Find out how Hope, Empowerment, Adaptation and Resilience Can Help You Grow
Originally published June 15, 2020 on psychologytoday.com
Our ever-changing world, the way we live, how we live, and finding positive options to sustain our mental health are causing almost unfathomable challenges that most of us have never faced. I am witnessing an increase in a wide range of mental health issues among my clientele. I am also inspired by a noticeable rise in people’s ability to create positive internal growth in these very trying times. I believe if you look internally, it will yield stronger personal growth and improve your mental health. There are some essential skills that you must learn to be effective. It prompted me to craft a new blog series entitled HEAR, which I will be sharing with you exclusively on Psychology Today. The four skills are (H) Hope, (E) Empower, (A) Adaptation, and (R) Resilience. In each blog I will explain how each concept works, and give you tips on how they can be mastered and complement each other.
The first step is to actively listen to what we are hearing—even though it may be overwhelming. There are several reasons why our mental health is so fragile and under siege. As most of the country and world starts to reopen, the global impact of COVID-19 has been ominous. The World Health Organization reports 7,363,503 confirmed cases in 213 countries and territories, 414,588 deaths . The US has reported the most deaths, 112,471. There has also been a spike in new cases in at least 20 states over the past two weeks. Dr. Jonathan Kanter and Katherine Manbeck, University of Washington clinical psychological scientists, share some stark warnings about after effects of the virus, “the United States needs to be prepared for what may be an epidemic of clinical depression because of COVID-19. Individuals, families and communities need to do what they can to prepare for a depression epidemic.”
On top of grappling with a pandemic, our economy has been sputtering, the spike in unemployment has exceeded the Great Depression figures, and we are entrenched in a human rights and social justice awakening. CNBC graphed out how the U.S. has lost 36 million jobs since March. In studies by PubMed.com, they estimated there is a prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder in 4% – 41% of the participants in protests. Following a major protest probable major depression increased by 7%, regardless of personal involvement in the protests, suggestive of community spillover effects.
I did not choose to use the acronym “HEAR” randomly. As I have cited in previous blogs, active listening is an extremely important component in communication. Although technically hearing is a verb related to the act of hearing, I am taking the liberty to denote “HEAR” to connote active listening. Besides being a critical communication tool, active listening is crucial in allowing people to curate information that can then be utilized or disregarded. Even for people with limited to no actual hearing capabilities, active listening is possible through a combination of sign language and lip reading.
People grow emotionally as they develop the fortitude to quiet the discomfort that comes with feeling that all information is of equal importance to them. Or by doing the opposite, ignoring information because they fear it will set them off their chosen course. The most self-actualized people can curate information from multiple sources using active listening. In turn, they can authentically decide what makes sense to them; to keep or disregard the information without judgment. The choice to keep or discard is based on individual authenticity, not judgment.
Here are previews of how the four skills work. Each skill requires active listening to become successful at mastering them. Once mastered, people feel a sense of self-empowerment over their own destiny.
Hope reminds us that we have an internal locus of control and that we are not marionettes with no agency to decide our own destinies. With Hope, positive information needs to be “heard” and curated, integrated or discarded. One cannot just filter in the negative information to develop this skill, both positive and negative information needs to be curated.
Empowerment involves the self-awareness to identify your goals while exercising the right to claim your space and develop them physically and mentally. It also helps to develop your competencies. After setting your goals, active listening is required to hear constructive feedback non-defensively. When achieved effectively, empowerment manifests self-confidence and a renewed sense of purpose.
Adaptation helps us have the emotional intelligence to assimilate new information as a path for success. It requires listening to assimilate new information and not assume you already have all the information you need.
Resilience involves knowing your strengths and weaknesses so you can ask for help when needed. It helps you to be pragmatic and bounce back stronger from inevitable missteps. It requires active listening to help you be aware of how others view you. This will help you establish an honest evaluation of your strengths and weaknesses. However, these strengths and weaknesses may change over time which will require continued listening.
Hope, Empowerment, Adaption, Resilience! Four vital skills that are helping people achieve sustainable and positive internal growth as well as better mental health. And they can help you too. Watch out for the first blog in the series, Hope, coming next month.