With resilience through difficult times

Let's face it: Although current events have brought many everyday processes to hold, these times feel pretty stressful, don’t they? Sometimes we feel really bad and we don't exactly know why. For many it is difficult to understand where these feelings originate.

"Stress is always a decision. You often forget that you can decide whether or not to be stressed by a situation."

It is the way we experience outside impulses that makes us feel stressed. When we feel stressed, we place ourselves into a victim's role and we give away our power. This costs unnecessary energy and can be harmful in the long run. Understanding what is really going on in our minds, can help us to proactively break free of this negative spiral, resulting in a positive effect on our mind and body.

Dr. Stefano Levi helps people from all walks of life to overcome their own barriers and helps them achieve their personal or professional goals. He works with leaders in different fields, business owners and corporate managers. Before becoming a coach, he worked as a research scientist, a photographer and award-winning filmmaker and as founder and managing director of a marketing and communication agency (Charicomm.org). Social commitment and the wish of creating an impact has always been central to all of his activities during the last decade.

As part of his Live-Group-Coaching "Leading through difficult times", Levi teaches participants strategies for coping with stress and talks to them about their personal hurdles. This offer is exclusively for our residents of THE FIZZ!

Okay, how does it work?

According to Levi, there are 4 elements that are essential to increasing our own resilience, and everyone can benefit from it: Understanding, Strategies, Meaning and Support Network.

1. Understanding

In order to free ourselves from a negative mindset, we need a better understanding how our mind works in the first place: What happens in my body when I am stressed? Why do I feel fear? What is in my control? What isn't?

Our oldest part of the brain, the so called "reptilian brain", is primarily responsible for maintaining us alive and triggers responses accordingly. 100,000 years ago, during life-threatening situations, it was vital for our survival to have appropriate responses within fractions of a second: "Fight or flight or freeze" are typical reactions triggered by the reptilian brain. They not rational decisions, but are driven by instinct. Nowadays, we are rarely hunted by sabre-toothed tigers; the role of the "predator" is now taken over by our superiors, our partners or for many right now the Coronavirus emergency. Our reptilian brain though still triggers the same type of reactions, but our way of living and the actual threads are no longer the same. Understanding how our brain works, learning about the mind-body connection and training our ability to appropriately respond to external stimuli helps us to better deal with stress, without having the impression of losing control.

2. Strategies

To be able to better deal with stressful situations, strategies can be learned and trained. Resilience is the innate ability we all have to be resistant in the face of adversity.

Resilience is the one skill that helps up to stand up after we've fallen.

Levi teaches effective strategies and on how to calm your thoughts and control our emotions, through simple breathing exercises or how seeing things from a different perspective can be very liberating.

Simple exercises such as the "Superman pose", in which we actively change our posture have the ability to influence strongly our emotions and thoughts, bringing us in a more positive mood. After all, mood has an effect on posture – and vice versa.

Photo by Cody Black on Unsplash

Similarly, changing our focus and looking at things from a different perspective can be another effective way of dealing with stress. Where focus goes, energy flows. This is why by engaging in something that gives us pleasure, e.g. listening to music, cooking something delicious, or going for a run, can be a very effective help towards acquiring a more positive mindset.

Focusing on what we can do rather on what we can't do makes all the difference! And we are all capable to create a "toolbox" of strategies that can be utilized when needed.

3. Find Meaning

Scientific studies have shown that the ability of overcoming hardship is tightly linked to our ability to find meaning. A beautiful example is described in "A man's search for meaning" by Austrian neurologist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl. The meaning of life according to Viktor Frankl lies in finding a purpose and taking responsibility for ourselves and other human beings. By having a clear “why”, we can face all the “how” questions of life.

During the Live-Group-Coaching "Leading through difficult times", Dr. Levi invites the participants to find their own meaning during the corona crisis: Who do I want to be during this time of crisis? Can I find a meaning for myself, that will make me progress and make me a better person? Is there any benefit in not feeling good?

Finally, 4: Building our own Support Network

Human beings are social beings. This is why the imposed isolation we are all currently experiencing can be very stressful. According to Dr. Levi, supporting others and being supported by others is equally important and beneficial, but how many of us have an effective "support network" we can rely on? We often forget that our own very personal struggles, the ones we have overcome in the past, can be an effective "survival manual" to many who find themselves in a similar situation. This is when sharing in group comes into play. Sharing with like-minded people is an important part of Stefano Levi's group coaching session. Participants are matched in pairs after the session - if they want to - and can create new connections to the other participants, who could become part of their personal support network.

Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

Right now is a good time to ask ourselves: Who do I want to be during the crisis? or more importantly: Is there maybe an opportunity here, that I'm not seeing clearly right now?

Take a look at the Online Coaching by Dr. Stefano Levi. Next Tuesday, April 28, it's time again: Start at 7 pm on Zoom – exclusively for our FIZZies! You'll find the link in your Facebook group.