Surviving the Winter of 2014 - With Resilience (Part 2)

Yesterday I talked about sadness and anxiety as common reactions to this seemingly endless winter, and I offered a few tips to help you feel a bit more hopeful and to worry a bit less. Today we'll tackle the other end of the emotional spectrum  - Frustration and Anger.

While many of us do get down and worried, your reaction to our weather woes may be quite a bit different and sound something like this: "I don't believe this! How does my boss expect me to maintain this level of performance when the office was closed for half of last week?!", or, "I'm between a rock and a hard place with this weather situation. There's just not enough time in the day to stay on top of work and home issues!"

Anger and frustration in the face of severe winter weather are often experienced by - and please excuse the term - control freaks. People who feel the need to control all of the moving parts in their lives have an especially tough time dealing with anything that feels like loss of control. And there's not much that can make us feel more out of control than snow-covered roads, dark offices and weather-related cancellations. 

Frustration and anger fueled by loss of control almost always involves an Iceberg belief - a deep-seated rule about ourselves, our world, or our future - something we learned from a parent while growing up. A Control Iceberg sounds something like, "The more control I can get, the better my life will be.", or, "If you want something done right, do it yourself.". And banging up against a Control Iceberg can cause high levels of these emotions and drain your resilience tank.

Unlike sadness and anxiety, which can be mitigated by engaging our surface thinking, with frustration and anger we need to go deeper. Because Icebergs lie well below our conscious awareness, they can be tough to detect. And even when we're aware of them, they can be hard to navigate.

So, if you typically feel better when you believe that you're in control, and if you've been feeling more frustration and anger this winter than you'd like, you may have a Control Iceberg to deal with. Here are a few things you can do to help you handle it:

  • Often, just getting off auto-pilot and becoming aware of the iceberg is enough.
  • If you start feeling angry, acknowledge the fact that your iceberg may be the cause. Just doing so can take the edge off.
  • Put your energy into maintaining control over matters where you truly do have your hands on the reins - like allowing for lots of extra drive time the morning after a storm.
  • Try coming to grace with things over which you clearly have little influence - like the weather, the power outages, the canceled meetings.
  • Relax. Aerobic exercise, yoga, meditation, or just a few deep breaths, can be effective. Find something that works for you.
  • Focus on the positive. Take time to enjoy something beautiful.

Beautiful Post Storm Resilient
This is the view outside of my home office this morning. It's amazing how sun and blue sky changed the mood of the photo - and my mood as well. (Take a look at the pic in yesterday's post to see the difference.)

After another 18 inches of snow, 1/4 inch of ice, and heavy wind, we made it through another night without losing power. I'm feeling better already!




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