Guest Blogger: Sherry Lauer, Human Resources Business Partner, Chief Human Resources Office
At the beginning of 2021, I found myself struggling to stay upbeat and positive and hit an emotional wall. I reached my maximum threshold and knew something needed to change. My personal toolkit of resources simply didn’t have the same impact as they did in the past and I began to feel vulnerable and uncertain. I set out on a mission to learn new skills and to develop alternate routines while being intentional about my efforts.
As I set out to learn new skills I was asked to “list the things that brought you joy today, last week, last month…” and I only wrote down one thing. One thing, really? That’s all I could come up with? I realized in that moment that the metaphorical airplane we’re all riding has oxygen masks, but I failed to remember to put my mask on first.
One practice I was introduced to is an evidence-based mindfulness exercise called The Five Senses originally developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn began teaching mindfulness in the late 1970s. Today, Kabat-Zinn has become one of the leading experts in the field, and mindfulness has become a widely practiced strategy for physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
The goal of this exercise is to practice being aware in the present moment throughout the day with a special focus on celebrating those moments. Silver linings do not have to be big or life altering, they can be found every single day. I have been practicing several variations of this exercise on a daily basis for just over a month and have already experienced a positive shift in my energy. I encourage you to take a look at the evidence-based practices outlined in the toolkit for silver linings.
While difficult times can drown us in worry and negativity, determination can help us fight back and find ways to overcome the overwhelming. Finding ways to celebrate even the smallest of things that occur every day – and being deliberate in our approaches to every day – are steps in the right direction to help shift our mindset to focus on the silver linings we experience.