Any life crisis or transition comes with the opportunity to fail or to excel. Understanding the three stages of crisis can make the difference between a successful transition and a less than desirable outcome. This 2005 hurricane season has been the worst in recorded U.S. history. Many Americans have been left in a wake of injury, confusion, and burn-out; while, most of us are questioning how we might deal with a crisis of this magnitude.
As a ‘Stress Doctor’, I have worked through these disasters with organizations such as FEMA and the Red Cross, as well as through the 9/11 and the Asian Tsunami disasters to introduce training protocols for Crisis Navigation. In order to successfully navigate any of life’s storms, it is important to understand the evolution of crisis. Any change or crisis comes with three specific evolutionary stages (discussed below) that, when properly considered and understood, will lead you to the successful navigation of any personal life storms and the opportunities that they bring.
This stage, while often underestimated, could very well be the most important one, because it comes at a time of peace, when we are more in control of our time, and have the luxury to plan. Peaceful times are the best times to prepare for crisis, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, and to train ourselves to expect the best possible results in life. Then, when a personal life crisis occurs, we are able to take what we have been practicing and use it to our advantage. With proper preparation, we eliminate many of the unnecessary obstacles that people with neither the wisdom, the training, or a level of personal responsibility face. Elite athletes know the power of preparing; they train the same way during practice sessions that they expect to play on game day. Lazy or half-hearted training efforts will yield limited performance, low motivation and energy levels, and even fatigue or injury. A consistent daily routine of quiet time, frequent rest and recovery periods, regular movement and exercise cycles, and gratitude reflection, are the basic building blocks of crisis readiness. Crisis does not discriminate; all of us must practice mental, emotional, spiritual and physical preparedness in order to be in the most controllable and predictable place when our life’s storms arise… as they most assuredly will.
Most life storms come without warnings and usually pack a heavy punch, leaving even the strongest person gasping for air and feeling as if the carpet has been pulled out from under them. The first stage of a crisis is typically one of survival. This stage requires patience and commitment, as difficult as it may be at the time, to manage the unwanted and undesirable gravity of the situation, until a sure resolution of normality can be ascertained. Because crisis usually hits harder than expected, training and preparedness is the one thing that can provide a sense of control in the eye of your personal storm, and that will produce the most comfort and hope in the middle of uncertainty. One hundred plus mph winds can penetrate some of the toughest people I know, and there is no question that life storms like hurricanes, or a diagnosis of a life-threatening illness like cancer, can bring uncertainty, fear, confusion, and despair. However, navigating a number of life storms myself, I can truly say that it is my preparation and training that has allowed me to think clearly in the midst of the same chaos that cripples many. What is the key factor to remember in the middle of a life crisis? That mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical training yield the confidence and strength to not only survive your personal crises, but to thrive in spite of them. This resilience is what Brian Clement, and the staff at Hippocrates, rely on day in and day out when working with those who are under the threat of a surgeon’s knife, or in the midst of converting a major health crisis into a successful recovery. With proper preparation, we can stay calm and centered in the darkest of life’s storms.
The recovery process can be the most difficult evolution of all, especially if we were not prepared. Recovery is the transition between the former reality of life and the new reality that requires some TLC to shape and develop into something we feel comfortable with. Recovery after a personal crisis can be very challenging and extremely exhausting to individuals, families, and communities. The extra work, energy, patience, and money can drain even the best of resources. So how, then, do we best facilitate recovery?
First, we must understand that the rate at which we recover is determined by two critical factors, which are the quality of recovery and speed of adaptation. Quality recovery happens when we understand the elements that can personally recharge us: mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical. The speed at which we recover is determined by an attitude of flexibility marked by letting go of how we think things should be and accepting “what is so,” but also by loosening our grips so that we enable forward progress rather than shut it down. When we are truly healthy on all levels, internally and externally, we can rebound quickly from any challenging experience. It is also extremely important to anticipate and expect a healthy and speedy recovery process. This will help us create an effective plan that includes good preparation, crisis awareness, and a patient approach to finding a new and improved reality.
Our team has created a Stress Recovery Manual specifically designed to assist those who have been touched by the recent hurricanes. However, you will find it incredibly useful for crisis of any kind. This FREE 36-page manual will take you through the step-by-step process to create a mind/body healing experience that has worked for professional athletes, the Air Force’s acrobatic flying team, and corporate America throughout the years. For your free copy visit our website: www.hippocratesinst.org.
Dr. Terry Lyles holds a Ph.D. in psychology and is recognized as a national/international educator, author and speaker to universities, schools, Fortune 500 Companies, world-class athletes, and public audiences. Dr. Lyles has appeared on NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX NEWS, USA Today, and in U.S. News & World Report and hosted a premiere talk show sponsored by Success Magazine. He is currently heard in South Florida on 97.9 WRMF as “The Stress Doctor” every Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST and is the author of Stress Recovery Manual: A manual for the victims, volunteers and heroes of Hurricane Season 2005. For more information on Dr. Terry Lyles or to print out your free Stress Recovery Manual, visit www.TerryLyles.com.
Vol 24 Issue 4 page 41