life, because once it becomes naked, vulnerable, it can be dashed against a reef or eaten by another lobster or fish. But that is the only way it can grow. Believe in your own inner strength. Maintain the long term perspective, a hopeful outlook, expect good things, visualize what you wish.
E ngagement. What makes you happy? Music, candles, riding a bike, reading, walking on a beach, going to the movies, tennis, golf, gardening-DO IT!! Joy is a gift, reconnect with your passions. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, calls it “flow”-being one with an activity time stopping and loss of self. It is essential to true happiness.
C onnect. Several studies prove people who are socially connected are happier and more fulfilled. The #1 predictor of depression is isolation. Another study actually showed “luckier” people are ones who know more people with whom to connect and increase their chances of gaining their goals. Volunteer, join groups, start a reading group, bowl, get out, meet people, help someone else.
A ttention to the moment. Mindfulness has been shown to be an extremely effective strategy to ward off anxiety. Echart Tolle in “The Power of Now” states, “The psychological condition of fear is divorced from any concrete and true immediate danger. It comes in many forms: unease, worry, anxiety, nervousness, tension, dread, phobia, and so on. This kind of psychological fear is always of something that might happen, not of something that is happening now." Practice mindfulness and live in the present, meditate, do yoga, listen to music.
R educe it. A goal is just a wish written down. Whatever your goal, chunk it up into smaller steps. Structure your day, make lists, work backwards. Barbara Sher, in her great book, Wishcraft, states you should break your goal up into doable steps and ask yourself, “Can I do this today, if not what do I need to do first.” When you’ve worked backwards from your goal, start immediately doing the things today that need to get done. All we need to affect a change is structure and support.
E xcitement. Play to your strengths. Tap into your skills. Research shows we are more fulfilled when we use our strengths. Dan Sullivan, business coach, states, “If you spend too much time working on weaknesses all you end up with is a lot of strong weaknesses.” Maximize what you are good at. What are your major talents? What do you love to do? What kind of environments do you like being in? Accentuate the positive. Michael Jordon became a great basketball player practicing his strengths over and over.
E mbrace the change. Relax into the ending. Let it go. To quote Oprah, “Every ending brings with it a brand new beginning.” Take a deep breath, let go of your fear of failure and success. Give yourself some healing time. Don’t focus on the loss; focus on the good things that will flow from it.
R eframe. Cognitive Behavioral psychologists believe our thoughts affect our feelings and our feelings affect our behavior. Catch yourself when you find yourself blaming yourself. Reframe your thoughts. Get rid of all thoughts that use the words should, must, ought to, have to, never and always. Be kind to yourself.
Interests. Spend time exploring your interests, skills and values. Take assessments that measure your personality fit with your interests and skills. What did you love doing as a child? Ensure that your next step includes your passions and talents.
N urture. Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat healthy, sleep, don’t allow stress to affect you physically.
G ratitude. Studies show that severely depressed people actually report a significant decrease in depressed symptoms just by practicing three steps of gratitude each night. Seligman designed this three blessings gratitude exercise-each night before bed write down at least three things that went well today. By putting your gratitude in words, you increase appreciation and memory.