Getting Your ZEN on when shit happens...ways to hit the reset button!
Have you ever seen the movie Forrest Gump? Regardless, if you want to remind yourself of what is good about humanity, pull up Netflix, pop up some corn, get your Goobers, and enjoy the show about a simple-minded man who truly lived an extraordinary life.
It is one of my favorite movies of all time. There are so many life lessons packed into the 2 hours and 22 minutes of film.
One of the most memorable scenes from the movie was when Forrest was running across America and he steps in a pile of dog crap, and there was a hippie who shouted, “Whoa man, you just ran through a big pile of dog shit!” to which Forrest replied, “It Happens.” The hippie dude said, “What, shit?” and Forrest said, “Sometimes.”
“IT” does happen sometimes. And now more than ever in our today's times. Whether at work or in our personal lives, we all have our stuff…pressures of meeting deadlines, the daily life grind with spouses, partners, kids, teenagers, etc. Life can be, at times, extremely challenging. Each and every day is like a box of chocolates, and in the words of Forrest Gump’s mama, “you never know what you're gonna get”.
Forrest’s world view was that when “IT” happened, he was not going to let whatever the roadblock or challenge was, prevent him from living his best life to become a college football star, decorated Vietnam Vet, table tennis champion, shrimp mogul extraordinaire, world-class long-distance runner, humanitarian and philanthropist.
What I admired most about Forrest was that he had an uncanny ability, perhaps due to his cognitive simplicity, to push forward through whatever the hardship, and if you’ve watched the movie, you understand that Forrest’s life was full of hardships. How could Forrest overcome everything life threw at him? From my perspective, he had a growth mindset and exceptional coping skills. People that have a mindset geared toward growth believe that adversity and setbacks are learning tools, and that anyone can be good at anything based on hard work and dedication. Growth minded people also put into play coping tactics that help them gain perspective, looking at the big picture.
A great book is Mindset by Carol Dweck, Ph.D. In her book she talks about 2 different states of the mind: Growth and Fixed. Growth minded people have an extreme ability to bounce back from adversity because they see adversity as a learning opportunity. People who operate under the fixed mindset work under the premise that it is hard to overcome adversity and failure defines who you are. People with a fixed mindset belief system have the tendency to dwell on the negative, which holds them back from positive change.
If you find yourself in the Fixed Mindset camp, great news, you can develop a growth mindset and implement actionable tactics to help you cope when “IT” happens.
Developing a Growth Mindset from Mindset by Carol Dweck, PhD
Accept your weaknesses and understand your limitations.
View challenges as opportunities. Facing adversity gives us the opportunity to grow personally and professionally.
IMPORTANT: Your brain has the ability to change throughout your life. Your brain is constantly changing and can be retrained and reorganized. Remember, if your brain is not fixed then the mind shouldn’t be fixed either. Fixed mindsets = limitations of our resiliency.
Cultivate a sense of purpose for your life. Set long-term goals and always keep the end goal in mind looking at the big picture.
Effective coping tactics when feeling too much “IT” and your need to hit the reset button.
Change the scenery. Remove yourself from the current situation/environment. Take time away from the “IT” that you are dealing with, and do something else; meditate, take a nap, read a book, take a walk, watch a movie (Forrest Gump recommended 😊).
Take note of the things you are grateful for right now. Whether it’s your health, family or just the fact that the sun will rise, focusing on what you have and are grateful for puts you in a different frame of mind and changes the way you think.
Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins and just makes you feel better!
Inhale and exhale. If you have a SmartWatch use the Breathe App. Breathing is a form of mindful meditation. When you inhale and exhale, you are grounding yourself, reducing stress and tension in your body.
Call a friend or use an Employee Assistance Program through your employer if they have one. Talking it out with someone who will not judge you or who is not close to the situation sometimes can make all difference in the world.
Journal it...your thoughts, issues, MOOD, write it down as a problem/challenge. Example: (The challenge is, I'm feeling overwhelmed right now...dealing with my moms illness, I'm really struggling to keep everything together). Problems and challenges can be addressed and worked toward a resolution. When you look at the problem or challenge written down, you can start working to solve it, and putting actionable plans to address it. It doesn’t have to be in a fancy journal either…post it notes, notebook, hand…whatever the mechanism, when we journal out our thoughts, seeing it on paper phrased as a problem/challenge, can sometimes make the problem/challenge more manageable.
Volunteer! By helping others, we are giving deeper purpose to our lives as we become socially connected to others that can benefit by what we have to offer. Studies show that people who are connected to others have a higher sense of physical and psychological well-being.
GET SOME SLEEP. Whether it’s a nap or you hit the rack, it is proven that getting enough sleep reduces stress and helps us cope better.
Bringing it in for the recap: Let’s face it…shit happens, and when the pile gets knee deep and you’ve got to put your boots on…remember to train your brain to develop a growth mindset. Embrace the Forrest Gump in yourself. When your box of chocolates is full of fruit and coconut creams remember the coping tactics to change your perspective. Our minds are powerful tools. You can do anything you set your mind to do. And a good lesson that has helped me in life...it’s important to remember the lens in which you view yourself is more important than the lens of how others view you. “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Life is short, live your dash and be inspired. xoxo -diana