REBOUND

REBOUND

Living in the present means embracing what is happening now, but also not discounting the tangible and intangible things we had or our past achievements. Even if we falter, we need to learn to accept that things happen and commit to a plan to move forward.

We don’t need to write things off right away but try to see that that difficult times do not erase all that we have accomplished. Such times gives us more strength to come back even stronger, even if we need to ask for help.

During these uncertain times we all need to look at the world for what it is right now and what it may become in the future, instead of just focusing on the way it was and what is missing. There are things that can come up in our day to remind us to enjoy what we do have, to stave off judgement, and to let things unfold as they may…if we keep our mind open.

For instance, I had a beautiful miniature Ficus tree that suddenly went dormant. All its leaves turned brown and dropped and it looked quite dead. The flowers that in circled the tree in the pot were thriving but the tree seemed to have expired. I just could not bear looking at its unhappy, bare branches. My spouse cut the tree way down just leaving a barely noticeable stump and after a couple of weeks the encircling flowers grew larger blossoms which engulfed the Ficus.

Today as I was watering that pot and I happened to notice that there were many tiny Ficus leaves on the stump hidden by the flowers. Wow, there is certainly life left in that tree I cheered to my spouse. This may seem like a trivial story, but it is one that has a deeper message. It can serve as a reminder that things may not be as they were or even as we hoped they might be, but there will always to be something to look forward to …if we keep our mind open.

Just look around and see people in the stores smiling under their masks and making eye contact with you. You can tell they are smiling because the smile is reflected in the eyes.

Let us find reasons to make the best of life as it comes to us.

Focus on What You Can Solve

Thriving under pressure means building a stronger sense of self. Here are some helpful tools to help you bounce back and focus on the problems you can actually solve:

*Fixing, planning, completing, growing, building, cleaning, planting, or creating things makes the waiting go by faster.

It can also help us stay away from uncertainty and dwelling. Say no worrying or negative mind spiraling and commit to creating a new and more positive world view.

*Adopt a positive view of the universe – stick with the “will” and skip the “won’t”

This starts with how we think and talk to ourselves. Using calming visual imagery or put the 2 for one rule into play: for every negative thought think of two positive images or things to be thankful for.

Having faith in ourselves comes from our belief system. Our positive beliefs come, in part, from being around positive people that can help support our will to thrive and move on.

*Seek support in your “friendship garden”

Including others in your friendship garden can help a lot, even online support or chat groups. A supportive network can foster resiliency, perspective, and growth.

*Look for Inspiration

Inspiration can be found in so many things such as poems, songs, books, and performances. If you like to read, consider joining a book club or consider listening to podcasts or audio books. If you are interested in reading, an author that may inspire you is Louise Hay (“You Can Heal Your Life”).

TIME TO RESET YOUR “SELF”

TIME TO RESET YOUR “SELF”

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, nothing seems as it was. Our usual routines of work, exercise, family time, visiting with others, shopping and leisure activities have all drastically changed. Even though many of us feel stuck at home, we can still find ways to feel like our old selves again … maybe even better!

Let’s face it, we all deserve to feel good about ourselves despite the uncertainty in the air.

Here are some useful tips to reclaim–or even improve upon–the old you:

RECALL

When we look back on past happy or successful moments, things look a bit brighter. We were happy; we were successful; we will be that way again! Looking through our rear view mirror at those funny or successful moments help us reset and learn to cope better with things temporarily outside our control.

ENJOY

We are all in this situation together, so we should be sure to stay connected emotionally even though we are physically separated. Our mobility has shrunken, but why not love and have fun with the ones we can connect with even if it’s just electronically? This includes family, neighbors, and former buddies from exercise, work, clubs or school. They are essentially all extended family and have been instrumental in making us the person we are today. Each of them can help us remember to enjoy ourselves, be ourselves and let our true essence out.

FIND

What better time than now to seek what we love to do and what we always wanted to do? As we grow in life our needs change and maybe it is time to give old pastimes a face lift (or find some new ones)? TV, video games and social media are okay in small doses but what about that hand-me-down watercolor kit or sewing machine in the back of the closet? Our hobbies are a true extension of our personalities. It is an activity where we can channel our creativity and feel like a new person again by creating something personal and unique.

EMBRACE

We all know how to multitask but how about slowing down enough to look at our reflection. No one is made just right. So, why not learn to like what we see and stop focusing on the flaws. When was the last time we really complimented ourselves? Started today by making a point of taking a second look in the mirror and finding traits as well as features you can fall in love with.

SEEK

Many external factors try to dictate what we should think, feel and like. We are not sheep, but individuals who can decide for ourselves what we truly want. Why not just look inside at our own preferences, history or beliefs? No one can tell us how or what will make us happy so take a moment to check out of social media and find the key to personal joy within ourselves.

ACCEPT

We are all perfectly imperfect. Once we understand and accept our flaws, we can roll with the punches. Knowing, as well as living with, our limitations can lead us to finding resources. We are more able to admit fault, embrace our humanness and ask for help. The greatest by-product of self-acceptance is the ability to live a life free of lies, reactivity and denial.

CLEAN

Like a twelve-step program, we all need to stay focused on our side of the street. If your side of the street needs some sprucing up, why not start spring cleaning now. Over time, cobwebs build up in our mind which keep us from making positive changes. If we want to be our best, this is the best time to look and begin revamping choices, behaviors and attitudes, as well as our physical environment.

RENEW

We now have the time to rethink, rebuild or refurbish our friendships. What about our relationship with ourselves? Hitting the reset button when it comes to our friends might be easy, but what about finding that friend inside ourselves? Why not begin with learning all we can about ourselves? Feeling good about what we are doing, spending quality time by ourselves, making healthy decisions and creating new boundaries will help us learn how to trust and rely on ourselves. Gradually we will notice that we can be own best friend and trusted support person.

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Arlene K. Unger, PhD is a Telehealth Psychologist in Private Practice in Dana Point. She has been a contracted staff provider with Mission Hospital/SCMC since 2005. Arlene serves on the Mission Hospital Medical Staff Wellbeing Committee. Her other articles, blogs and her book about Mindfulness: “Presence of Mind – Mindful Affirmations” can be found on her website: www.drarleneunger.com. Quatro/Arum and Sterling Publishers have published Arlene’s popular self-help books which can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble: “Sleep,” “Calm,” “Courage,” and “Happy,” as well as her co-authored books “How to be Content” and “How to Make Space”. Dr. Unger is also an online therapist for several internet platforms for clients in California.