By Miranda Massie on January 10, 2017
New Year’s resolutions. At this time of year in particular, people spend a fair amount of time thinking about them, recording them and typically either loving or hating them. Unfortunately, we can also become de-motivated or discouraged if we perceive ourselves as failing for not completing them.
I chose not to set any resolutions this year, at least not in the traditional sense. In an effort to better use by mental energy, I’m adopting a new philosophy for how I view the world. I’m hoping this new outlook will provide me with more time and energy to re-dedicate towards things that I love (cooking, family and friends, and creative pursuits).
I’m hopeful that this new outlook might resonate with others and so I am sharing it with you today!
The 3 As for Managing Your Mind and Your Energy
Accept: Begin by acknowledging and accepting that there are things beyond control, and then move on. Time spent worrying or being angry over things that you cannot change is time you could better spend elsewhere. Consciously recognize what you cannot control, perhaps even saying it out loud, to shift your focus elsewhere.
No amount of yelling, worrying or complaining will make that traffic move any faster.
Appreciate & Attempt: Next, take stock of the areas in your life where you have some influence. Where possible, attempt to manage these as best you can.
You may not have control over getting a cold but you can influence your eating and sleeping habits to heal faster.
Alter: Finally, turn your focus and energy to things that are within your realm of control. We have the ability to alter aspects of our lives and effect change. That is empowering knowledge.
Spend your time focused on who and what you can change (hint: look inwards, this is typically you!)
Whatever and whenever you decide to make changes in the New Year, I hope you will keep this perspective in mind. We all deserve to spend some of our time and energy focused on the things that bring us fulfillment and joy.
All my best,
3 A’s of Stress Management and Spheres of Influence (Adam Rollins, The Neutral Zone, 2014)
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Mindful Moments | Tagged accept, alter, appreciate, Change, Control, editorial, Energy, Focus, manage, mental health, mindset, Miranda Massie, new year, outlook, resolutions, Support, UBC | 2 Responses
By Miranda Massie on September 15, 2015
Welcome to September! The campus is once again a buzzing hive of activity, excitement and new beginnings.
Though not the start of a new calendar year, September marks the beginning of the new school year and brings with it a sense of refreshment and renewal. Unfortunately, this can often be coupled with high levels of stress, increased work related pressures, and, as one of my colleagues put it, a general sense of ‘fury’ across campus.
How do we cope?
What strategies can we use to get through this hectic time and remain healthy and well?
It is no secret that the last month has been a challenging one for several of us within the UBC community. There has been anxiety, flurries of questions and the stress of uncertainty. Add the increased stress of the start of the school year, longer commutes and never-ending coffee lineups and you have a recipe for burnout and negative attitudes.
September could not have arrived at a better time. This is our chance to stop and hit reset. It’s important for us to remember some key points:
- We have the power to control how we face the day.
- We hold the ability to approach situations in a different way.
- We can change our behaviour and interactions with others.
- We deserve this fresh start, as do our colleagues, students and loved ones.
UBC may not be new to me but it may be new to others. I want to keep in mind that what I have experienced is the past, and that every individual, student, colleague and community member deserves my very best this year. I have a unique opportunity to help others, to potentially impact their experience at UBC, and I want to have the energy and passion to do this when the chance arises.
Join me this month in hitting the reset button. Give yourself the gift of a fresh state of mind with which to enter the new school year and afford others around you the opportunity to experience this too.
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.”-T.S. Eliot
All my best,
By Miranda Massie on July 6, 2015
Welcome to July, folks! May I just say how excited I am that summer is officially upon us? Aside from the obvious perks that accompany this time of year, such as the weather and increasing opportunities to barbeque, it also signals the end of the K-12 school year!
My partner is a teacher, you see, and the month of June can be a tense one in our house. July arrives with a tremendous sigh of relief and relaxation that lasts for precisely 5.5 weeks, until preparations for September begin again.
On the last day of classes this year, my partner came home exhausted. It was grad prank day at school. This year, it involved furniture redecoration, lipstick portraits on the walls, fire alarms, water balloons, eggs, and exasperation! Needless to say my partner was tired and frustrated. In doing my best to play the role of empathetic supporter/cheerleader, I shared some recent thoughts I had been having about our understanding of control, and how a perceived lack of control can lead to some pretty complicated emotions.
Control is a funny thing. I say funny because it seems that in order to gain control, we must first learn to let it go.
It has been a process for me over the years to learn how unproductive it is to expend time and energy being angry and upset by situations I never had a hope of controlling in the first place.
So, what can we control? The short answer is: Ourselves. We have absolute control over our own behaviour, reactions, attitude and mindset. I love the diagram below because I feel it represents these ideas in such a clear way. There are things in life that matter. There are things in life that we have actual control over. Where these two circles overlap, is where we need to focus our energies.
Easier said than done.
How do we make this happen?
|Example: An increasing workload due to the vacation schedules of colleagues.|
|Emotions: Frustration, stress, anxiety, anger, resentment, hopelessness, excitement|
|Things that matter to me:
|Things I cannot control:
||Things I can control:
By focusing on the things that really matter to us and the things that can control, we train our brains to approach situations differently. We take ownership of a challenge and jump back in the driver’s seat with full control.
This month, if you find yourself becoming angry or frustrated with someone or something, I invite you to stop and take a pause. Are you expending your energy on something that is outside of your realm of control? If so, identify one or two things you can control, and start there. You might just find yourself with a brand new outlook and a fresh start to the day.
Enjoy the sunshine!
All my best,