In our last post, we introduced the topic of "SELF-CARE". This week, we want to continue with that idea by encouraging you to find ways to take care of yourself in the midst of life’s chaos. Below you will find tips for "emotional resiliency" created by Kathi Bivens, Licensed Professional Counselor and owner of Our Whole Lives in Hendersonville, NC.

What is emotional resilience? Emotional resilience refers to one's ability to adapt to stressful situations or circumstances. More resilient individuals are able to adapt to adversity without lasting difficulties, while the less resilient might have a harder time with stress and life changes.

• Focus on what you can control, not on what is outside of your control – Be solution focused, not problem focused. • Use events as learning experiences. Be flexible and open-minded

• Limit the hostility factor. The negativity and anger we harbor for others is more destructive to the one who harbors the resentment. Be generous and giving in spirit and avoid negative focus, and negative people.

• Strive for Goodness – NOT PERFECTION! Give up the need to be right. Limit defensiveness. Forgive – yourself and others continuously. Let go of “should” which can make us feel bitter.

• Develop good self-care habits. Allow yourself “mental health breaks” and “time out” on a regular basis. Eat well, exercise and get enough sleep. Pamper yourself whenever possible. Set limits and prioritize.

• People are CONTAGIOUS! Who you spend time with matters. When you are with positive, supportive and loving people, you feel happier and more content, and you live longer.

• Look for the humor in things. Life is too serious to be taken seriously all the time. Accept that life is not fair.

• Develop mindfulness. Learn to live in the present and try to eliminate forecasting a negative future. Put away your crystal ball! Try not to dwell on events that cannot be changed.

Messages play a huge role in all of our lives. Throughout the day, we send ourselves messages, some positive, some negative. A key component of emotional resiliency revolves around messaging. What you tell yourself and what you believe ultimately affect how you approach your day and any situations that arise. Here are some examples.

Negative Messages:

1. I should be better!

2. It’s too hard!

3. I can’t control my emotions.

4. I’d be happy if only…

5. There’s no way that will work.

6. It’s too big a challenge.

7. I am not going to get any better at this.

These are just a handful of negative messages that we are all tempted to tell ourselves when problematic, tough situations arise. As human beings, we often doubt ourselves. We doubt our strength rather than believing we can and will overcome the hurdle in front of us. Instead of being bogged down by negative messages, opt for a positive message instead. We promise that in treating yourself kindly, you will be more kind and more able to face any and all difficult moments. Below, see a list of positive message examples that we urge you to start working in to your daily thought process.

Positive Messages:

1. This is an opportunity to practice learning something new!

2. I can tackle this from a different angle if I break it down into smaller steps. I CAN DO IT!

3. I can say “no” without feeling guilty.

4. I can re-examine my priorities. This is important and I CAN do it!

5. I can figure this out and just take one step at a time.

6. I can take a chance.

7. I have figured out things that were hard to learn at first before. How did I do that? How can I do it again?

Take these tips, and the tools from our last "Self-Care" post, and start applying them to your life TODAY, right this minute. Like facing any tough situation, facing the decision to take care of yourself happens one step at a time. Fill yourself with positive messages. Believe that you can and will overcome the hurdles. Be emotionally resilient!

We believe in YOU! 

Until next time...

Stay tuned, and stay up on autism!