Channeling Your Inner Palm Tree: Learning How to Bend, Not Break
When demands at work and home have you feeling like you’re about to crack, stop, breathe, and take a cue from nature. Channel your inner palm tree.
Here’s the thing about palm trees: Even in the fiercest of storms, a palm tree will stay rooted in the ground. Devastating winds will destroy everything in their path — except the palm tree. Why? Because the palm tree is flexible. During a hurricane, the palm tree will bend until it’s parallel to the ground. And when the storm passes, it will rise back up until it’s standing tall. The palm tree is the epitome of resilience.
God gave you the same gift.
You have the ability to weather any storm that comes your way. The mind and heart are incredibly resilient. You just have to harness your power of flexibility.
What is resilience?
Resilience is adapting to adversity, finding meaning in life, and tapping into hope to try again the next day.
There are several characteristics associated with resilience:
- An ability to make realistic plans and take steps to carry them out
- Confidence in personal strengths and abilities
- Skills in communication and problem-solving
- The capacity to manage strong feelings and impulses
- The capability to adapt and grow while building confidence about bouncing back
Build your resilience by thinking better.
There is a strong connection between what we think, what we feel, and what we do. When feeling calm or more in control, things can be seen from different perspectives. It can be easier to solve problems or think about what can be done. It’s not just about thinking positive but about using your thinking as a way to solve problems and manage situations.
Catch it. Recognize those unhelpful thoughts when they arise. Taking a moment to acknowledge your feelings as they bubble up in difficult situations can help you take control of them. Take a moment to identify exactly what it is you are feeling. If you can recognize yourself leaning toward the negative, you’ve taken the first step toward changing our thoughts.
Stop it. Once you’ve recognized the negativity and identified how you feel, put on the brakes. Stop yourself from continuing those thoughts and diving further into the downward spiral. Stopping unhelpful thoughts and feelings will give you time to think.
You can use certain phrases to help you pause and think:
- I can figure this out.
- This is temporary.
- I can work with this.
- I can handle this.
Challenge it. Give yourself thinking time and challenge why you are thinking that way.
- Do a reality check. Are these thoughts based on truth or emotion?
- Evaluate other possible explanations. Is there another way to look at this?
- Use perspective. Is this a part of the big picture or just a small bit of right now?
Change it. Create an alternative way of thinking. Resilience is about seeing negativity as a way to grow and learn.
- A better way of seeing this is…
- What might happen is… And I can deal with that.
- What contributed to this… What I can do next time is…
- This is temporary. I can get through it.
Life tends to work in ways that are impossible to predict. During those uncertain times, making sense of the situation can change how stressful it may seem. Positive emotions can help you cope better. So turn those negative feelings into positive understanding.
Have strong ties with close ones
Close relationships with family, friends, and co-workers can provide needed emotional support to bounce back again…and again. Make the time to nurture those connections with family and friends and find support even when circumstances may seem beyond your control.
Carve out time to be with others:
- Go for coffee.
- Have dinner together.
- Experience a friends’ night out.
- Enjoy a game night.
Learn from others
Family, friends, co-workers, and community groups can be continued sources of emotional support and guidance. They can often provide ideas to manage, take action, and cope with circumstances that may seem beyond your control.
Also, benefit from others who are resilient. They may be individuals you know or admire — personal or public figures — that have overcome similar adversities. Notice the strategies they have used to deal and stay strong. Find ways to adopt some of those strategies into your own life.
Streamline routines and set limits to protect your time. Say “no” more often. Unplug for part of the day. Enjoy simple pleasures like sunsets, walking the dog, and those first sips of coffee in the morning. Enjoy humor. Taking the time to enjoy life will suddenly make stress seem less imposing.
Move toward your goals
Instead of focusing on stressful moments and setbacks, reset your focus toward your goals — even the small ones. Taking a decisive action toward what you want, instead of detaching from problems, can build confidence in your abilities to solve problems and keep perspective on the long-term.
Just as the palm tree can’t stop the storm, you cannot stop life from happening. But interpretation and response to these situations can be controlled. Find flexibility and practice a balanced approach to life to build resilience. Be the palm.
Ashley is an award-winning copywriter and content expert with more than a decade of proven results for national and local clients. From brainstorming high-end conceptual content to styling sentences that engage and convert, she’s got a knack for shattering the status quo. When she’s not in full-on writing mode, she’s hanging out with her rascal of a puppy and discussing the plausibility of unicorns with her 8-year-old daughter.