Here we are, mid-2020 and leaning on mental health coaches like Laura Day big time. It just so happens that Jen and Brad — as well as Chopra and Dyer — all vouch for Laura’s usefulness which, while not increasing her legitimacy, does actually peak our interest big time.
In her books, Practical Intuition and Welcome To Your Crisis, Laura lays out just the kind of perspective we need lately and we asked her to outline crisis and the way we deal with it for us all below…
Take a moment and think about your greatest achievements. What preceded them?
Chances are it was a transition or loss not directly of your own choosing. You outgrew a school, someone left, you lost something important that you had counted on in your life or even something more profoundly personal – your health, for example, or your financial or social standing.
Nobody wants to be in crisis. Yet crisis is often followed by miracles. You spend most of your energy and attention maintaining the structures of your life: work, health, relationship, finances, and so on. Changing these structures in an evolutionary way is hard, because it goes against our instincts. Mammals hate change.
“Nobody wants to be in crisis. Yet crisis is often followed by miracles.”
The word “crisis” comes from the Greek verb krinein, “to decide.” Unfortunately, real crisis usually overwhelms our ability to decide anything using our known strategies, and regression follows. Regression is when the messy, impulsive subconscious “you” takes over for the mature and conscious you, compounding the problem rather than using it as the golden opportunity for creating your dreams that it really is.
In order to deal with the trouble you make for yourself in crisis, the first thing you need to know is your reaction style. There are four styles by which people react to crisis. You have elements of each in your normal functioning, but when you regress and “lose it,” you revert to the same reaction style you had when you were in nursery school.
What is your Crisis Reaction Type?
(Yep, It’s a Thing)
The following are descriptions of each reaction style. When you “lose it,” which type are you?
Does your Anger drive you to rage, blaming, paranoia, and shame, and in your impulsivity cause you to create more hostility and problems?
Does your Anxiety lead you to obsess, seek reassurance, and hyper-focus on problems, jumping ahead in your terrified predictions to an irredeemable future while not addressing the real problems that exist now?
Does Depression immobilize you as you passively watch your life unravel and your challenges build to unmanageable proportions?
Does Denial lead you to distract yourself and get blindsided by problems that have grown into monsters because they’ve gone undetected?
When you notice that you are in a reactive instead of an active or proactive state, something needs to change.
A Help For Each ‘Crisis Reaction Type’…
Anger Type: Discharge the charge before reacting. Take a five-mile run before doing anything, so that you can channel the amazing passion and energy that anger types have into rebuilding – and motivating others to join you by adding their passion to your goals. Energy is the gift of Anger.
Anxiety Type: As much as it may seem threatening to do so, take a distraction break from the problem and engage in an activity that has a clear beginning, middle, and end. This will allow you to use the same acute hyper-vigilance and awareness that are scaring you in order to find solutions, even precognitively, that others don’t have access to. Awareness is the gift of Anxiety.
Depression Type: Have a small, productive goal and ask for support to accomplish it. Then you can use your Depth to mine opportunities that others would miss and reveal to others how they benefit from coming on board with you. Depth is the gift of Depression.
Denial Type: Do something that encourages you to feel. Talk to your mom. Hug your child. Watch cat videos or comedy or a commercial that brings tears to your eyes. When you reconnect with your feelings instead of avoiding them, you can filter out distraction and use your gift of Effectiveness to put your life together in the way you choose. Effectiveness is the gift of Denial.
Every type can turn crisis into opportunity using the following four pillars:
The 4 Pillars of Opportunity From Crisis
Let Go: Rumination, recrimination, and regret are all ways of holding on to a reality that no longer exists. Discipline yourself to redirect all thought and action to a single new, positive goal. Give yourself a specific, small amount of time each day to mourn, rage, and obsess, but then redirect your attention to what is and what can be.
Take Positive Action: In crisis, you may see many of your normal supports and routines torn from you. You may not know how to adapt to the new terrain – or even want to – but you must if you are going to mine the opportunities. Don’t think ahead or behind. Address the problems and opportunities in this moment, no matter how insignificant they may seem, and you will find yourself in an exciting new world.
No New Damage: When old ways of surviving (no matter how dysfunctional they were) are ripped from you, every bit of your energy and attention is needed to thrive. Stay away from habits, thoughts, people, and situations that may bring new damage to your life, yourself, or your self-esteem. Guard yourself jealously. Know that every time you engage in new damage you give away a part of your dreams.
Make Deposits to Your Emotional Bank Account: Remember, you are an elegant machine. You need to restock the currency of love, pleasure, beauty, and meaning in order to thrive. In crisis, limit expenditures and cultivate deposits.
Remember. FEAR has two meanings: Fear Everything And Run or Face Everything And Rise