Last year as part of my CPD I studied with neuroscientist Dr. Sarah MacKay, an Oxford Graduate, who has a passion for the widest group of people to understand Brain Health. My interest in neuroscience has grown over the last six years or so and started with my studying Conversational Intelligence®. All that I know and have read about uncertainty was confirmed. There is a bucket load of research that tells us that the brain does not like uncertainty.
And yet here we are in the midst of high levels of uncertainty about work, health, families, our future life etc. So how can we build our own resilience in times like these? The answer is both simply and profound – give your brain as much sense of certainty as possible.
I was touched by a colleague’s early post on social media written whilst sitting in an airport just as it was becoming obvious that flights would be grounded and travel would be grinding to a stop. As she sat there with all the uncertainties of future life, she decided to write a list of what she remained certain of. It was a very moving list and included things like, “I am certain I am loved”, “I am certain of my faith”, “I am certain this will pass”, and so the list went on.
There are two things I would suggest you do today for your own personal resilience and well-being. One of them has already been highlighted at an early stage of this Resilience Alphabet blog. If you haven’t already established a routine or pattern for your days, do so now. You will give yourself (and your brain) the sense of rhythm which it craves. And secondly, get pen and paper, find a quiet place and write down your personal “I remain certain…” list.
This picture was taken last year, and I love the expectation on the little faces looking at the beauty of the bright daffodils on a dark night. It is so symbolic of where we might be at the moment, looking for moments of brightness in times of uncertainty.
I have long been an advocate of the 10 minute holiday in a busy day, and if you are my client we may have talked about this. Many people will have cancelled, or be cancelling holidays in the next few months and so this post encourages you to be creative and write down as many things as you can think of that fits into the category of Four Minute Holidays and take one every single day.
This requires first and foremost intention and permission. Intention to loose myself for four minutes in something that brings me peace or joy, or that simply takes me out of myself and the current pressures for four minutes. And permission to disengage in order to do so. I’m going to give you some starters for 10, but hope you will populate the comments with many more ideas, which will allow us all to take a break regardless of the current demands.
Right now high levels of fear and uncertainty can ambush our imaginations. This is a positive way to reclaim our imagination if only for a short time! So here are some to get started…
1. Take four minutes to imagine the conversation of the characters in the photo
2. Seek out a visual image in your environment and simply go visit that place in your imagination
3. Sit by a window and feel the wind on your face
4. Listen to a favourite piece of music – and just be random and listen to something
5. Go and eat a piece of fruit with intention and attention to the smell, taste, texture, look and feel.
6. Draw a cartoon – no skills required!
7. Take pen and paper and just doodle
8. Take a walk round your home and look at the pictures on your wall
9. Grab a photo album and just have a look
10. Pick up a musical instrument and pretend you can play it!
GO PLAY – and let us know what you are planning to do or have done in the comments below. Really keen to hear lots of ideas on this one… stay safe.