Over the past few months we have all been forced into uncomfortable situations. Anxiety and depression have increased dramatically in people of all ages. Students were forced to learn online at home. Athletes needed to find creative ways to train and compete. Social distancing has led to new ways to connect with friends and family. Even masks are now part of everyday life. While we have all wished at some point for an end to this pandemic, it has forced us to change how we live life. We are constantly learning and moving forward. Without even realizing it we were adapting.
Adaption is defined as ‘’adjusting onself to different conditions or environments.’’ This concept has been essential to human survival for thousands of years. As a species we face an ever changing world, with new demands, new threats, but new tools at our disposal. As the new school year and sports season approaches, there are many unknowns in front of us. This will inevitably trigger further anxiety for everyone.
Despite new challenges we can all learn to adapt and cope with anxiety and navigate the world. But how do we do it? Below are tips and tricks (in no particular order) to help you adapt successfully.
Assess the situation, the stressor, the challenge or problem to be solved - This really means analyzing all the factors that are in play. Who is involved? What needs need to be fulfilled? What might get in the way? Look at every environmental or personal factors that impact you and the situation.
Accept the situation - when people become stressed or anxious negativity can set in. This inevitably leads to complaints. While this may help alleviate stress temporarily, long term it just fuels negative emotions. In order to adapt, we need to accept the situation we are in. When we do this we can prepare to move forward.
Be optimistic and take responsibility – this really goes along with accepting the situation. Optimism helps us keep a clear head, and begin the process of adapting. Responsibility helps with confidence building. We need to remind ourselves that ‘’I am able to control my choices or reactions, and not give the power to others’’. If you want to adapt, you have to believe it is even possible.
Learn from experiences, accept and grow from mistakes - throughout our lives we have successes and failures. We can dwell on the negative, or we can take a growth mindset in every situation whether it is positive or negative, and apply it to the new problem.
Be flexible and think creatively – while we can use past experience do not get stuck there. When feeling stressed many people just go back to the familiar responses of the past. They dig in with prior belief systems because they ‘’feel safe’’. Be flexible and open to new ideas. Think outside the box, be creative, and you may just stumble onto a solution or way of viewing the situation you may never have thought of.
Be kind to yourself and others - we recently discussed the importance of being kind to yourself and others given the unprecedented situation. Give yourself or others a break as you need a clear head or the support of others.
Find support – it is difficult to adapt alone. Find others around you who can give you emotional support, confidence, perspective, and ideas to apply to the problem at hand.
Assesses and accept your strengths and weaknesses – it is important to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. This awareness gives you direction of how you can adapt, the skills you can apply, approaches and processes to avoid, and where others can support you in the process. Acceptance makes this easier.
Manage emotions – it is important to use every skill you have to manage your emotions. Whatever has worked for you it is time to apply it. If you are overly emotional, adapting becomes more difficult. When our emotions are in control, we can think clearly.
Problem solve - use logic and apply many of the tips listed above to do it successfully. When we take a problem solving approach we can move forward. By problem solving, we can internalize the results of the situation into who we are as a person, and use it again in the future. It is not a stagnant process, it is ever changing, and symbolic of our growth.
As a society we have many challenges coming up over the next few months and we will be tested. Applying these tips on How To Adapt can greatly impact our level of success and. We encourage you to use them everyday so that you can achieve your Peak Mental Performance.
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