Computers have been both a boost to my efficiency and a bane to my existence. In the early days of XT or AT IBM clones, huge monitors, perforated printer paper, chong-chong, begong, modems, no internet, and very expensive software on floppy discs, I was often confounded and confused by new processes and technical rules that made no sense to me. There was not a lot of coaching available. Usually, the process was, “Thank you for your $2k, here are your boxes, good luck.” In many cases, the computer became a very expensive, not so hot, gaming device. I often got stuck in processes and longed for an easy path out. There was none. So, like millions of others, I was dependent on alt/control/delete or if all else failed, I would unplug that sucker and see what happened! Where was a simple reset when we needed it?
Sometimes we all need a simple reset in life, work and relationships. When we feel tired, beaten up, hopeless, unmotivated and even sickly, it can be helpful to push the living alt/control/delete buttons in order to discover the resilience we once had or that others display. Perhaps you can take a reset over a weekend or it may take a weeks’ vacation. One might take a reset in snippets by refreshing and taking a moral inventory in early mornings or dusky evenings. In those quiet moments, begin by ask yourself some very important questions:
- What am I doing to bring myself joy?
- What am I/others doing that is stealing my joy?
- Have I given myself the right to say no?
- How is my spiritual life?
- Am I exercising in a manner that is fun for me?
- What am I doing to disconnect?
- Whose voices am I listening to for guidance and support?
- What voices do I need to turn down or turn off?
- Where do I want to be in a year? 10 years? What am I doing to get there?
- Am I living according to my core values and exhibiting those in my behavior?
- What do I need to let go of in terms of activities, work, relationships, etc?
- How much do I laugh?
- Am I practicing gratitude?
- How am I doing with forgiveness?
Very importantly, don’t stress over those questions. Do not beat yourself up over what may be amiss in your life. In your reset period, give yourself a break! Grant yourself a second chance and offer yourself the grace that you give others. Hopefully (my prayer for you) is that when you walk through a contemplative reset, you will find that wonderful gift of resilience. Resilience is a huge topic on which myriad articles, books and dissertations have been written. Those among us who are trauma and toxic stress experts know that resilience is often the result of supportive relationships – maybe just one! Resilience also comes from DNA as well as social construct and other factors. But, remember, one only knows if they are resilient when problems arise. One of the greatest factors of the ability to bounce back and rise above is psychological. Those who are resilient tend to meet adversity on their terms. (Konnikova, 2016). Resilient folks have an internal locus of control and that is what is often missing when we feel high stress, burn-out, and in need of a reset. Good news is that through a time-out, contemplation, and purposeful direction, we can learn resilience.
Since we don’t want this article to drone on forever, I will get to the finish line. When you face challenges, do you view those as catastrophic, joy-ending events or do you see them as growth opportunities and windows in which to learn and discover meaning? The truth is, we cannot control all of the events in our lives but events do not have predictive power – we do. Our viewpoint determines much of our resiliency. We can make ourselves less vulnerable to stress if we learn to look at events in a more positive manner. So, we can make ourselves more, or less, resilient by our thinking processes.
That is why it is so important that we take occasional breaks in order to reevaluate. That is why we must give ourselves second-chances and do-overs. That is why we need positive supporters in our lives. Taking mental and physical breaks and doing reassessment is essential to maintaining our ability to bounce back and rise above circumstance. Like the saying goes, “You got this!” You might just need to stop and breath a moment to rediscover where control resides.
Konnikova, The New Yorker, 2016
Reichard, Bobinner, How to Reset Your Life, 2023