Hard times and Personal Fulfillment
Those fine wordsmiths at Oxford University Press, define Fulfillment as…
We know that the best approach to working on that achievement target is through Personal Development – which is a conscious pursuit. Personal fulfilment is the outcome of many personal development activities, that we engage in to achieve something desired, promised, or predicted.
But in hard times the meaning of these words can dissolve away – to the point of being meaningless – as our emotions and state of mind change.
And if these elements, of desired, promised or predicted, are meaningless to us, then conscious personal development falls away – leading to a reduced sense of personal fulfilment.
Personal development activities can easily be pushed aside to be done another day. Another day when we’re less stressed, less down, less engaged. Out to a time when things will be better.
And yet . . .
Even in hard time there are important personal development activities we must take care of . . .
Like recognising the personal change we are going through
Like taking care of our personal well-being
Like being aware of our emotions
Like helping others
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The most important personal activity in these times is to take care of yourself.
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Because if you are not looking after yourself, you are not able to help those around you.
This idea is commonly referred to as the Oxygen Mask Theory (see below), taken from the instructions given by flight attendants on airplanes. Without oxygen you won’t be able to help others.
The same principle applies in hard times, where your well-being and mental health is your oxygen.
Top 5 personal activities in hard times
1. Take care of yourself – pay attention to your mental health and well-being
Make a conscious effort to acknowledge your emotions & feelings, particularly symptoms of low mood, additional worry, or anxiety.
Are you on the change curve? Shock, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.
Ask WHAT you are feeling and experiencing, not WHY. The ‘What’ is to recognise the emotion, the ‘Why’ is a lot more complex and best discussed with a mental health professional.
2. Seek acceptance of the situation
Try to reduce the mentally churn over what should’a, could’a, would’a. Acknowledge and accept the situation as it is. Hard, but necessary.
Live in the moment. Acknowledge the things you can’t control or change. Focus on the things you can control.
3. Be sensitive to the emotions of the people around you
Many people we meet will also be going through hard times. Maybe not now, but maybe in the past. You won’t know the scars or anguish they carry.
Be Nice 🙏
4. Small acts of kindness – help others through the hard times
A number of studies have shown that helping others can help ease our own stress and anxiety. Even small act, such as holding a door open for someone. (but wash your hands after 😉 )
5. Re-assess what you know & understood to be true
Re-think your life vision and goals. Are those life goals, dreams and wishes still relevant?
If yes, are you sure?
Yes or no, now is a good time to review the vision you have of the future you.
In hard times the world is changing in ways we don’t currently understand. The foundations of our life vision & goals would have changed.
Therapists observe negative thinking patterns in patients that often first emerge in childhood and continue to affect how they think and function as adults. Understanding the past as prologue to the present helps put the pieces together, but it does not produce change.
People often seek help from psychologists when they are overwhelmed by challenges of their lives: kids' activities, work deadlines, family issues, and so on. As if life was an assembly line of duties and chores-people just jump on it without questioning or examining sources of their despair, causes of their anxiety, and roots of their depression.
How many times have you heard someone say, "I just need to get over it so I can get on with my life?" Or maybe it's something you also do yourself. When we're frustrated or hurt or angry, sometimes we just want an instant solution.
According to an annual survey from the American Psychological Association, stress is an all-too-common experience. What's more, many people feel stressed beyond their coping abilities. Between work, money issues, family stress, and other obligations, it can be easy to feel overworked, frustrated, and burned out.
Create, design and lead the life you want to live with Life Planning. A complete guide and how-to steps to create a life plan for more personal fulfullment.
By the time I (James) reached my junior year in college, I was deeply disillusioned by the world I saw around me. I had grown up believing in Superman, in "truth, justice, and the American Way," but this was the 1960s.