A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Corey Keyes give a lecture on “To Happiness and Beyond.” Dr. Keyes, Associate Professor of Sociology at Emory University, devotes his research to the nature of happiness and how to flourish in today’s fast paced culture. His focus is how to make improvements in one’s life.
During his lecture, I related some of his concepts to the role of the professional caregiver, especially people like you who are charged with helping others restore their sense of balance, flexibility, and resilience.
One of Dr. Keyes’ points is that resilient people “just do it.” Although he didn’t define this statement, I interpret the meaning to be that, even in adversity, resilient people get on with doing the tough tasks in life. In your professional role, you see this every day- the patients who work through their physical issues, who forge ahead, sometimes against the odds. People who don’t procrastinate and languish in their own self pity are a model to all of us. I’d like you to consider if you apply this principle to your personal and family life.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve thought a lot about that phrase, “just do it”, in an attempt to identify what skills contribute to the ability to move on and through adversity in life. Here’s what I think are the elements of resiliency:
- Don’t procrastinate by putting things off until later. The more delay, the greater the task seems. Tasks seem to gather steam if left until another day. When I finally get down to doing the dreaded task, I discover that 1) it took far less time than I thought, and 2) a sense of relief settles in, clearing my mind.
- A clear mind is key to a sense of wellbeing. I find I think more clearly and can see more options in my life if I don’t allow tasks to mount up or paper on my desk to overwhelm me. Having options gives all of us a greater sense of control over the events in our lives; we can be proactive rather than reactive.
- Clogged “inboxes and outboxes” gum up the mind and create a sense of frustration and anxiety. Anxiety is the great enemy of resilience because it occupies our minds and depletes energy.
In your professional work, one of the key principles is to encourage patients to take one day at a time, one step at a time. This principle is also a key to “just do it.” Thinking about all the tasks and steps over a long period of time is overwhelming to most of us, so once we get going, focusing on each day, completing pieces of larger tasks is a great way to manage many issues in life, both professionally and personally.
Do you remember the “just do it” principle as it applies to you personally? Take a moment to grade yourself. Is your grade “Never”, “Sometimes”, or “Always?” All of you train and teach others to move forward; now it’s time to remind yourself about maintaining personal resilience.
About the Author: Margery Pabst is a speaker, facilitator, and the co-author of “Enrich Your Caregiving Journey”, a book of practical tips for both the professional and family caregiver. Margery is host of the popular BlogTalkRadio show, “Caregiver and Physician Conversations” sponsored by eCareDiary. Margery will be hosting a new show beginning this Spring, “Caregivers Speak.” You can access Margery’s information at www.pivotalcrossings.com.
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