Winter… a Time for Reflection

It is quite ironic that as we enter Winter, we are again in the midst of lockdown.

Winter is a wonderful time to allow ourselves to slow down, step out of our ‘busyness’ and take time to reflect on how we are living our lives.
Ironically, lockdown has enforced a stop to all our extracurricular activities. But as it is an enforced decision it means we can feel disempowered as we have no control over the events happening around us.

To truly lead a full, optimal life where we strive to realise our true potential we need to occasionally push the boundaries, get out of our comfort zone, allow ourselves to become vulnerable and thus susceptible to failure. Taking risks promotes growth, fulfillment and contentment, but also requires personal resilience and positive emotional intelligence as well. And lockdown is truly a time of adversity where drawing upon and flexing our resilience muscle will promote personal growth.

Developing Emotional Resilience

According to Debra Jackson (2007), “resilience is the ability of an individual to positively adjust to adversity”. It is an ability each one of us needs to develop if we are to move forward in a positive manner, grow and maintain some sense of control over our lives when it gets tough.
She suggests the following 5 strategies can help build emotional resilience:

              ●Building positive, nurturing relationships and networks
              ●Maintaining positivity
              ●Developing emotional insight
              ●Achieving life balance and spirituality
              ●Becoming more reflective

  1. Building positive, nurturing relationships and networks

    ‘Social support has been identified as a significant component in resilience, and the maintenance of relationships is a component of social support’ (Tusaie & Fredrickson 2004).
    Building a positive, nurturing network of friends and family – a support system to lean on, to turn to and take guidance from, is integral in times of adversity.
    According to Brad Waters ( ‘resilient people tend to seek out and surround themselves with other resilient people, whether just for fun or when there’s a need for support. Supportive people give us the space to grieve and work through our emotions. They know how to listen and when to offer just enough encouragement without trying to solve all of our problems with their advice. Good supporters know how to just be with adversity—calming us rather than frustrating us.’
  1. Maintaining Positivity

‘Resilient people are able to draw on some form of positive emotion even in the midst of stress and hardship’ (Fredrikson 2004). They are able to see and focus on the positive, the “silver lining” of an adverse situation rather than express negativity and cynicism. Positive people have the ability to use laughter to help alleviate the stress and negative emotion associated with adversity.

  1. Developing Emotional Insight

There is an increasing acceptance that emotional intelligence (EI) impacts many different aspects of our daily lives, such as the way we behave and interact with others. Emotional Intelligence is the ability to identify, use, understand and manage emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively and empathise with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict.

‘If you have high emotional intelligence you are able to recognize your own emotional state and the emotional states of others, and engage with people in a way that draws them to you. You can use this understanding of emotions to relate better to other people, form healthier relationships, achieve greater success at work, and lead a more fulfilling life’ (Segal & Smith 2014).

According to Bright & Giordano (1997), understanding one’s own emotional needs and reactions gives insights into how to cope with stress and adversity and can help recognise more positive ways of coping in the future.

  1. Achieving Life balance and Spirituality

    I think we all know that feeling a sense of connectedness and achieving life balance is important. Tusaie & Fredrikson (2004) acknowledge that having high levels of resilience equates to the importance of having ‘a belief system that provides existential meaning, a cohesive life narrative and an appreciation of the uniqueness of oneself’.
    Regardless of spiritual beliefs it is important to participate in a range of healthy activities that are physically, emotionally and spiritually nurturing. This contributes to a balanced life especially in times of great pressure and demand.

  2. Becoming more Reflective

Debra Jackson also suggests that ‘reflection is a way of developing insights and understandings into experiences and of developing knowledge and skills that can be used in future challenges. Journaling can be a useful strategy, in that writing about an experience gives meaning to the event.  For example experiencing consistently negative emotional responses about a person, place or situation can be very illuminating, and may be a catalyst for reflection and exploring new positive ways of responding’.

Brad Waters (2013), believes that ‘when we're in the midst of stress and overwhelm, our thoughts can swirl with dizzying speed and disconnectedness. We can find reprieve by getting the thoughts out of our head and onto our paper. As Dr. James Pennebaker wrote in his book, “Writing to Heal”, ‘People who engage in expressive writing report feeling happier and less negative than before writing.’

Living with uncertainty can evoke stress and anxiety and if you are feeling this way please reach out to us as we use our Naturopathic principles to help you rebalance and heal. Call us on 52439084 or Book a Professional appointment with one of our Naturopaths here

“Because it’s Not a Rehearsal”
Live Better

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 The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. We recommend you consult with a GP or other healthcare professional before taking any action based on this article. While the author uses best endeavours to provide accurate and true content, the author makes no guarantees or promises regarding the accuracy, reliability or completeness of the information presented. If you rely on any information provided in this article, you do so at your own risk.




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