Think Win-Win

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Habit number four in the 7 Habits of Highly Successful People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey is Think Win-Win. This may be the most difficult habit to do and to write about in our current climate.

Think Win-Win is about cooperation. It is about each person having mutual benefit. Agreements are made to support mutual benefit to both sides.

As I was contemplating what I would write, I could not help but think of today’s climate of very rigid sides of issues. It seems that many feel that any cooperation is unacceptable. It appears that many feel that mutual benefit is not possible.

In our current climate it seems that many feel there must be a single winner – one viewpoint must win without consideration of any other point of view. And this is on ALL sides of the issues. There is no win-win in the conversations I have heard lately.

To think win-win, a person needs these three characteristics:

  1. Integrity: Standing by your true feelings, values, and commitments.
  2. Maturity: Being able to express your feelings and ideas with courage AND consideration for the ideas and feelings of others.
  3. Abundance Thinking: Believing that there is enough for everyone.

In the second characteristic, consideration for the ideas and feelings of others is where I think in our current climate we struggle. Tolerance is a word that many use quite freely. Many claim to be tolerant of all people, all views, all beliefs, however, some of those very same people are intolerant of any view different than their own.

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Meaning, you cannot have it both ways. If you claim to be all tolerant, then you must actually be able to consider the ideas and feelings of others with maturity and courage and believing that if everyone has some mutual benefit it makes for a happier society.

Unfortunately, our society has become a win at all costs and make sure the other person loses endeavor. There is no mutual benefit, only power and domination of singular viewpoints or nothing. This results in everyone being the loser resulting in distrust and resentment.

You can apply the think win-win habit to every aspect of your life. In your work life, in your relationships, in your family, in every aspect where mutual agreements are necessary and beneficial.

This habit can be very difficult to implement. It can be very hard to let go of the idea that if someone else wins you lose. With mutually beneficial agreements and courageous, empathetic discussion, both parties can win and perhaps reach a deeper understanding, peace, and happiness.

“In the long run, if it isn’t a win for both of us, we both lose. That’s why win-win is the only real alternative in interdependent realities.” ~ Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Growth Is Painful

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Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Growth is painful. Change, transition, metamorphosis, becoming can all be painful. Moving from who you were to who you want to be can be uncomfortable for you and for others. But growth is the only way to survive and thrive.

Anything that remains stagnant or stuck in place will die eventually. If we remain as we have always been doing the same things reacting in the same ways, we will never grow. And we will certainly never thrive.

If you planted a seed and it stayed in the soil as a seed, eventually it would decay and die in the soil. If you stay in the same place of trauma responses, anxiety, depression, anger – you will not grow, you will not thrive.

But growth is uncomfortable. It causes us to change our responses and this causes others to respond to us differently. Some will respond with encouragement and kindness while others will respond with anger and blame because we are no longer doing what they want us to do.

Growth is painful because it may cause you to lose relationships that are toxic and you may even be alone, for a while. Growth is painful because it takes time and energy to transform ourselves into something new.

Growth is painful because it may cause you changes in where and how you live, where you work, what your goals are, and the things you have to let go of in order to grow. Growth can be scary and yet, it is also beautiful.

To truly thrive, growth is a continual process. Always changing, always learning, always becoming the person you want to be, the person that makes you happy.

In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. ~ Abraham Maslow

Until next time,
Deborah

Informed Versus Overloaded

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I have written about self-care a lot over the years as I feel it is one of the most important things we can do to manage our mental health. Sometimes our self-care does not always include managing the amount of information we take in about what is happening in our society.

In times of crisis, the amount of information we can expose ourselves to is seemingly unlimited. Every news outlet, social media platform, radio, television, anything that can contain information is running nonstop 24 hours a day seven days a week. There is no end to the continuous river of information.

While we need to have some information to be aware of what is happening around us, overload is something we choose to engage in. We can read a single article about an event or we can read hours worth of articles about the same event from multiple sources.

We choose how much of the information we consume. And how we choose determines how much of the information consumes our mental health.

Some days, consuming any information may not be the best self-care. There are some days where we are better off not being informed at that moment about all the crises surrounding us. Sometimes, self-care is choosing not to be informed at that moment. And that is okay.

If we do choose to be informed, monitoring our intake is vitally important. Overloading ourselves with too much information can result in emotional and physical symptoms.

Too much information can result in sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety that can translate into headaches, fatigue, insomnia, nightmares, hypervigilance and more. We can be short tempered with others or oppositely we can want to withdraw and isolate ourselves to escape.

We have to be deliberate in our management of the information we consume. We must set limits for our time spent in consumption of this information. It can be difficult when every screen, broadcast, and radio program have more of this same information we are trying to limit.

Then perhaps we need to separate ourselves from these sources of information. Having information free days can enormously benefit your mental health especially in times of crisis.

Making sure that you are informed but not overloaded in this age of unending information availability is vital to your mental health.

Until next time,
Deborah

The Anxiety Of Reopening

woman in gray coat wearing white face mask

Throughout the Covid-19 virus crisis, anxiety has been a part of the lives of many. Even with the shut down orders in most states, many people are still anxious about their own health or the health of friends and loved ones.

People have been anxious about their education as schools are closed. More have been anxious about their jobs as employment has also been shut down for many people. Still others are anxious about loss of income and paying their bills.

There has been anxiety over supplies such as toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Anxiety over relationships as being at home with others all the time can be very stressful and in some cases even dangerous.

Some states are now beginning phased reopening. Some businesses are being allowed to reopen with guidelines. People are starting to come out of their houses in much greater numbers. The traffic in stores is increasing daily. Some people are being allowed to go back to work.

This brings fresh anxiety to many people. Will it be safe to go out? Will my family and friends be safe if they go out or if I go out and come back to them? Will I be protected in my work environment? Will reopening cause cases of the virus to go up?

All of these things are unknowns.

As so much of this virus is, unknowns are a huge part of this crisis. From the symptoms to when will things get back to “normal”. No one has all the answers and in some cases they have no answers at all.

This is all very difficult for humans. We do not enjoy unknowns. We want answers. We want to know. When this is not possible we get anxious. Reopening is just the latest in a long line of unknowns that can cause anxiety during this crisis.

So what can we do? Concentrate on what we do know, however little that might be. Concentrate on what is going on in our lives right now. Are we going back to work? How will that be managed? What can we do if we do not feel safe going back to work?

Concentrate on what we know right now for our friends and family. Are they healthy? How can they continue to be protected?

Stay focused on what is going on in the right now moment. Not on what you do not know and what no one can give you answers to.

You can also work to lower your response to anxiety. Meditation, deep breathing, exercise, journaling, hobbies, and other forms of self-care to continually train your mind and body to relax. Let go of negative or anxious thoughts by writing them or practicing the cloud technique of watching them float by and replacing them with positive or relaxing thoughts.

In this new world of unknowns the possibly of anxiousness seems to be lurking everywhere. We can work to avoid giving in to it and allowing it to overtake our emotions. We can’t have all the answers, but we can practice staying in the present moment with what we do know.