February – Building a Coping Toolbox

I have been collecting tools for coping with stress and life challenges since I was sixteen years old! I have always been drawn towards creating a positive mindset and building inner strength and resilience. This is not an easy endeavor or something that happens fast – it takes perseverance, optimism and a lot of getting back up from falling. It really is a lifetime journey because life and ourselves within our life are always changing, so what works for us also changes and evolves.

I have brought this practice to our team of youth speakers who, in turn, bring it to the presentations they provide for schools. We are always looking at creative ways to bring positive coping strategies to students in a way that they will “hear” the messages and be more inclined to use them in their own lives. Some of these are positive affirmations, power stances, deep breathing and awareness-building activities such as Big Rain and the Hand Model of the Brain.

Our team has also been engaged in Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) training which is a very effective tool for calming the automatic stress response in the brain. It is a simple technique that anyone, even young children, can do on themselves when they are feeling anxious or stressed. What I find it most helpful for is addressing the blocks that create the fear which ultimately impacts on the direction of our lives. For example, sometimes when we do try to use positive affirmations, often a voice in the back of our head tells us it is not true. This is a block based on a core belief that needs to be brought to the surface or it will continue to have power. I love using EFT to bring those core beliefs to the surface that, even though it can be a painful process, helps me to face them with self-love and acceptance…ultimately releasing them one at a time.

We are so excited to be a part of this amazing movement of positive change and empowerment. At a time in our world when there are so many negative things happening, we are faced with a critical decision more than ever – to feel overwhelmed by stress and feelings of powerlessness or to rise up to the challenges with strength using the amazing tools and resources available to us…it’s a journey with each day, each encounter a new opportunity to choose.