The Only Constant Is Our Great Sense of Uncertainty – Scarsdale10583.com

Posted: August 29, 2020 at 7:54 am


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Wednesday, 26 August 2020 23:20 Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 23:29 Published: Wednesday, 26 August 2020 23:20 Wendy MacMillan Hits: 422

What a long, strange trip its been. Yes, it most certainly has and the words of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead have never rang more true. It began in March when our schools closed, followed quickly by a full-blown lockdown, and right as we started to feel confident about re-opening, hurricane force winds wreaked havoc in our community and beyond ...Life, to say the very least, has felt like a roller coaster. Through all the ups and downs, the one thing that seems to have remained constant is a great sense of uncertainty.

Not that any of us needs an explanation of just how uncertain times are, but take for example my sister who lives in a small town in Northern California. After much back and forth and months of planning by their district, last week my sister sent her son to school for his first day of in-person learning. By the end of that day however, the county closed all the schools because of a rising number of Covid cases in the area. This week, after she rearranged their home and schedules for virtual learning, my sister was informed that they needed to evacuate their house because of encroaching wildfires. After packing up and heading out for a few days, she is now safely back home and considers herself incredibly blessed, especially while so many others are in a far worse place.

I couldnt help but wonder, how is my sister managing to stay so positive in such a topsy turvy world? In her words, These times call for flexibility...and gratitude for the things that matter most. Indeed they do. But for some of us, remaining flexible and grateful in the face of stressful situations, is easier said than done. For many, a flexible state of mind is something that may need to be cultivated and practiced. So how does one go about cultivating flexibility? Read on for a few quick suggestions to start us on the right path.

One avenue to a more flexible attitude is through incorporating mindfulness into our daily schedules. Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, defines Mindfulness as paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. By practicing mindfulness we learn to focus on what is happening in the present moment rather than forming expectations of things to come or worrying about situations that took place in the past. In turn, mindfulness makes it easier for us to focus on, and adapt to the current state of affairs. Daily practice of mindfulness also helps to strengthen the part of our brain called the amygdala which is responsible for our Fight or Flight response. When we strengthen this area of our brains we are able to put a pause between the stimulus of a situation and our reaction to it. In other words, rather than reacting angrily when we hear bad news, mindfulness training helps us pause and choose how to respond rather than react with the Fight or Flight response our amygdalas encourage us to do. Moreover, practicing mindfulness helps us strengthen segments of our brain that allow us to choose to remain flexible and adapt to ever-changing circumstances. For more information about mindfulness and for some easy exercises to try today, please click here.

Another way to gain flexibility is to regularly challenge ourselves to see things from another perspective. Whether it is working to understand another persons point of view or trying to understand all the varying circumstances that led up to a particular situation. For instance, when we take a moment to contemplate why a person is behaving in a certain way rather than judging their behavior or reacting to their behavior, we begin to break down our own mental barriers and preconceived notions. When we begin to open our minds and our hearts, we can more readily adapt to ever changing conditions. Even if we are still upset by a given situation, trying to understand other perspectives, can help us soften our own rigid thinking and thus create space for more flexibility.

One last suggestion to encourage flexibility is to try practicing gratitude on a daily basis. As I have written about in another article for Scarsdale10583, gratitude is strongly linked to mental health and life satisfaction. But even more than that, when we look for things to be grateful for rather than focus on the negatives or the things that upset us, we begin to realize that no matter what life throws our way, there are always things to be thankful for. From giving thanks before meals to journaling about your daily blessings before bed, the great thing about this practice is that there are just so many ways to be grateful!

So as the topsy turvy world and all the uncertainty continues to whirl around us, maybe a little mindfulness, considering other perspectives, and practicing gratitude will help us to remain flexible, adaptable and to, as Mr. Garcia would say, Just keep on truckin."

Wendy MacMillan is a former teacher and a proud mom of two children. While her background is in psychology and education, Wendy was recently trained in mindfulness at Mindfulschools.org. She has long been passionate about wellness, and as an active member of the Scarsdale PTA, Wendy helped to bring mindfulness to her children's elementary school. In addition, Wendy helped establish and is an acting member of the school's Wellness Committee. For more information about mindfulness check out this site: mindfulschools.org or Watch the video of Jon Kabat-Zinn explaining what mindfulness is ... or contact Wendy MacMillan at wendymacmillan@gmail.com.

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The Only Constant Is Our Great Sense of Uncertainty - Scarsdale10583.com

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August 29th, 2020 at 7:54 am

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