“Keep Calm and Carry On” was created during World War II when London was being bombed on a regular basis. The slogan was meant to literally keep people going about their business instead of being paralyzed by fear. Frankly, thinking it about it now makes me a little twitchy. How in the hell do you carry on when you may not live to see the next sunrise?!
In recent years people have made it into a pop culture thing and changed the words around for fun, but the original is serious as death and definitely a slogan we would associate with the non-sexy concept of Resilience.
The definition of resilience is:
(taken from the Random House dictionary)
I bring this up because Resilience is probably the most important skill we all need to survive in this world. We need to be able to endure when the bad times hit, and we need to figure how to keeping going.
I learned about this concept in hindsight, after I had recovered from post partum depression. Although I spent a lot of time being down and out, or mad as hell, I eventually regained my equilibrium enough to ask for help. (To be level headed enough to know I needed help!)
Something important to note is that being resilient doesn’t mean always being happy. It just means being centered enough to think straight so you can deal with whatever life throws at you. Meaning, if you are handed something bad, you can think about solving the problem. Or, if you are handed something good, you can accept it with gratitude and appreciate it.
I recently went to a training hosted by the Trauma Resource Institute. It was called the Community Resilience Model. This one day course taught me the basics of human resilience, how it’s tied to our central nervous system, and a number of simple ways to help people get into their “resilience zone”. That would be the mental and physical space where they can be resilient and think clearly.
This method is so effective that they teach it all over the world. For example, they traveled to Haiti several times after the earthquake. The trainers worked with the people to find out what made them feel grounded and calm, and then helped them find additional ways to achieve those results. After people took the training, they had simple skills to help them “keep calm and carry on” when they became overwhelmed with what they felt or what they saw around them.
I’m not going to list all the tactics here, but I suggest you check out their website for more information. You know what else is really cool? The Trauma Resource Institute has created a free app you can download to your smart phone!
It’s call iChill and it’s a cheat sheet for anyone who needs help getting a grip in times of stress. There is also a button in the app labeled “Help Now” which will walk you through several simple exercises to regain your equilibrium during a crisis.
I highly recommend the training, downloading the app, and reading up on the program. It’s deceptively simple, but can be extremely useful and powerful when we are feeling less than capable of dealing with stress.
Happy reading, and I hope you iChill!