Television coverage is designed to enagage the viewer and can trigger unwelcome emotions, stress and fear.
I understand those triggers and watching the coverage of three hurricanes and the shooting last night in Las Vegas brings back a cold, naked feeling, when the world seemed scary and my ability to deny it is gone.
My sense of denial, the thing all of us need to get up and leave the house everyday was damaged when I had a massive heart attack at age 35 while pregnant with twins. In a matter of minutes, my world view changed. The world was no longer safe. I knew for certain bad things happen and suddenly the world was too scary.
For months, each day I had to talk myself into going out the door, living life despite my fear. While I was pretty good at it, I felt alone in the struggle. Then came September 11, 2001, and the world became scary for the entire nation. I felt a guilty sense of relief. Everyone felt like I had for months – scared. It was suddenly okay to talk about how to cope with fear publicly. I was relieved to know others felt scared too, and my coping strategies seemed to help them.
Today it is a good thing to reflect on how life can change in a matter of minutes. While it is scary to be reminded of how it feels when your denial is torn away, it is also good to be thankful for resilience.
For those who are triggered by recent events, emotions may be conflicting:
Remember, it is okay to feel whatever you feel. Saying, “I shouldn’t feel like this,” doesn’t allow you to process your feelings. Feel it, name it, and by doing so, cope. Stress and anger are emotions that often defy logic. Yes, it’s been more than a decade, but when triggered, the fear can feel just as fresh. Your body’s reaction to stress is instinctual, and often doesn’t make sense. A cold flush, racing heart, or upset stomach is just you body’s way of processing the stress. Pay attention to physical and emotional signals, and be kind to yourself.
Sometimes simply reminding yourself, “It’s going to be okay,” will be enough. If it isn’t remember:
If you cut yourself deeply, there would be a scar. Sometimes that scar will get irritated. This is a wound too – you just don’t see the blood. It is okay to reach out. Talk to someone you trust. It’s okay to seek help from a professional, or to find someone who has experienced something similar. Get what you need.
One of my most helpful coping strategies is to “what if” a situation that scares me. To some it may see morbid – or as if I’m dwelling on the negative – but I need to think through all the things that could go wrong and figure out what I’d do. Upon entering a new place, I quickly scan for AED equipment (used to restart a heart). When traveling, I know where the nearest hospital with a heart center is located. This makes me feel more secure. I don’t want my daughters to be held back by my fear. Whenever they go off for a school event or new adventure I have to “what if” though the possible dangers in my head, think about what is likely to happen, talk to them about reasonable safety measures (take your phone, stay with the group – not to scare them, but to make sure they are safe) and talk myself into letting go. As they approach being drivers, this is a more common internal conversation! Sometimes I need to talk about my fears with my husband, do a reality check, to get past my fear. Being afraid isn’t bad, letting fear stop you, or the people you love, from living fully is a problem. Talk it through, get help if you need it, and find a way to “what if” past your fear in a situation and move forward.
Not to be all, “laughter is the best medicine” – but the endorphins released when you laugh truly help restore your ability to cope with fear and stress. Finding humor in a stressful situation is an excellent way to cope. Seeking out humor when you are feeling sad, fearful, stressed, or depressed is essential. Watch a funny video or movie, talk to a witty friend, read something to make you laugh and take advantage of the endorphins. One of my favorite videos makes me laugh every time. Enjoy:
Eliz presented a stress management program for patients with Atrial Fibrillation at the Get In Rhythm. Stay In Rhythm Conference.
She shared strategies to protect yourself from stress during periods or high stress, crisis, or in the case of Afib, chronic uncertainty. The program is based on her research on job stress.
Often the key to reducing stress is to mitigate stressors by changing the way we feel about them. In many ways, it is a cost-benefit analysis. Is the end result worth the chaos?
For the next eight weeks, I’ll be running my very own stress management in chaos experiment.
The chaos is the result of a construction project happening 20 feet from my office door. My office is located in our home, upstairs next to the master bedroom. Yesterday, an incredible team demolished the master bathroom in preparation for our remodeling project.
In the scheme of all things, eight weeks of noise and people working 20 feet from my office door isn’t a crisis. It is inconvenient. However, I can already tell the distraction factor is going to be large.
However, the inconvenience and interruptions are far outweighed by the excitement about the renovation.
The cost of the distraction from marketing and the work to land and prepare for speaking engagements is worth having a functional and beautiful new bathroom.
This cost-benefit analysis is helpful during change and periods of high stress. For example, in the retail “busy season” long hours and demanding customers are offset by the majority of profit for the year. For people facing surgery, the promise of improved function and quality of life offsets the uncertainty and pain.
It can be hard, in the moment, to remember the end goal. Keeping the focus on the benefits lowers the stress of the experience. Reminders of the importance of the end goal and celebrating the progress towards the goal are great ways to reduce stress.
How do you work in chaos? What do you do to keep the focus on the benefits of the end goal?
Thanks to the great people at Paul Davis for their friendly, clean, and professional work.
The pace of change in online marketing, advocacy, and fundraising is taxing. Non-profits and associations are finding it harder and harder to have their messages heard.
According to a new study from M+R Benchmarks it takes 2000 emails to land one donation. For every 1000 emails, non-profits receive $36.
Does that mean you should stop sending emails?
Probably not. Email is still an essential part of reaching members and donors, but lists must be nurtured and email efforts must be combined with other digital marketing efforts. Here are some key insights from the report:
Read the full report and use M+R Benchmarks cool tool to benchmark your digital marketing efforts here: http://mrbenchmarks.com/
Recently Eliz keynoted the Biz Times Wellness Summit and facilitated roundtable discussions about “What’s Missing In Your Wellness Program” with HR professionals, CEOs, and wellness providers. These discussions resulted in insights on challenges facing employers and best practices beneficial to anyone managing an employee wellness program.
One of the themes of the Summit was mental health and addiction. This theme carried through to the roundtable discussion as we addressed how to overcome stigma to supply mental health resources. Two insights in this area include:
Many of the companies attending the summit struggle with engaging more than 30 to 40 percent of their employees in their wellness programs. Three insights from the roundtables include:
As Eliz’s keynote demonstrated, often the largest source of stress is the work environment. Offering yoga at lunch or access to cooking classes can’t address this problem. Best practices from the group for addressing negative work environments include:
Undergoing change often creates stress in a work environment. Addressing the change head-on is often essential before progress on wellness initiatives can be made. Insights from the roundtables include:
Many of the attendees came from smaller organizations searching for ways to integrate a wellness program. Best practices included:
The Biz Times Wellness Summit Roundtables were a wealth of wisdom and lively conversation. For more information on Eliz Greene’s Employee Wellness programs and Job Stress Research visit www.ElizGreene.com/Wellness/