Taking our Resiliency into our Daily Lives
Next time you experience a stress reaction in the midst of a busy day, take the time to notice what is going on for you. At first, you might just feel yourself becoming irritable, anxious, or sleepy. You might notice yourself fall into mental habits of ruminating, projecting, or criticizing or perhaps you might notice a strong impulse to flee or isolate. You might want to burst into tears or lay into someone with rage. You might start turning to self soothing habits that are less than healthy such as excessive eating. Identify your style of acting out (or in) when you are in a state of activation and try to approach it with inquisitiveness rather than self judgement. Maintain a spirit of curiosity! Rather than acting on the impulse to flee or isolate, lash out in anger or eat obsessively, take the time to notice what bodily sensations are driving these impulses. Find the counter vortex to the vortex and keep your stream of life flowing downstream!
As midwives, we all have to find such immense courage to do our work. I remember as a young student asking Elizabeth Gilmore (founder of the National College of Midwifery) how she could be so brave. Her response was, "I find courage in the face of intense fear." So much of this work is about holding opposites.
By practicing these techniques regularly, we can eventually get to the point where we can call on them even in the most stressful of situations where there is little time or space to process. As our counter vortex strengthens and grows, the banks of our river widen and our capacity to handle the vortex increases, allowing us to live fuller and healthier lives.