November 2022 – Welcome to Fall

Welcome to fall and the season of adaptation
The world is changing and we are reminded every day in the media of the changes and concerns about our futures.   How do we navigate this and be able to stay grounded and regulated.  Grounded means that our feet are firmly planted on the ground. We feel steady, solid, and able to adapt to changes that are occurring around us, while at the same time we feel able and capable of functioning with awareness and purpose.  

Regulated means that we are able to think through problems, ask for some time, or simply know what to do in the moment we need to make a change.  Some of us are more prone to pivoting than others that feel the internal clock and rely on predictable reliable situations in order to feel steady and even.

It is a balance to achieve to produce a product or function in a predictable, conforming way that is expected, while at the same time adjusting to the changes in supply, shipping, machinery, co-worker relationships, home life stressors, rising costs in all aspects of life and maintaining a standard of living that arose from a different set of circumstances. 

Cultures have managed a changing world since time of civilization began through the practice of customs, celebrations, and rituals that remind of us the ways we have come to rely on that make us feel that no matter what is going on around us we can rely on these customs and ways that always work to regain our balance.  

In this time of the modern era it seems that those customs and rituals have changed greatly and people and customs that we used to count on are now not the same.  

At our places or work, things can be kept routine, and clear expectations stated.   However, where stress really impacts our abilities to adapt to the current information is with our expectations of ourselves and others. 

For example:   A person raised in an environment of strictness, fear, and strong consequences for acting out of line with those strong expectations, may decide in their own family that they do not want to put fear into their children. They want to give them the things that they didn’t have in their own lives, freedom to choose, a softer consequence, a conversation about what is happening.  

However, that same parent also has pre -programmed expectations of that this softer approach will yield the same results as their own upbringing, like appreciation expressed for this softer life, helping out, keeping a clean room etc.   When this doesn’t happen organically the parent may be confused and frustrated that this new parenting situation isn’t working, because of the tasks being measured. 

The most practical way to manage this kind of situation is to use our own minds to change our expectations of our situations.  There is a saying that expectations are pre-meditated resentments.

We expect something to happen, it doesn’t happen, and our minds are stuck on the disappointment and frustration of that thing not happening in the way we thought it should.    When we face this situation as it happens over and over again in a changing world, we can change or reframe our thoughts about those expectations.   One simple way is to change the word should to could.   You should clean your room, becomes you could clean your room. 

In this simple shift, it opens up choice and freedom, where there was pressure before.   When we feel free to choose we have more energy to do that thing that we know ultimately is helpful.  When we are should upon, we feel restriction and use some of our energy to navigate feelings of being controlled as our expectations of being an adult in this culture is that we are free to choose.   Right away when someone says “You should …” because of our cultural norms we may feel resistance to that notion, even though we also know that we have to do that thing.  

If we hear from another “you should …. “   We can adjust it in our minds to “I could do that thing”  

When we give our minds the idea of choice, everything settles down and we can use that energy to focus in on doing the task required.

We can use the same tool to motivate ourselves to do the practices that we know will keep us steady and grounded.   I should go to the gym, can be said to the self as “I could go to the gym” with the freedom to choose and not put pressure and expectation upon myself I am motivated to go to the gym. 

If I leave it as I should, then I might feel the inner rebel come out and resist doing that and feel I don’t want to.    This is one simple example of changing the way we think about things to help us stay motivated and energetic to complete the practices in our lives that keep us healthy and well despite the stressors going on around us. 

Other reframes or ideas that can help alleviate mental stress with change, are simple reminders of I didn’t expect that and I am doing my best to adjust to this.  Go easy on yourselves then we will go easy on each other, this ultimately improves our lives and productivity.  

As a support system available to you, if you find that life has become overwhelming and interferes with your day to day functioning, please reach out to us so that we can help support the navigation of this interesting and dynamic life.