Mindset

Stuck? Overwhelmed? Make the 4A’s Your BFF #Resilience

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Acceptance

Awareness – Acceptance – Adjustment -Action


Spoiler!

What you are about to read is not a slag to millennials, but rather a compliment!


 

Dear Millenials,

I know that you take a bunch of criticism from Boomers and GenXers, some if of it deserved 😉 some misinformed and wrong. So to balance out this perception,  I am going to share a good news story with you…

I have just come back to work after a province wide (24 colleges) faculty strike where I had the privilege of waking in circles, for little to no pay, taking a strong stand for quality education (which is super important). No, I didn’t want to be doing this but the cause was irresistible since education changed my life profoundly. Integrity means supporting your beliefs even when it is hard. I want you to have the incredible educational experience that I had so that you too can create your wildest dreams life.

So, we faculty were all very nervous coming back, wondering what we would be met with as the student-faculty paths started to intersect again. What I found was pretty incredible behaviour from you millennials 🙂

So many of you were stressed and overwhelmed, which is absolutely normal since you had no idea what the plan was for you to complete your semester. Within a week, after the plans were clear, the whole campus feeling transitioned from freaked out to functioning beautifully. Students listened, asked questions and started getting back to work and professors listened, asked questions and supported their students. So many of you decided that you would “lean in”, listen and figure out your next steps. You got all gritty and motivated and made the next step toward your success. Nicely done!

My advice to you is look around you at the students who are leaning into their studies, not complaining about what happened (staying stuck) but rather doing what it takes to get their semester completed successfully, one small step by one small step. There are some pretty great examples out there in your classes, sitting right beside you.  I am so impressed with your behaviour and resilient abilities 🙂 


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Well, this got me thinking about resilience building and a model that really helps bring the process to life.


Awareness  –  Acceptance  –  Adjustment  –  Action


icon2  Awareness

The first step in building your resilience is awareness.

  • Be aware of what is going on in your body and your brain. Where do you feel tension? Is your body telling you that something is wrong?
  • What are you feeling? Emotions contain information. Notice what they are telling you about the situation and yourself. If you are saying that you can’t do this, well that is exactly what your body is reacting to.
  • Try this! Mindfulness Practice is a great way to get started: Check this Out!

*Overall, awareness is reading your personal signs and knowing that there may be something that needs to change.

icon1  Acceptance

This is the part where you say, “okay, that happened”.

  • Feelings: Accept the way you feel is the way you feel. Feelings are are part of our natural response to experience. It is absolutely okay to feel disappointment, shock, sadness, overwhelmed or incompetent. But…
    • Remember that just because you feel a certain way, does not make it true. You may feel like you can’t handle something or that you are a failure, these are just feelings. Feelings are not facts!
    • Also, you don’t have to stay living in those feelings. Be careful how you interpret the message.

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  • Behaviour: Accept the situation for what it is, what you can and can not control. Do something to change the situation or change how you are reacting to it. I had an amazing professor who called staying stuck in things you can’t change as ‘baby wishes’. You can wish and wish and wish, but that will never change what is. This was a very helpful way of conceptualizing my stuck inner tantrum-prone 4 year old 🙂

 

icon4  Adjustment

This is where the “bouncing back” part of resilience begins.

This is where you start to make adjustments in your approach so that you can improve the situation. Asking yourself, How can I shift my attention and energy to something helpful?

Here are some tools to get you started:

  • Attitude Adjustment:
    • Adopt the attitude of making change happen in your life, not waiting for others to do it for you. You are your own advocate, show up in your own life. #MakeSomethingGoodHappen
  • Radical Acceptance: Check out this funky little therapy trick!
  • Cultivate Clarity: You need to have an idea of who you want to be, what qualities you want to possess and what you would like to accomplish in your life. If you know where you are going, the tough times are easier to navigate.
  • Take on the Challenge: Be a person who deals with anxiety and overwhelming emotions by approaching them, not avoiding them. The very thing that scares you is the thing you need to run toward, not away from. *You can also walk or even crawl because it is the direction matters 🙂

icon5  Action.

Take action and do something.

Do it consciously and intelligently. Use your emotional awareness, even if your choice is not to act immediately. Consider the last time you were in a state of indecisiveness.

How did you feel the moment you made a decision and took action?

What positive changes happened as a result?

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Adapted from: 4 Steps for Building Your Resilience


 

Still don’t believe me that this helps?!?!

Here are some facts to convince you tough ones out there…


PsychNerd TIME!

Brain Nerd

It has been a while!

I just can’t stop myself from dropping some nerd on you today 🙂

Here is some evidence that emphasizes the importance of cultivating the skill of acceptance. I highly recommend adding this to your self-development  life “to-do” list, especially if you want your life to be less overwhelm and drama and more “I got this” and “I can’t believe how this has changed my life”.

Blame my past

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Acceptance

Buddhist teachings on happiness have long held that accepting that which cannot be changed or controlled is key to reducing suffering.

So some pretty smart researchers, Broadbent, de Quadros-Wander & McGillivray (2013),  found that “perceived control” is a very important learned ability that fosters life satisfaction, happiness and wellbeing.

Perceived Control has Two Parts: 

Primary Control (External): the ability to make desired changes in your environment. Yes, you need to assesses the situation and see if there is anything you can do to make it better….and then do it.

Secondary Control (Internal): making changes within yourself to adapt to your environment; the acceptance of what can’t be controlled externally. You change your thinking about it, or work hard at stop thinking about it (stop dwelling on it), and start regrouping and designing your next steps.

*Both types of control are EQUALLY important in determining overall life satisfaction. Secondary Control, internal control, helped the research participants to cope with the losses in primary control that they had experienced.

 


I will end with the words of advice from a very wise woman….

“Bring your best self to whatever the challenge is”

Jennifer (Reid-Bicknell) Trapman 

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Be strong enough to let go and wise enough to wait/work for what you deserve. 

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca


References

Broadbent J, de Quadros-Wander S, & McGillivray J (2013). Perceived Control’s Influence on Well-being in Residential Care vs. Community Dwelling Older Adults. Journal of Happiness Studies; DOI 10.1007/s10902-013-9452-9

Trouble Sleeping? Sprinkle a Little Gratitude into Your Life

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May You Wake With Gratitude

Here in Canada, we are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get all nerdy on you and present some pretty great reasons to start infusing gratitude in your life.

The land that Canada is on was originally occupied, and cared for beautifully, by indigenous people. Since this land was taken over without negotiation, we Canadians could at least be grateful for the life that this land has given us. There is nothing worse that first world problem whining in a land of such prosperity. Ok, said my piece on why gratitude should be a given, but since it still seems to be a difficult task to master, let me tell you what a attitude of gratitude can do for your nocturnal angst.

Often the reason why people have difficulty getting to sleep, and sometimes remaining asleep, is what you think before you go to bed. Scared, fearful, anxious, freakout out thoughts keep you in a state of “fight or flight” in your brain. Seriously! Your brain kinda needs you to be alert if you are gonna use your fists or your legs to run away. So, my suggestion is to do the following:

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Brain Nerd

Sleepy PsychNerd

There are some pretty smart, researchers at the University of Manchester in England who looked at how gratitude might affect people’s snooze time. Their study included over 400 adults of all ages, even some with diagnosed sleep disorders. They asked these folks to complete questionnaires about gratitude, sleep and pre-sleep thoughts, and these people provided some pretty cool information that resulted in the data being smooshed into patterns and trends that showed that gratitude was related to having more positive thoughts, and fewer negative ones, at bedtime. What this means is that gratitude leads to dozing off faster and sleeping longer and better.

Study Results

*With nerdspeak translations

Gratitude was uniquely related to:

  • Total Sleep Quality: multiple measures of how you slept such as brain waves, duration, self-report of how you slept, etc.
  • Subjective Sleep Quality: how you thought you slept
  • Sleep Latency: fancy word, in sleep science, for the length of time that it takes to accomplish the transition from full wakefulness to sleep.
  • Sleep Duration: how long you slept as observed by sleep scientists.
  • Daytime Dysfunction: your amount of sleep mixed in with how well you function during the day.

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Practicing Gratitude

Here is an awesome resource, with a free APP :), to get you started on the magical infusion of gratitude in your life.

UNSTUCK: A Practical Guide to Gratitude

You can even get weekly free tips sent right to your email. Seriously, stop whining and start noticing what is going well in your life and you will start to sleep better (an then be less whiny). Even I get whiny at times, but I really try hard to balance my negative thinking with expanding my life view by forcing myself to also see what is going well. Trust me, it works 🙂

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Sleep Strategies

Surround your gratitude with healthy sleep habits.


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I wish you all a weekend of getting some gratitude swirling around your brain . This is the first step to better snoozing’ 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

References

Wood A.M., Joseph, S., Lloyd, J., Atkins, S. (2009). Gratitude influences sleep through the mechanism of pre-sleep cognitions. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 66  43–48

Academic Self-Efficacy: Upgrading Your NeckTop Computer

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Did you know that you are walking around with one of the most amazing computers right on top of your shoulders!?!

Yes, your NeckTop Computer! Even this wonderful organic machine needs software upgrades now and then. Teach it how to learn, remember and adapt. By consistently learning, you upgrade your software, which makes your life so much easier because you can understand information at a quicker pace, store that information longer and be able to show off just how much you have learned by being able to handle those pesky quizzes, tests or exams 😉

BrainComputer.pngBrain Facts

  • About 100 billion neurons make up the human brain.
  • Each neuron connects approximately 10,000 neutrons together.
  • The human brain weighs about 3 pounds.
  • The cerebral cortex grows thicker the more it is used. That means you have more neural networks to process information and more memory capacity. The more you learn, the better your brain gets.
  • For all of you environmentalists…your NeckTop computer is powered bio-electrically! Just eat things that are healthy for you…feed and power this computer!

Learning How to Learn

Learning how to learn starts with developing your Academic-Self Efficacy; the belief that you have the skills necessary to successfully complete your courses and that you have the ability to improve, when necessary. For example…

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  • Knowing how to schedule time to accomplish tasks.
  • Knowing how to take notes.
  • I knowing how to study to perform well on tests.
  • Knowing that you are good at research and writing papers.
  • Knowing and feeling that you are a very good student.
  • Having the experience of usually doing very well in school and at academic tasks.
  • Consistently finding ways to make your academic work interesting and absorbing (even when it is not at first).
  • Knowing that, despite obstacles, you are very capable of succeeding in your post-secondary program.

4 Ways to Develop Academic Self-Efficacy Beliefs

  • Performance accomplishments: The experience of mastery influences your perspective on your abilities. Successful experiences lead to greater feelings of self-efficacy. However, failing to deal with a task or challenge can also undermine and weaken self-efficacy.
    • If you avoid doing class presentations because you feel anxious or nervous, you never have the opportunity to improve, adapt, develop skills and believe that you can do this. Yes, despite how anxious you are, you can learn to at least survive presentations. I did.
  • Vicarious experience: Observing someone else perform a task or handle a situation
    can help you to perform the same task by imitation, and if you succeed in performing a task, you are likely to think that you will succeed as well, if the task is not too difficult. Observing people who are similar to yourself succeed will increase your beliefs that you can master a similar activity

    • Look around your classroom and your life. Who seems to “have it all together” or seems to know how to write papers, to study or to write tests. Ask them about their process. Observe, try and improve based on the experience of others.
  • Verbal persuasion: When other people encourage and convince you to perform a task, you tend to believe that you are more capable of performing the task. Constructive feedback is important in maintaining a sense of efficacy as it may help overcome self-doubt.
    • Ask for feedback from friends, classmates, professors/instructors or tutors. Learn from the constructive; learn from the encouragement.
  • Physiological states: Moods, emotions, physical reactions, and stress levels may influence how you feel about your personal abilities. If you are extremely nervous, you may begin to doubt and develop a weak sense of self-efficacy. If you are confident and feel no anxiety or nervousness at all, you may experience a sense of excitement that fosters a great sense of self-efficacy. It is the way people interpret and evaluate emotional states that is important for how they develop self-efficacy beliefs. For this reason, being able to diminish or control anxiety may have positive impact on self-efficacy beliefs.
    • Learn about YOUR brain. Learn more about this awesome computer. I have written extensively on emotion regulation, stress management, anxiety, check out some of my other posts to learn more about managing, understanding and improving your own NeckTop computer.

Adapted from the following source: Click Here

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Step-by-Step Process

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  • Academic Self-Efficacy Mindset: Start with building your Academic Self-efficacy mindset (above). This prepares your mind for the software upgrade process
  • Study Skills Questionnaire: Start with an assessment of your study skills tool kit. What you have; what you need.
  • Study Skill Toolbox: Make a list of skills that you already have. Make a plan for the areas you would like to improve (upgrade the software).
  • Software Upgrade: Start searching online or in human interactions, for tips, strategies to learn different ways of improving in the following areas:
    • Project Managing Your Academic Experience: Organization & Time Management
    • Note-Taking Strategies: Capturing the Knowledge
    • Leaning into Your Studies: Attitude, Learning Style, Active Learning and Memory Enhancement.
    • Being Tested: Strategies for Writing Quizzes, Tests and Exams.
    • Learning to Communicate: Research and Writing Skills
    • Presentations: Learning the Tips & Tricks
    • Working in Groups: Strategies for Making the Process Smooth and Effective.
*I used to have a 1969 VW Beetle that I painted red foot prints running from the back, over the top to the front. I could totally post rationalize that it was because I so strongly believed in the step-by-step human growth and change process, but really it was because I loved bare feet, I was very poor and the red paint was free 😉 I have grown 😉

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Study Skills Questionnaire


 

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Let me know what you think, what topics you would like me to cover or ideas you have. I would really LOVE to hear from you 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Thank You Stress! Another Weird and Wonderful Life Mystery Solved.

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This is my last post of 2016 and I thought that I would match the theme to my life at this time. I feel an immense level of gratitude for many things in my life, most I have worked extremely hard for, through much adversity, and some that have just showed up in my life, like my wonderful husband and stepson <3. Just this little mind shift seems to make the stress in my life so much more manageable 🙂

Also, this year, this blog had over 5000 views from 94 countries! Wow! I feel so grateful for all the wonderful questions, kind words and clicks! I love sharing  my experience and knowledge with others and especially love hearing the life stories of others. So, today’s post will be about how important gratitude is for your health, and most importantly, how it helps with building stress tolerance.

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I hear you saying, “So what is this gratitude that you speak of?!?”

well…

Gratitude is the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself; it is a general state of thankfulness and/or appreciation. The majority of empirical studies indicate that there is an association between gratitude and a sense of overall well being. Source: Sansone & Sansone, 2010.

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Once again, I will thread gratitude and stress though my 5 stress management components: Stress Knowledge, Self-Awareness, Receptive Mental State, Attitude and Coping Skills.


Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Freaky word of the day…Psychoneuroimmunology!

Huh?!?

It is the study of the interaction between psychological processes and the nervous and immune systems of the human body. Yes your brain is connected to the rest of your body 😉

There is some pretty cool research finding that grateful people tend to be more optimistic, a characteristic that researchers say boosts the do-what-you-love.jpgimmune system. In one, researchers compared the immune systems of healthy, first-year law students under stress (like all students!) found by midterm, optimistic students maintained higher numbers of the blood cells that protect the immune system, compared with their more pessimistic classmates. (Suzanne C. Segerstrom, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington). Grateful people tend to be more optimistic because gratitude helps you to see your whole life picture, not just the negative stuff. It is so much easier to be optimistic if you know that good things can actually happen because they are happening in your life.

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Get out there and boost your health with a dose of gratitude!


Self-Awareness

pencil-holder-16293-large.pngDo you tend to infuse gratitude practices into your daily life? The following questionnaire is an opportunity for you to explore your relationship with gratitude and gain a wee bit more self-awareness in an area that helps you to manage your stress better.

Get out your pencils!

 Directions: Using the scale below as a guide, write a number beside each statement to indicate how much you agree with it.
  •  1=strongly disagree
  • 2=disagree
  • 3=slightly disagree
  • 4=neutral
  • 5=slightly agree
  • 6=agree
  • 7=strongly agree

____1. I have so much in life for which to be thankful.

____2. If I had to list everything that I felt grateful for, it would be a very long list.

____3. When I look at the world, I don’t see much for which to be grateful.*

____4. I am grateful to a wide variety of people.

____5. As I get older I find myself more able to appreciate the people, events, and situations that have been part of my life history.

____6. Long amounts of time can go by before I feel grateful to something or someone.*

*reverse scored items

Scoring Instructions:

  1. Add up your scores for items 1, 2, 4, and 5.
  2. Reverse your scores for items 3 and 6. That is, if you scored a “7,” give yourself a “1,” if you scored a “6,” give yourself a “2,” etc.
  3. Add the reversed scores for items 3 and 6 to the total from Step 1.This is your total GQ-6 score. This number should be between 6 and 42.

Interpretation:

  • 25th Percentile: a score below 35 (bottom quartile)
  • 50th Percentile: a score below 38 (bottom half)
  • 75th Percentile: a score of 41 (higher than 75%)
  • Top 13%: a score of 42

Receptive Mental State

Let’s start with preparing your mind, putting it into a learning receptive state, for some gratitude easy gratitude strategies that you can squeeze into your daily life. Here is a great little meditation by the incredible Dr. Depak Chopra. He knows a bit about calming our minds in the pursuit of wellness 😉


Attitude

Let’s now shift our state of mind and start creating an Attitude of Gratitude. Start doing things that shift your mindset. This is the one fundamental aspect of my approach to life that has guided me through every bump, barrier, setback, petty party, smack in the face, etc.

  • Journaling about things for which to be grateful
  • Thinking about someone for whom you are grateful
  • Writing/sending a letter to someone for whom you are grateful
  • Meditating on gratitude (present moment awareness)
  • Undertaking the “Count Your Blessings” exercise (at the end of the week, writing down three things for which you were grateful)
  • Practicing saying “thank you” in a sincere and meaningful way
  • Writing thank you notes
  • If religious, praying about your gratitudegratitufe-changes-everything

All of these practices force you to activate different areas of your brain than you normally do.Don’t believe me? Well…quick test, tell me 10 negative things about your life? Now tell me 10 positive things about your life? Which one was faster?!?! I know, the negative because it is a well worn “path” in your brain. You need to start doing some of the easy things above to start wearing down that “brain grass” in a new  direction. The positive 10 need to be just as fast 😉

Coping Skills

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Pull up a chair, start making plans to add healthy coping strategies to your life this coming year. Check out my Coping Strategies Handout that will get you started. I have provided the ideas, you need to provide the “get-up-and-go” attitude and start taking charge of your life. We don’t have to be a victim to stressful events 🙂


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Thank you so much for taking time to stop by my blog for a peek this year!

I feel so grateful that I have had this opportunity to share my passion and the years of wisdom with some pretty amazing people!


attitude-of-gratitude-thanks-to-self-service-data-prep-e1479403042856Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Stress! Seriously, You Still Around??!?

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Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

Ok, I am going to get briefly serious on y’all, [insert apology in advance ;)] because out-of-control stress can be dangerous to your mental, physical health and self-esteem. The upside, before you start to think this post is a complete bummer, is that stress is very manageable.

Back to bummer time [with a happy ending]


There was a time in my early twenties that I thought that I was not going to make it through. Literally, done. I won’t give all the boring details, but imagine feeling like you were in the midst of the worst time in your life. I was wildly overwhelmed and any rational thought ability had abandoned me. It seemed that no matter what I tried, the outcome felt predetermined to fail, always. I felt as though something was “stacked against me, that I wasn’t meant to feel happy, that is just not who I was, nor the life I had. I was seriously not in a good place. The reason that I am telling you this, is because this was a point in my life that I really understood the importance of “being present”, noticing and listening to the encouraging signs around me. Still have you with me?!? Maybe not such a bummer?!?

I was getting home from one of my 3 jobs, that made up a full time job so that I could pay my tuition. I was tired, feeling very despondent and so poor that I barely had enough food for supper that night. It had just snowed, and for anyonDarkest before Dawn.jpge from a cold climate, you know that this can make the world look surreal, calm and beautiful. In a tree, next to my apartment, was a extremely tiny, calm and very brave little white owl. This is an unusual and unexpected sight in the city. This little guy looked at me as I spoke, he was unfazed and his presence just calmed and filled me with foreign feeling of hope. This was so weird. So weird that it affected me viscerally (my whole body felt calm for hours). Two days later, my life seemed to shift in very profound ways, leading me on very welcomed path. My hard work, and pain, was actually worth it.

It was the inexplicable sense of calm I experienced in the presence of that cute little owl, that compelled me to look up the meaning of owls showing up. What I found was that owls cam be seen as messengers appearing to provide guidance in confusing times, they can be a  blessing (or a bad omen…I chose to ignored that!) and are often associated with the  Greek Goddess Athena, sympbolizng wisdom and prophecy. Since that moment in my life, I have kept that calming image as one of my “happy place” moments to remind me that it is important for me to “see like an owl” in my dark times, knowing that this dificult moment will pass like all others have. I have the ability to move through.

Ok, enough seriousness…I leave you with this advice…

Be present your life, be in the present moment fully, looking for signs, gathering the “happy place moments” to pull out later as mood altering tools. Ask yourself, in the moment, what is going well in my life?


Post #2 of the Stress Management Series

This is the second post in my stress management series. If you found this one first, check out last weeks so that you understand my “5 Areas of Stress Management”. I will be offering tips in all five areas over the next few weeks.

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Stress 101: Stress Knowledge

Distress vs Eustress

They both sound the same right?!? All bad.

Well, eustress and distress are related, like brothers, both affect our behaviour and quality of life, one in a good way and one, not so much.

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Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to get stuff done 
what what ?!?! you ask? Yes, there is good stress. Stress can be a motivator and provide incentive to get the job done. This stress is so good that some people really enjoy when they feel this way. I definitely do, and when I am in this “zone” I ride that wave, enjoy the state of “flow” and creativity shot that I get. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. Stress is only bad when it gets into the zone makes you feel anxious, depressed and burned out because it becomes intolerable and feels unmanageable. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision-making. So feeling motivated to keep on moving thought my five areas of stress resilience building?!?!


Self-Awareness

Emotional Self-Awareness is the ability to recognize your feelings and to differentiate between them, to know what you are feeling, and why, and to know what caused the feelings.

Emotional Self-Awareness Tip Sheet

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Receptive Mental State

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Seeing music as more than just a way to entertain and move our emotions, Jonathan recounts his own struggles with stress and anxiety, and explores the potential of sound as a healing force.


Attitude: Mindset

There is a new podcast series that I found that I absolutely love, “The Hidden Brain”.

It is described as “helping curious people understand the world, and themselves”. The one I recently listened to called “Embrace the Chaos” fits so well in the stress management area of Attitude, particularly setting a mindset that allows you to adjust, adapt and flourish even when you think things will be awful.

Check it out!

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Embrace the Chaos: Episode 53


Coping Skills

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Stress Relief Skill of the Day: Brain Dump

Collect all of those “worst-case-scenarios” that you have running free around your head. I know you have them, because you are human. You don’t want let those little pieces of illogical information running free around your mind and controlling your mood, so find them, label them, list them and then challenge them. Ask yourself the following:

  • Is what I am thinking really true?
  • What are the chances of this actually happening?
  • Have I made it through difficult times before?
  • What is a realistic way of thinking about this? (“I am really worried that I will fail” – don’t stop here! “but I know that I have 55% of the course still to do and I have been passing everything so far”).

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Yes, there will be difficult times in your life. It is important to accept that and start developing the knowledge, mental state, attitude and skills to navigate this extraordinary journey that you are on. I often tell my students/clients that I would never give advice that I have not done or are not currently applying in my life.

Go out and enjoy this extraordinary journey armed with skills!

 

shine


Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

Psychological Flexibility: Brain Yoga for Enhancing Motivation

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Psychological and emotional flexibility are consistently mentioned in resilience, emotion regulation and stress management research findings. The ability to implement plans B-Z beautifully illustrates the benefits of psychological and emotional flexibility. It is crucial to your physical and mental health. Seriously, this is an important yoga move! Start bending!

Wondering Where Your Motivation Went?!?

Motivation can be completely derailed when you feel/think that you have run out of options. You have tried EVERYTHING and NOTHING works. Well, from my experience there is ALWAYS another way of seeing something, doing something or experiencing something. Curious how to start learning how to be more psychologically and emotionally flexible?!?

Sure your are!

…or you can choose to stay stuck in a painful yoga position that makes your butt numb 😉


Psychological Flexibility is defined as “the ability to contact the present moment more fully as a conscious human being and to change, or persist in, behavior when doing so serves valued ends” (Biglan, Hayes, & Pistorello, 2008). What these researchers mean by ‘contacting the present more fully’ is being aware of, and in, the curegoalsnt moment; what you feel, what is happening, not the past or future, but now. Once you are there, using this awareness, to creatively brainstorm alternate solutions, methods, strategies and shift the plan. You can even persist in the face of adversity along the original planned path if that is working for you.

Emotional flexibility is super important because so many people get stuck in the Emotional Reasoning loop, thinking that “I feel like such a failure, so I must be”. Applying a bit of flexibility here enables people to experience and notice the full range of emotion, like happiness, sadness, shame or anger, but have the ability act on the emotion in a helpful way (challenge the feeling and ask if it is really true) and then leave that emotional experience balanced when it is time to move on.

When you become more flexible, you can start to choose your responses rather than automatically responding to a situation.

Psychological Flexibility + Emotional Flexibility = Flexible Methods


 

Getting Started:

Be the scientist observing your mind. Be curious.

  • Develop a Curious Mindset: A curious mindset allows you to observe your negative reactions without judgment and see what you can learn from them. Curiosity engages your sense of logic and inhibits emotional “gut” reScientist.jpgactions, allowing you to learn from these situations and identify intelligent next steps that lead you towards your goals.

 


Feelin’ Crafty?!?

sticky-notes

Motivation Activity for the Day

Grab some sticky notes and start gathering moments in your life where you had to push through, dust yourself off and then try again or made it through something really hard. Write Mindset Moments in the middle and start collecting these personal strength events on sticky notes. This create a great visual reminder your power and strength in the face of adversity.

The following are some writing prompts to get you started:

When I learned…

When I did…

When I overcame


When I developed the skill to…

When I pushed through and….


 

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Happy Flexible Friday!

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

 

Make Good Things Happen

Posted on Updated on

 

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Ok, today is the day that I am going to ask you to do some thing RADICAL!

be-radical

Fun Right?!?!

Well, yes and no, but a super important topic for anyone who wants to grow, heal and move forward in their life.

RADICAL ACCEPTANCE

Wait what?!?! yes, let’s focus on one of the most fundamental parts of emotion regulation, personal empowerment, self compassion and overall life balance.

“acceptance of life as it is, not as it is supposed to be; and the need to change, despite that reality and because of it” – Dr. Marsha Linehan

There are three parts to radical acceptance.

  1. The first part is accepting that reality is what it is.
  2. The second part is accepting that the event or situation causing you pain has a cause.
  3. The third part is accepting life can be worth living even with painful events in it.

Radical Acceptance is a part of a therapeutic approach called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) designed by the amazing psychologist, Dr. Marsha Linehan. This therapeutic approach was invented to help people, who were suffering terribly, learn to regulate their emotions and live a life worth living. Even though you may not be suffering, most people find themselves, at some point, in a state of wanting a life that is different that they are currently experiencing. Sometimes it is this wanting or wishing that lowers our self esteem and increases sadness or life dissatisfaction. The first step on the path to living a life that you want, is accepting the life that you currently have and then deciding what you are willing to work hard on to change.


I am not saying that this is easy. It is actually a very difficult practice, but from experience I can tell you that the result of your effort is astounding emotional freedom and personal empowerment.


Want to Get Started Radically Accepting?

Start with asking yourself the following questions about a recent difficult situation in your life:

Radical Acceptance: “So that happened…”

  1. What events led up to the distressing situation?Acceptance.jpg
  2. What role did you play in creating this situation?
  3. What role did other people / another person play in creating this situation?
  4. What did you have control of in this situation?
  5. What didn’t you have control of in this situation?
  6. What was your response to this situation?
  7. How did your response affect your own thoughts and feelings?
  8. How did your response affect the thoughts and feelings of other people?
  9. How could you have changed your response to this situation to lead to less suffering for yourself and others?
  10. How could this situation have occurred differently if you had decided to radically accept the situation?

Source: For more information about how to explore these questions: CLICK HEREill-be-fineSo when your not so fine, start working on some mindfulness and self compassion…

 


To live the best version of a life we first have to accept our life as it is and get out of the rut of wishing it was different, especially with things that are out of our control. Once you accept and acknowledge, we can then decide what WE want to do about it.

#MakeGoodThingsHappen

Take the time to work hard and design the best possible life for yourself. Be the main character in your story.


 

I would love to hear the good things that you are making happen in your life. Tweet me @SuccessMohawk and use #MakeGoodThingsHappen. Let’s share and learn from each other 🙂

Dr. Heather Drummond, EdD (Counselling Psychology)

eSuccess-Coach * Passionate Advocate for Student Success

heather.drummond@mohawkcollege.ca

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