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What If the Worst Thing That Ever Happened to You Turned Out to be the Best Thing That Ever Happened?

A creative method to help build resilience and strength during this unprecedented time

By bbernard/ Shutterstock
By bbernard/ Shutterstock

Years ago, I lost a close friend of mine. I could barely contain my grief. And then in 2015, I lost my Dad to cancer. During these very difficult times, I walked a lot, I cried a lot, submersed myself in music, hosted a radio show, wrote and created all kinds of things.

We are all different in how we face life’s worst moments, but in challenging times like these, I do know this: we must take really good care of ourselves, be resilient and put our ‘busy’ schedules aside to focus on what really matter—prioritizing our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Easier said than done, especially those at home with small children, a sick spouse, elderly parents, etc. However, I suggest trying the “GTFO method.” Seriously, I do. Let me explain. 

I host a radio show called, Get the Funk Out! which led to a book called, GET THE FUNK OUT! %^&* Happens, What to Do Next! With the world in self-quarantine, anxious and stir crazy, there has never been a better time to focus on four things that help build resilience and strength. I call this the “GTFO Method.”  

GRATITUDE
THOUGHTFULNESS
FLOW, and
OPTIMISM

GRATITUDE
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, over 300 million students are staying home to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Teachers have had to rapidly switch to online learning and design distance learning within days. Now is the time to appreciate teachers more than ever. Take time to savor the goodness in your life, and the people affecting your happiness and well-being. Reach out and tell your family, friends and colleagues why they matter so much. Receiving a phone call means much more than a text or emoji.

THOUGHTFULNESS
Be compassionate, have empathy, do acts of kindness for others and yourself. Pick up the phone and check in on family, friends and neighbors. Everyone feels very isolated and being compassionate can bring a little light to someone’s day. 

There are days you might be anxious, stressed and overwhelmed. Treat yourself with love and kindness. Tune in to the four areas of self-care: your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Being cooped up in your house is hard (that’s an understatement!). Find time and a space to recharge. Be physically active and prioritize wellness routines like meditation, mindfulness and self-care. Don’t be shy about telling your family you need some down time to recharge. How you treat yourself impacts everything.

FLOW
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the co-founders in the field of positive psychology, was the first to research flow—the mental state of being in a zone, immersed in an activity that is challenging and enjoyable. Being in a state of flow increases your creativity and self-esteem, as well as your happiness and intrinsic motivation.

Finding your flow in life can be an incredible experience; it’s when you immerse yourself in something you enjoy for a long time, and time flies by—like playing an instrument, writing, painting, drawing or exercising. Every morning, I make sure I walk and then do something creative, like writing. Time slips by when I am in my zone. There are no distractions and my mind switches into vacation mode.

What kinds of things are you doing right now to experience flow? We are fortunate to be able to learn just about anything online; you can try new things or something you used to love to do or paint that dingy bedroom you had on your to-do list.

OPTIMISM
According to Psychology Today,
“Optimism is an attitude that can positively affect a person’s mental and physical health. Optimism can also help reduce a person’s stress and increase longevity.”

Our ability to handle life’s challenges is influenced by our level of Optimism. If you want to increase your positive outlook on life:

  • Savor life’s positive moments
  • Have meaning and purpose in your life 
  • Be present by practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Create health and wellness routines 

When you find yourself in a funk or facing another one of life’s challenges, remember 

GTFO:

GRATITUDE

THOUGHTFULNESS

FLOW

OPTIMISM

Be kind to yourself through these challenging times. Tune in to your life and all the positivity around you. I never realized how much I loved playing cards and board games with my family. The upside of self-quarantine is the quality time with the people in your home, a chance to learn something new, recharge and take care of yourself, or just savor a good long nap.

Remember, sometimes the worst thing to happen to you can turn out to be the best thing that ever happened.

www. janeanebernstein.com

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