By Deborah Olson, M.A. LPC
We would all agree that part of the human experience is dealing with the unknowns that are lurking around the corner. Unfortunately, we cannot always predict these circumstances nor prepare for their arrival. Dealing with crisis can be stressful, exhausting, anxiety provoking and overwhelming. They are capable of completely tapping us out and making us depressed over time.
So, how can we navigate these waters and survive with the fewest battle scars? Follow these ABCs of crisis management to promote a faster return to total wellness.
Attitude. Adopt an attitude of gratitude in the midst of the crisis. Although this is not always easy, it is important to pause and identify the positives in a situation. By employing an attitude of gratitude, we accentuate the good, thus maintaining optimism while fighting off negativity.
Balance. Look at the negative event in a localized, limited and temporary manner, rather than in a global and forever framework. This preservation of equilibrium promotes feelings of empowerment so that the event does not color a person’s entire outlook and cause feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and despair.
Change. Reframe the negative situation by looking at it from different angles in which the “new normal” can be defined as having tangible, positive outcomes. Find that silver lining by looking at the crisis from a different perspective. Then, implement change to ensure more favorable results.
Here’s how it worked for me. My husband recently had an accident at work that resulted in a broken hip. Following total hip replacement surgery and weeks of recovery, he is doing well and has returned to work. However, the prior months at our house were anything but normal. None of us could have predicted this event and nobody saw it coming based on risk factors. In a flash, with one simple misstep, our lives were turned upside down.
This bizarre accident sent us into crisis mode and succeeded in creating havoc for my husband and our family. Things we had taken for granted, such as mobility, daily routine and a monthly paycheck, were gone in a heartbeat. It was time to implement the Crisis ABCs.
By adjusting our attitude, we discussed how the accident could have been worse. We were grateful to have found such a highly-skilled surgeon. We enjoyed time spent with our children who flew home for his hospital stay and recovery. With rehabilitation as a focus, we saw daily improvements and watched my husband get back on his feet quickly. We recognized this situation was temporary and that he would soon be fully healed. Best of all, he has chosen to capitalize on this opportunity by focusing on his health and improving his overall wellness. He has a new commitment to lose weight, exercise regularly and make lifestyle changes to get healthier.
In just eight weeks, we have seen how this accident has morphed into a new attitude about diet, exercise and making lasting lifestyle changes. Our hope is that long after the recent events become a faded memory on our life’s tapestry, my husband will be a new picture of health and wellness, enjoying all the things in life he loves most.
What we know to be a universal human experience is that “life happens” for all of us. It is not a matter of “if” a crisis is coming, but rather a matter of “when.” So, employing these ABCs to deal with stress, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, hopelessness and despair is paramount to promoting the healing process and achieving wellness, both physically and mentally.