Developing a Flexible Mindset When Uncertainty Reigns

MindsetHere we are in a persistent time of uncertainty and change. The months continue to go by in succession. One of the most needed things as we move forward is developing a flexible mindset in a time when uncertainty reigns. It’s always an asset, but now essential for our mental health.

What is a flexible mindset? It’s not being wishy washy or indecisive. It’s being able to bend without breaking. You can change your thinking to overcome obstacles and challenges without failing or breaking down. A flexible mindset allows you to explore more options. You can see multiple solutions to a problem or new situation and examine the impacts of each of them.

The situation of the past months of the pandemic have forced all of us to be flexible and make changes not necessarily of our own choice. Whether you see yourself as having a flexible mindset or not, you have had to respond and adapt to changing circumstances.

There are strategies to proactively develop that flexibility rather than be forced into it. Here are a few to consider as we move forward:

Embrace the Unknown. When an obstacle appears, think of this as an opportunity rather than a defeat. What could you learn from this, if not immediately then in the longer term? This is a reframing of your thoughts and automatic reactions. Try out some new ideas and look for the benefits rather than grudgingly complying with a solution imposed on you.

Let Go of Old Ways. These past months have interrupted our habits and routines in ways we could not have imagined. Our brains use the same neural pathways and connections over and over in our daily and weekly routines. It’s comfortable. Perhaps you are still feeling resentment over some specific changes that is preventing you from being open to new ways of doing things. Letting go of them opens you to being creative about current and future options. We may never to back to “normal” as we remember it.

See Obstacles as Opportunities. These times give us the opportunity to look at new possibilities that indeed can be better and healthier as we move forward. Even simple daily tasks might be done differently. Developing a flexible mindset means that you can try out things you’ve never done before. This can be applied to just about any situation. You might look at additional options for things that have been imposed upon you.

Recognize the Benefits of Developing a Flexible Mindset. As you go through this process be sure to recognize the impact on your life that developing a flexible mindset is having. You will likely feel more creative and confident in solving problems and situations you face in the future.

Our mindsets deeply affect how we handle life. If you would like to learn more, I recommend this book by Carol S. Dweck:  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success: https://amzn.to/32H90A2

 

A Thanksgiving Like No Other: Resources For the Celebration and Cultivating Gratitude

A Thanksgiving Like No OtherThanksgiving 2020 is a Thanksgiving like no other. In the midst of a wildfire of COVID-19 which has spread across the country, it is in the interest of ourselves and everyone else to take a pause. There will be another Thanksgiving. We will celebrate with our extended family and friends again. The risks of people being infected, getting sick and even dying are severe.

Let’s embrace this Thanksgiving like no other  by following the medical and local leadership advice and planning a celebration at home with only those in our immediate circle.

Last Thanksgiving I shared a collection of online resources to engage and entertain children and the whole family for the day and the entire weekend. There are great things to download and print, games, learning opportunities, recipes, and more. Plan for enjoyment:   https://carolbrusegar.com/thanksgiving-free-online-resources-entertain-family/

Through these past months of the pandemic, everyone has had their life disrupted in some ways. The severity of that impact has varied greatly. All of us feel loss of a variety of people and things. There’s a lot of pain and sadness, depression and anxiety. Many of us will find it more challenging to be thankful right now. Yet the very intention to identify, acknowledge and celebrate can be therapeutic in the midst of extraordinarily challenging times.

Gratitude is powerful. It can shift our thoughts and mindset and open us to more positives. It can inspire us to do things to enrich others’ lives. Expressing our gratitude to people who have enhanced our lives and supported us through difficult times helps both us and those to whom we communicate.

Adela Rubio describes 3 reasons that gratitude shifts our energy: It shifts your focus to the present moment, creates a new orientation, and establishes a indelible connection with Source. “Gratitude is a powerful transformation tool. It changes you and the world you live in!”  https://adelarubio.com/3-reasons-gratitude-shifts-energy/#

Perhaps there is no more important a time than this to structure a gratitude time into our lives. It can be as simple as having a small notebook or some paper clipped together where you write five things each day. As the days pass and you look back, you can see where you have been and what has touched you. Another approach, recommended by Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD and professor at the University of California Riverside, is a weekly gratitude exercise. Once a week, perhaps Sunday evening, reflect upon and write down five things for which you are grateful. For some, daily expression becomes boring and routine; weekly can be more meaningful.

Or you can take a more structured approach with prompts for you to write about each day (or less frequently but regularly). I offer you this free, directly downloadable 30-day Gratitude Journal to get started (or to resume a left-behind practice).  http://carolbrusegar.com/30daygratitudejournal

Z. Colette Edwards, MD, MBA has written a post that includes multiple aspects of gratitude. It was written this year and reflects our current reality in the midst of the pandemic.  Dr. Edwards is a physician and life/executive/wellness coach who blends traditional medical and integrative perspectives in her work.

Dr. Edwards includes a list of 20 Ways to Celebrate Gratitude which focuses on things we can do to express our gratitude to others, which has benefits for both ourselves and the recipients. For example, “Email or text notes or drawings to healthcare workers” or “Verbally thank the grocery store clerk who is stocking shelves non-stop or checking one customer out after another, and thus putting themselves at risk.” Here is the full post: https://peopletweaker.com/hcr-blog/gratitude-during-difficult-times/

Yes, it is a Thanksgiving like no other. Cultivating gratitude in yourself and encouraging it in others can be a powerful positive force now and for the weeks and months ahead.

Here’s a book with 105 short essays on gratitude. Each is written by a different author with a unique perspective and story. It’s a great thing to pick up and read an essay or two when you need a boost.  A Gift of Gratitude