Last week we covered how to establish personal readiness by implementing habits that keep your daily risk factors low and processing trauma to keep your coping threshold high. This establishes a wide gap in the middle that we call “readiness.” We really harped last week on the importance of keeping that readiness gap wide. Easier said than done, right? Don’t worry — in the next 3 blogs we will begin showing you how to establish personal readiness in your life. So let’s get started!
Readiness, Response & Recovery
There are three main steps to dealing with trauma: Readiness (pre-trauma), Response (during trauma) and Recovery (post-trauma). Easy enough? We prepare for life’s challenges and optimize happiness during the readiness phase. We focus on and handle traumatic situations during the response phase. Then we bounce (or sometimes crawl) back to the new normal and work towards finding happiness again during the recovery phase. Honestly, the greatest challenge comes in establishing a system of understanding for all three of these different life phases. We hope to highlight a systematic approach to preparing for, responding to and recovering from whatever life throws your way.
This Week’s Focus: Readiness
Lets start with Readiness! One never knows what tomorrow will bring. However, most of us are pretty in tune to whether or not we’re feeling overwhelmed right now. That overwhelmed feeling often comes from two main areas: unprocessed past challenges that lower your coping threshold and/or unmanaged daily tasks that raise your risk factors. In order to understand coping threshold, we want you to picture a container where you store all of the “stuff” that life throws at you. Most of us are pretty good at cramming the really bad stuff deep down inside so that we don’t have to face it again. The problem is that readiness becomes challenged when that container is full. If we keep trying to pack more stuff in there without emptying it, the container begins to overflow. A full storage container can crush your coping threshold, instantly lowering it into a zone that impacts your readiness.
On the flip side, allowing your risk factors to get away from you through poor mental, physical and organizational habits will have the opposite effect on that bottom line. Letting these things pile up can raise your risk factors to a point where they impede on your readiness.
HOW to Establish Personal Readiness
Ideally, you’d like to approach a traumatic situation from a position of optimized readiness. So how do you get there? Here are 4 questions that can help you to focus, right now, on optimizing your readiness (download the freebie to help organize your thoughts!):
#1 What are your habits?
The key here is balance. Here’s a good way to start. Make a list of all of the things that you’d like to take care of on a daily basis. Most likely, you’ll finish this list thinking, “there is no way I can get all of this done every day!” Makes you realize why it’s hard to stick to a new 1-hour per day workout routine, doesn’t it?! So begin by prioritizing. Is there anything that you can do once a week rather than every day? Pick out the 5 most important things that are left and make a morning routine out of them. That’s it! Start there. Keep it simple. Once you get that routine down, you can tweak and add to your routines later.
#2 Who is your person?
Depending on the challenge or trauma, sharing details about something challenging or traumatic should involve someone you trust. People often prefer to discuss things with a “peer,” or someone who has walked in their shoes and understands what they have been through. Who is that person or people for you? Take a minute to identify him/her/them. Some of you will come up with a name easily. Others will struggle. Consider why you have chosen this person and whether or not you truly feel comfortable going to them during difficult times. Do you have a different person for different areas of your life (i.e. home life, professional life, etc.)?
#3 What is your process?
No two people will respond to a challenge in the same way. Someone who is more experienced in dealing with trauma may have a more established process for dealing with it. Or they may be so overwhelmed by the things they’ve experienced that even the smallest traumatic event shuts them down completely. On the other hand, someone who has never experienced trauma in their lives might naturally handle trauma well, or be very uncomfortable with the idea of discussing difficult situations with friends or family. Just recognize that the overall goal for this process is to empty that container we talked about earlier. To shine a flashlight into some of those dark places and flush out anything that might be hiding in the corners. Emptying that container begins by simply talking with someone about what happened. How do you start the conversation? Avoid feelings and simply talk about the event. What did you hear, see, taste, touch and smell? You may find that there are some things in that container that you could never discuss with a friend or family worker. That’s totally fine! If that is the case, we’d recommend talking to a mental health professional. Only because the stuff with attached feelings of guilt or shame tends to make up more room in that container than it deserves. Talking about it with someone helps to clear it out of the container to make room for more stuff that brings happiness.
In the interest of keeping things simple, we’ll stop there for now! But before we go, we would like to ask you for one quick favor. Will you share your story with us? We would love to hear about your background and whether or not these three questions work for you. If you’d like to share your story, just comment on the blog, comment directly on our facebook post or email us through our website!
- Answer our 3 Readiness Questions by downloading the cheat sheet here!
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Here is the Link to Blog #1 for the original MtRG Video!