A few weeks ago, I heard and saw Dr. Corey Keyes 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 also applies for therapists and their career. He talks about how to make improvements in one’s life and how to retain personal resilience.
One of Dr. Keyes’ points is that resilient and happy people “just do it.” Although he didn’t define this statement, I interpret the meaning to be that even during adversity, resilient people get on with doing the big and little tasks in life.
Therapy professionals often encourage their patients and families to progress and accomplish tasks, but sometimes they don’t encourage or nurture themselves to follow the same principle. We all know people who don’t procrastinate or languish in self-pity. They are models because they demonstrate how to stay resilient.
Let’s apply this principle of “just do it” to your personal and professional life. The phrase “just do it” intrigues me as I identify the skills that contribute to the ability to move on and through adversity in life.
Here are my thoughts:
- Procrastination is the enemy. The more delay, the greater tasks and chores seem. Tasks gather steam if left to another day. When I procrastinate and then finally get to the task, I often discover that:
- it took far less time than I thought it would
- a sense of relief settles in, clearing my mind.
- A clear mind is key to wellbeing, resilience, and yes, happiness! You know the phrase, “Something is hanging over my head.” Once tasks are completed, the mind clears and for me, I begin to see more options, more ways to handle my personal and professional life. Having options gives us all a greater sense of control over the events in our lives. We are free to be proactive rather than reactive.
- Even larger issues and tasks need to be completed as soon as possible. Completing larger tasks and making large decisions should not be made hastily in your career as therapists, but the successful person will not let them linger endlessly either.
- When our lives our clogged with lots of tasks to do, anxiety sets in as tasks just stay and live in our “outboxes”. Negative energies are focused on always being behind. I remember in my early career, the longer I delayed completing tasks, my mind and body seemed more paralyzed, and I was unable to “just do it”. The anxiety I felt contributed mightily to a lack of energy and of resilience. I discovered that when I did accomplish things I felt better.
- The key skill for “just doing it” is the ability to break down tasks into smaller parts and then to focus on one part at a time. For many of us, thinking about all the tasks, both large and small, can be overwhelming. Once we get going, focusing on each day, doing pieces of larger tasks is a great way to manage many issues.
- One suggestion to get going with those pesky tasks is to make a list each morning. Be realistic and identify both what you need to do and what would be helpful to do so you don’t get behind. Make two columns and consider doing the “must do’s” in the morning and then reserving later in the day for getting other chores done.
- In your personal life, engage your family when making the list and break it down to the doable things each day. Create a daily collaboration with your family and then extend the practice with your team members in the hospital or clinic to get items checked off and completed.
Therapists, “just doing it” is a skill and attitude that you can work on constantly in your career. I am far from perfect in my practice, but the discipline of “just doing it” clears my mind and checks tasks off my list. Like physical exercise, it feels just great when you’re finished! Perhaps that’s the definition of happiness.
About the Author: Margery Pabst is the co-author of Enrich Your Caregiving Journey and the host of eCareDiary’s radio show, “Caregiver and Physician Conversations.” Dr. David Decker, Director of the Florida Cancer Institute will be Margery’s guest on Tuesday, March 27 at 2PM. Margery also writes monthly blogs and answers caregivers’ questions for the feature, “Ask the Expert”. eCareDiary and Margery are launching a second radio show beginning on Tuesday, May 8 at 2PM titled, “Caregivers Speak”, a monthly forum by and for professional and family caregivers. You can access Margery’s information at www.pivotalcrossings.com.
Click here for more articles by Margery Pabst.
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