Look for the best view
By by Dr. Michael Jarzombek, 157th Air Refueling Wing Director of Psychological Health
/ Published September 06, 2013
PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- In previous commentaries I have reminded everyone that when we attend to the basics in life such as diet, rest and exercise we fortify personal resilience, and are thus better equipped to handle the storms of life when they come along. I also expanded upon how we can best weather those storms when they strike. So, how do we deal with the overwhelming storm; the one that is highly distressing; the storm of storms? In this article I plan to explore severe hardship with an eye toward health, healing and acceptance of what is to be.
Sometimes there are no apparent solutions to the problems we face. A serious health condition might have befallen us or a loved one for example, or divorce might be the unavoidable outcome to marital difficulties. We might be drinking to excess. Perhaps we were dealt a significant setback at work, or that our job was lost. These are just a few examples of serious storms that can alter our life experience. What do we do when things seem darkest?
The best way to cope with the unthinkable is to utilize the skills that are hopefully already becoming incorporated in our life play book. Remember to measure reactions to adversity by taking time to think things through; breathe, gather information, explore resources, sleep on it. Prioritize the actions that are required to deal with the situation at hand so that a game plan can be developed. Try to get a vantage point that will enable a view of the big picture; never lose sight of the value of hope, humor and assistance in this process.
By utilizing these skills the best means by which to weather the storm are harnessed; strength and resilience. Strength and resilience contribute to healing and wellbeing which determine the speed by which we can move through and beyond hardship. For those problems that are devastating in nature, one other consideration cannot be underestimated; the importance of acceptance.
Acceptance quite simply is the understanding that what is to be will be; that we can move through these most difficult moments and survive them; that these difficulties might challenge the very rules or values that we live by, but that we can adjust and we will be happy once again. Along the way toward acceptance we might feel denial, (this is not happening to me), anger, (why is this happening to me), bargaining, (I will change the way I do things if this problem goes away) and depression (this feels awful.) These feelings are a normal part of grieving life's difficult moments. Acceptance usually follows one or all of these feelings, and is the primary means by which we survive profound hardship and begin the process of rebuilding our lives, which will be the subject of my next article.
Fortunately, most of the storms we face are of a less severe nature, but regardless of your storm's intensity, I remain available to support you.