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Cultivating HOPE in these Challenging Times

By Susan Luck, RN, BS, MA, HN-BC, CCN, HWNC-BC

We, at Rezilir Health, know this is a difficult time. A time of uncertainty.

The COVID-19 virus has shaken our lives as we know them. Our normal day to day schedules and activities are disrupted as we are self-isolating from others. Please continue to visit our website as Dr. Tanio will constantly be updating our Rezilir Community on COVID-19.

Is there another way to understand this experience by shifting our awareness to realize that everywhere we look, we can find hope?

What is Hope?

Hope is defined as the state of mind that believes and desires a positive outcome to situations in life. Hope often lives in uncomfortable moments of uncertainty and not knowing. As we ponder our future in our personal lives, in our communities, and in our world, take a moment to self-assess how you are responding to the current challenges in your life. Reflective questions each of us can ask ourselves:

  • Is it possible to manage my stress in the midst of this upheaval?
  • How can I shift my anxiety of the unknown and transform my perspective from one that only sees problems to one that sees the solutions beyond my daily challenges?
  • How can I turn uncertainty and not knowing into Hope?
  • How can I cultivate hope and develop a new awareness that allows me to respond in new ways to the challenges confronting us?
  • How can I turn “isolation” into a self- reflective healing moment?
  • How can I find new creative outlets and opportunities in this time?

Developing skills to connect one with Hope is essential for surviving challenges throughout this crisis and throughout life. Here are some reflective practices to deepen your connection to feeling empowered and feeling “Hope-full”.

Mindfulness Practice for cultivating Hope and Resilience:

Begin by finding a comfortable position-perhaps sitting in a chair with feet planted on the ground.

  • Close your eyes, or gently gaze in front of you. Become aware of your breath.
  • With each inhalation, breath in peace With each exhalation, breath out worry, tension, fear. Letting go with each exhalation.
  • Stay with your breath as long as you need to…as you feel your body and mind release and let go of tensions and worry.
  • When you are ready, recall a time, when you experienced a difficult situation that you overcame. Reflect on your inner strengths that helped you get through this time … How have you found solutions in the past when obstacles appeared to block your path forward? Identify what inner strengths helped you get through a difficult life moment. Perhaps write them down so that you can draw upon them as needed and remember your inner capacity.
  • Ask yourself, how can my inner strengths help me cope and find hope at this time?

Fill in the following: “Hope, make me feel…. …..” (example: strong, peaceful, secure…)”

Resilience and Hope

Resilience is an essential life skill that we can cultivate and develop throughout our lives. Resilience is the process of being able to adapt well and bounce back quickly in times of stress. This stress may manifest as family or relationship problems, health problems, difficulties in the workplace environment, or even financial problems, to name a few. As we face difficulties, challenges, and even setbacks, resilience is what determines whether we fight through it and grow and heal, or whether cave in and let obstacles overcome us. Developing resilience can help you cope adaptively and bounce back after changes, challenges, setbacks, disappointments, and even failures.

Practice this mantra – Say to yourself,

“I am Calm, I am Strong, I am Resilient, – I will carry on.”

Say this three times. Say it as needed while you are walking, driving, cooking, exercising. The following practice will support your developing resilience.

Identify Your Strengths

  • Describe a time when you were able to overcome or handle a major challenge in life.
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What personal strengths did you draw upon?
  • Draw upon an image of when you were the most resilient.
  • How might you apply this strength now?

Increase Positive Emotions on a Daily Basis

  • Identify sources of humor or joy.
  • Express gratitude-share with someone or write a letter.
  • List your accomplishments.

Engage in Meaningful Activities

  • Notice what happened in your day that was meaningful on a regular basis.
  • What kinds of activities did you find meaningful?
  • Identify activities that put you in the flow. (Enjoyable things you do that cause you to lose track of time.)

Identify and Use Your Strengths

For more information on cultivating Character Strengths: VIA Institute of Character: www.viacharacter.org

The Main Ingredients that Contribute to Resilience

  • Having the capacity to make realistic plans.
  • Being able to carry out those plans.
  • Being able to effectively manage your feelings and impulses in a healthy manner.
  • Having good communication skills.
  • Having confidence in your strengths and abilities

In assisting you in experiencing what you can control in the world of COVID-19: Practice good health. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise at home or take a walk outside, handwashing, practice social distancing, stay at home, keep outside visits only to necessary places (grocery, doctor, pharmacy). Keep them short.

Feeling out of control, anxious?

Five Practical Tips for finding your Calm in the storm.

  • Stop watching constant news on TV or reading it on your phone. This will only serve to heighten your stress level.
  • Breathe in through your nose and out of your mouth when feeling anxious.
  • Focus on that which brings you comfort – A spiritual being, a person, place, or pet. It doesn’t matter what it is, it’s how it makes you feel that is important. Close your eyes and picture that in your mind as you continue breathing. Remember an interaction – sitting with your cat on your lap and hearing her purr, a rewarding conversation with your friend, a feeling of safety after saying a prayer.
  • “This too shall pass“ – Silently say this to yourself. Remember, you will get through this. You will, and you will be stronger.
  • Practice kindness – Be kind to yourself and others. Kindness acts as a lubricant in tight situations. It makes everything smoother, easier.

If you are struggling with mental health during this difficult time and would like to make an appointment with Susan, please use our REQUEST APPOINTMENT form and a Rezilir Health associate will contact you directly.

We at Rezilir, wish you health and well- being. Stay Safe!

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