By Stefanos Sifandos
I am going to share with you 3 things you can immediately do to support yourself during times of difficulty. And before I do that, lets briefly look at how we generally deal with challenges. When we are mentally strong and integrated in our being – mind, body, heart, spirit and relationships we function at a higher level with far less stress and tension.
In times of challenge, we often revert back to old coping strategies that we developed during our formative and developmental years linked to keeping safe and survival. As adults, however we are not necessarily in that perceived danger that we once thought we were and therefore those old strategies are not necessarily effective as they once were at keeping us safe.
If anything, they bring us more anxiety. We then get caught up in this unconscious and unaware loop of dealing with challenge (such as COVID19, isolation and so much uncertainty) that we bring more stress in to our lives because those coping strategies that once worked, really don’t add much value to our lives in the present.
The issue is we are addicted to the pattern and it becomes our norm, our go to. An example may be that your two-year-old child is screaming and is uncomfortable and as a child yourself, hearing loud noises you would hide under your bed. Now whilst you’re not going to do that now, your go to strategy is to “run away” or leave the challenge or discomfort. This won’t work though because you have a child that requires attention. So, you experience inner conflict, which leads to internal frustration and you not being as effective at soothing your child.
Another example could be that when you experience uncertainty and fear you dig yourself in to your work. Well, in current times where so many have lost their job or working environments have changed perhaps you don’t have this option, so having this as a go to strategy is not viable. What do you do? Sit with it? Seek help around it? You could be feeling a great deal of discomfort and anxiety now… Change is knocking at your door.
Making changes within ourselves requires attention to the issue, awareness around your own mindset and emotional state, a willingness to transform and support from professionals or new perspectives from trusted sources to help us see that our way is not the most effective and is perhaps grounded in fear and old ways.
What this article is speaking to is creating a set of habits that are healthy that will help you adapt and be a healthier individual for yourself and your loved ones. Lets dive in!
Routines & structure
We all need routines. They ground us, they help us feel safe by bringing certainty in to lives. In doing so, we have something healthy to focus on, however! Our routines need to be healthy also. Here is an example of my routines. And remember, our evening routines set us up for our morning routines.
Stillness and breathwork practice
Training and movement
Ready to serve and give to the world
30min before bed devices and lights off
Light reading or introspection
Go to bed between 10.15-11pm
Routines and structure are crucial in keeping us grounded and on track and they feel good and help others either get on board with our routines or work around our routines.
You may be thinking, “WTF are you thinking, we are challenged enough”. Yes… AND! We need to challenge ourselves, deliberate and within what is in our control. You see, this type of challenge builds confidence and helps us prepare for when external challenge is thrown upon us and we are unsure of what to do. We now have a reference point for growth.
Experiencing hardship and moving through it and then reflecting on it diligently (this is the secret actually), and acknowledging how you felt, what transpired and how you moved through the difficulty can encourage confidence, courage and prowess in your being.
An example of this is learning a new skill, such as playing the guitar OR high volume kettlebell training, something I regularly incorporate in my training. High volume snatches, squats, swings and presses. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, as long as your form is in integrity and you are challenging yourself to new heights often and growing, so is your confidence.
Yes! Connect to nature as often as you can. This will create spaciousness in your psyche and help you feel better about yourself and life. Nature has a capacity to help us feel grounded. When you feel grounded, you will be able to deal with challenges and pain at a more tolerable level.
Spending time in stillness and in silence in nature helps recalibrate your mind and thoughts. You feel calmer and from this place make sounder decisions and empowered choices as to how you will choose to deal with challenges. Now, you will have a sharper mental edge and feel more confident in your entire being!
Stefanos is a trained educator and relationships expert with a background in behavioral science. He is passionate about leading people to closer to their highest potential and each other.
Stefanos’ philosophy merges the best of eastern and western methodologies to promote spiritual balance and empower people in life and love. From trauma release to navigating the murky waters of modern masculinity, to helping women understand the men in their lives, he helps people escape negative patterns and cultivate a positive sense of self. Stefanos has worked with thousands of men and women from all walks of life; special forces soldiers, Olympic gold medalists, elite fighters, and everyday people have relied on him to restructure and reframe their relationships with themselves and their loved ones.