Finding Calm in the Midst of Crisis
You may have heard the famous line from the poem “The Rainy Day” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It states, “Into each life a little Rain Must Fall.” At first glance this line appears sad and pessimistic. After all, we need to have a positive outlook in life. Thinking about the negative aspects of life cannot be good for you. Well, with my 40 plus years of living I have discovered something that I believe Mr. Longfellow wanted us to know. Sometimes Life Happens. There are moments in life when we are traveling down a smooth road with a bright sunny sky and then BOOM we turn the corner and potholes and storm clouds await. What should we do during those times? Should we become paralyzed by fear? Should we allow the stress of the situation overwhelm us? Should we avoid dealing with the issue and hope it clears up on its own? I believe there are three strategic areas of focus that can help us navigate the inevitable times of crisis we may face. These strategies are assessment, planning, and implementation.
- Assessment: The process of assessment involves questioning. It includes identifying what has occurred and the immediate impact made. It would seem that this would be an automatic response but often in crisis we find ourselves focusing on the event and not taking the time to objectively assess the damage done. Assessment is that moment to determine exactly what you are dealing with and thereby provide a focal point for immediate attention.
- Planning: The time of planning is the time in which we identify our coping skills. This can be a time of reflection in which we remember previous experiences with crisis and remind ourselves of positive coping strategies we developed. Some common coping strategies are prayer, meditation, speaking with a trusted confidant, focusing on what is good in our lives. Another part of planning is to identify your resources. There are often many resources at our disposal that we may not be aware of until a moment of crisis. Another important aspect of the planning phase is the development of goals and objectives. The development of goals and objectives contributes to regaining a sense of control.
- Implementation: As mentioned previously development of goals and objectives contributes to the sense of regaining control. The implementation of these goals and objectives should be realistic and attainable within a reasonable time period. For example, If your economy car was totaled and your goal is to replace it with the top of the line luxury vehicle the next day, you will be disappointed. This example is clearly silly but the purpose is clear. Your objective and goal should be measurable and contribute to your overall feeling of success. During a time of crisis when you feel you have been knocked down everything you do should be in effort to build yourself back up.
Crisis is inevitable. If you haven’t experienced it, keep living. Crisis doesn’t mean the end. It is an opportunity for you to develop resilience, patience, strength and wisdom.
Stay encouraged. Don’t give up!