Resilience and Dealing with Uncertainty
Self-care needs to be a consistent practice, according to emotional resilience and wellbeing coach, Pat Divilly. Participants at the itag AtlanTec Festival expressed feelings of loneliness, isolation and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty created by the pandemic. At the end of the one-hour talk, participants felt energized, positive and motivated equipped with a 20-minute framework to implement daily.
Divilly described his own journey with anxiety, explaining while he had “the house, the car, the girlfriend and the business” he felt overwhelmed and flat. This sent him on a journey of self-discovery – where he found that we need to invest in our health daily the way we put deposits in a bank. This is to ensure there is enough left over for a rainy day.
Participants at the itag AtlanTec Festival heard there are four pillars of health that must be tended to:
- Physical: The amount of physical energy we have.
- Mental: The ability to manage internal talk and be fully present.
- Emotional: The ability to accept our different emotions.
- Spiritual: Meaning and purpose.
Early in his career, Divilly realised health was more than “broccoli and push-ups”. Sleep, nutrition and mental health all have their part to play. The key is to become responsive rather than reactive. He explained how we are governed by our sympathetic and parasympathetic central nervous system. The sympathetic system is fight or flight, the parasympathetic is rest and digest. Participants at the itag AtlanTec Festival heard that while the fight or flight response was useful for cavemen escaping tigers, they switched to rest and digest as soon as the threat was over. The modern world triggers our stress response for a more prolonged period, through lack of sleep, too much caffeine and social media.
“We are in a constant state of fight or flight,” said Divilly, “thinking of the future or ruminating on the past. People become burnt out and crash. How do we put our foot on the break and slow down the car? We want to send a signal to our bodies and minds on a consistent basis every day that we are safe.”
The number 1 factor influencing our physical energy is sleep. Divilly gave participants at the itag AtlanTec Festival three quick suggestions to improve sleep cycle and invest in the daily bank of wellness.
- Brain dump: Put your thoughts on paper.
- No technology: No technology for 30 minutes before bed.
- Box breath: Take a calm breath through the nose and deep into the belly for four seconds, hold for four, release out through the nose for four and hold for four.
Pat Divilly encouraged participants to close their eyes and try box breathing
Divilly advised using this box breath method as a standalone tool for five minutes twice a day. The way we speak to ourselves also has a massive impact on how we feel. Focusing solely on goals overlooks what is going on inside. It is this internal voice that will drive success, rather than a goal-oriented outlook.
“To change our results,” Divilly said, “we have to change our actions. To do this, we must recognise what is going on internally. We need to deconstruct biases and open up to new possibilities. We have rewrite some of our beliefs.”