Visualization is a key resiliency practice. Have you ever gone into a meeting and saw yourself confidently presenting to your team? Or pictured yourself running all 10 miles and enjoying it? Visualization is so successful that there are studies that show that when people visualize success, they succeed! So what does that have to do with stress? Visualization can be used to center ourselves as well. Take this example: You’re shopping for your holiday gifts, you need to go to the grocery store, your partner wants to change plans at the last minute, and oh by the way, the dog had an accident in the house. That’s enough to make you want to scream!
One practice that you can employ is to visualize yourself navigating through these issues successfully. Picture yourself, getting the last bit of shopping done at the mall. While you waited in a long line, you messaged your partner to understand what the new plans and are now comfortable with adapting to them. You’ve gone from the mall to the store, and picking up those items you still need. Finally, you’ve gone home, the mess is still there, but you know with a little clean-up, it will be gone. You’re thankful that your dog is still with you and that he offers unconditional love. When it’s all done, you settle in for a cup of tea or a glass of wine.
Activity: What is something that is stressing you out right now? Now take a minute to visualize you remaining calm, full of grace, and handling the stressor like it’s not a big deal.
To get sciencey for a minute, when you start thinking negative thoughts your amygdala gets hijacked. As shown in the image below, when the thalamus sends stimuli to the amagydala, it gets flooded with that wave of emotion.
The awesome thing is, we can make that wave recede. All we need to do is to think of a happy, positive thought. Our brain can’t be happy and sad at the same time. I love the analogy of a wave, because it’s like our positive thoughts have the power to push the stressed-out, negative thought wave back.
When I teach people about stress, the thing that comes to light is that different things stress different people out. If you consider that for a minute, you realize how powerful that realization is. Stress is our response to an event; it is not the event. For example, in a class of students, I asked people what stressed them out. One person gave the response of work, someone else said kids, another person said their dog, and yet another person said traffic. What’s interesting is that kids don’t stress everyone out and they don’t stress people out all of the time. It’s our response to the trigger that causes our stress.
There are a few kinds of stress, acute (short-term), chronic (long-term), and episodic (recurring). Our brain recognizes stress and starts reacting to help us survive. An important note here about episodic stress is that it can look and feel like chronic stress especially if it frequent and long-standing. In the paleolithic days, a tiger may be coming after a human which stressed the human out. The human's heart rate would increase, the body would sweat, and blood pressure would increase. This was the body's way of signaling to the human to take action. Now, the closest we get to tigers is in a zoo.
This is a pivotal realization because it provides perspective. When we think about things that stress us out, it's typically not lions, tiger, and bears (oh my!). Beyond the physical reactions, people also tend to make mistakes or make decisions that aren't aligned with desired outcomes.
By knowing our stress triggers, we can manage them and any other stressor that pops into our life.
Stress management (resiliency) practices can help us for short-term stressors. The cool thing is that by implementing resiliency practices on a regular basis, we can create a well of positivity that we can dip into when we are feeling stressed out and more quickly go from feeling stressed to feeling in control.
Take 90 seconds (you can use the alarm on your phone). I want you to close your eyes and breathe slow and deep. Forget about the time, forget about everything else going on and just focus on your breathing.You want to take nice, big deep breaths. Do that until the alarm goes off. Once you're done, slowly open your eyes and notice how you feel.
After you complete this activity send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know:
1. Did you complete your breathing exercise?
2. How did you feel after you completed the exercise?
I'm here for support and accountability, so let me know that you've performed the breathing practice. I also want to know what questions you have for me on stress and resiliency. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Have you ever noticed that at the beginning of the new year, there seems to be this underlying narrative around goals, resolutions, and intentions? I am seeing a trend away from resolutions and going towards intentions. My coach asked me to write my intentions down (which I did). But what about resolutions? And what about goals? And are we just slapping a fancy buzzword on it but it's really the same thing? So I decided to do a little research to figure it out.
First, I looked up the three on dictionary.com to get the definitional version of each.
I get why I was curious about the difference between the three. Based on the dictionary version, they seem to have elements of one another. From my readings and experiences, we can demonstrate the differences as follows.
A resolution is a decision to do something. It’s supposed to be long-term and something you keep versus something you complete.
An example of a resolution is: I resolve to be a healthy eater.
An intention is the what we want to be/how we show up. In Wayne Dyer’s book, The Power of Intention, he defines intention as a strong purpose or aim, accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result.”
Using the same example, only reframed as an intention: I intend (I have mentally decided) to be a healthy eater.
The difference here though is subtle but big; a resolution is something you keep, you do this day in and day out. An intention is something you strive for. I think we’d be foolhardy to believe that we will eat healthy every single day for the rest of our lives. In this example, it’s heatlhy eating at 100% for the resolution vs 80 or 90% for the intention.
Lastly, there is the goal. I love goals! Goals are the desired result a person wishes to achieve; it’s the end point. The difference between an intention and a goal in practicality, is that the intention is how we get there (making up our minds to eat heathy) and the goal is where we are going (to be/eat healthier).
My goal is to eat healthier (this can then be made a SMART goal and measured by the types and the amount of food I eat, for example).
Not everyone is a goal oriented person. That's okay.
Everyone could (and I would submit should) be an intentions person.
Resolutions should be few and far between. Generally speaking, they aren't realistic.
The reason why I wanted to explore this was to 1) determine if we (I) was just buying into the hype and 2) determine if there was a meaningful difference.
Based on my analysis, I think intentions and goals are more closely aligned than resolutions which makes it a little more challenging to discern the difference. There is a difference between intentions and goals, and a more meaningful difference between resolutions and intentions and goals.
The other important note is whether you use goals and intentions interchangeably, it doesn't really matter; it's the implementation of those concepts that do. As long as you've identified the end point, and intend to do the items that help achieve your goal (and execute), that's what's most important.
The best thing is, even though we talk about it at the new year, resolutions, intentions, and goals don't have a season.
Emily helps #entrepreneurs create quizzes that convert into clients & sales. 🥋🐶🏋🏻♀️👨👩👧👦☕️👸🏻 life