What will you do to make 2016 a great year? How will you become the best version of yourself? What personal and professional goals/habits/intentions will set you off on the right path -- for greater resilience, efficacy, and fulfillment? I've put together 11 ideas to boost your personal and professional well-being in the year ahead.
The film is, on the surface, about a botched space mission that leaves Matt Damon stranded on Mars. It's also a film for anyone who's found themselves thousands of miles away from the life they'd planned. If you've lost a child, lost a spouse, survived a crime, been disabled, been diagnosed with a critical illness, you likely have had moments when you feel alone on a strange planet with no guarantee of making it back home.
On this day, the International Day of the Disappeared, I want to share my story. I was taken to the infamous Campo de Mayo. I knew then this meant torture and death. Compared to some, my time at Campo de Mayo was relatively short, four weeks -- that felt like four centuries. The next day the torture began and with it the test of my resilience. Again, memories are a maelstrom of images, sounds and smells: interrogation sessions, my head submerged in water or sewage, rats running amongst exhausted and tortured bodies, injections of "truth" serum, nights of rape.
I read a story online this week about a six-year-old boy named Jaden Hayes, who lost both his parents and decided to do something positive, rather than give in to his grief. When we're feeling sad or stressed or over-heated, we should remember Jaden Hayes, and be inspired to be our best self rather than our crankiest self.
It's okay to let your kids fall, so they can learn how it feels to get back up on their own. Failure in middle school or high school has a much less drastic effect on their long-term success than failure in their first job, when you're not there to help them. If you never let your kids fail, then they won't know how to innovate and grow.
When you think about resilience, you probably think of the ability to bounce back when faced with difficult or painful situations. You think about being able to carry on when you've encountered stress or loss, disappointment, frustration or tragedy. And that's all true. It's also, in my mind, closely associated with an attitude of empowerment.
The reality is that rebounding and finding your mojo once more after a significant setback, failure or loss involves a lot more than simply "shaking it off" no matter what Taylor Swift says. It takes some essential and necessary stages and actions that if missed will keep you stuck, and stop you from learning and growing from the experience, which no matter how unpleasant is a rich opportunity for personal growth.
Even though I've been clean and sober now for almost 18 years, without a doubt, I continue to move through life with the mind of an addict. For me, learning how to "soften into things" means learning how to quiet my ego, the presence that convinces me that in order to build myself up, I need to tear someone else down.
To make the most of your energy you need to know yourself. What people, places and situations give you energy and which ones take it away? In the same way that the successful sailor stops to feel the wind, you must feel your energy. What energizes each of us it is different and there are no right or wrong answers. What catches my sail might leave you stranded at the dock.
As young as Grade 3, kids are under pressure to wear the right clothes, like the right music, have the right friends and be cool. Often, that leads to stress and anxiety for youngsters. Well-intentioned parents often try too hard to prevent the bumps and scrapes of feelings as kids grow up, but one parenting expert says they're doing more harm than good.
I read recently that many people experience post-traumatic growth rather than post-traumatic stress after being impacted by traumatic events. I had heard of post-traumatic stress but post-traumatic growth was a new term to me. Apparently research has shown that this growth is not a result of the traumatic event itself, but the struggle of dealing with the realities of the trauma.
I am on a mission. My mission is to increase the messaging and information about positive mental health. I believe that the more we practice positive mental health, every day, the less chance there is that negative, debilitating, fateful thoughts, feelings or actions will transpire. There simply will not be room for those thoughts, feelings, and actions to take over.
The events in Newtown sparked a lot of discussion on gun control and the media's representation of children following violent events. However, as is the case with most well-covered human tragedies, mental health discourse was decidedly missing from the reporting. "Evil visited this community today," the Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy said following the shooting. Such words are not uncommon following acts of violence, but their prominence still made me cringe. I have to ask, whose "evil" are we talking about when we classify this tragedy as such?
Are you a glass half-full or glass half-empty type of person? Is your inclination to give up at the first roadblock on your path? When we don't view failure as a disaster but as a learning tool, it does become easier to accept the lesson and grow professionally and personally. Keeping your sense of humour is key. Believe it or not, there may be a time when you look back and can laugh at your foibles.