Why the US Military choose to celebrate
A vaccine is a potential shield, like a mask. It is not a cure.
Missing in the media conversations about contact-tracing systems and vaccine distribution is the conversation about personal responsibility. It’s the conversation for ways to strengthen our immune systems, for cultivating our resilience.
So, without waiting for our media, what can we glean from resilient people? What simple strategies do they use to build resilience?
First, they understand that adversity does not discriminate. Every one of us experiences adversity in its multiple forms. Our global pandemic excludes no one in its reach.
Second, resilient people know they can choose where to place their focus, despite the adversity. By evolution we are hardwired to predominantly notice negative emotions. 300,000 years ago this tendency was life-saving. The majority of human beings at that time met their end by being eaten by a predator. Our contexts have changed exponentially, however our ancient fight-flight mechanism of amygdala-hijack remains.
So how can we interrupt this evolutionary tendency?
We can deliberately hunt the good, notice the gifts of adversity. This doesn’t mean dismissing adversity. It means accepting that it is there, taking the necessary actions, then deliberately hunting the good.
Quite possibly one of the most cynical audiences for training in mental resilience would be the US military. Any military in fact! “Hunt the Good Stuff” was the approach taken one decade ago in the training of 1.1 million military personnel. The brief for the trainers at University of Pennsylvania was to teach mental and emotional resilience to this physically tough clientele. At the end of each day, participants were instructed to hunt for, and focus on three good things that had happened. It was hunt the good stuff, a sustainable daily practice. It worked to build emotional resilience.
Now we have the Habit Loop
A decade on and we also have the powerful addition of understanding the Habit Loop: cue, new behaviour, reward. Cue, new behaviour, reward. Behaviour that is rewarded gets repeated. Each time was do this we celebrate our effort.
It’s a micro-celebration. A smile to ourselves. An internal, “Well done. You kept your word and did what you said you would.”
This less-than-a-minute micro-celebration releases dopamine which builds the habit of noticing and hunting the good. It also builds resilience
Celebrating 20 Years for Taruni Falconer & Associates
On the topic of celebrations, I have a big one coming up and I would love you to join me in celebrating Twenty Years for Taruni Falconer & Associates: Celebrating acknowledgment. Acknowledging celebration.
Friday 9 July, 10:00 -11:00am (AEST) via Zoom. Reserve your free spot here.