Our Unrelenting World

Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA
Richard Citrin Ph.D., MBA

I’m finding myself overwhelmed again, much as I did during the early days of Covid. This time, of course, it is about the tragedy in Ukraine and the uncertainty of what a post-covid America will look like as we return to work and face our economic and social challenges

In my resilience workshops, I suggest that we all temper our news intake to avoid getting overwhelmed by information. The news is designed to stimulate our sympathetic nervous system and gets our stress reaction—fight, flight, or freeze—activated. This activation then becomes addictive.

Yet, I can’t seem to follow my own advice these days.

My cousin Nancy reminded me that our ancestors came from Ukraine over a century ago from Stanislaw, which today is known as Ivano Franko. These past few days, that city of 200,000 came under attack. When my grandparents left there in the late 1800s, they sought peace from the unending Russian pogroms a word meaning “wreak havoc” (sound familiar). The pogroms targeted Jews who they blamed for the assassination of Tsar Alexander II, along with whatever other anti-Semitic BS they could come up with to explain their failings.

I know there is more coming. Gas prices are up, businesses are feeling the squeeze of tightening economic conditions, and Covid may still be out there hiding in the wings. All that doesn’t even begin to address the existential issue of a madman running Russia. 

The good news is that we understand and can effectively address uncertainty. We want order and certainty in our lives, but our more primitive or reptilian brain reacts to stress and throws us off balance. Fortunately, our thinking brain knows the world is unpredictable and uses data gathering to help us make sense of what is happening in our lives.  In high stress, staying informed and sticking with routines calms us down.

I’ve been keeping my days consistent by starting with mindfulness practice for my head and stretching for my body. My days are satisfying, filled with coaching and consulting, helping others find success for themselves and their businesses. I spend my evenings and weekends with Sheila and our dog Cody, both of whom love to hug.

Make sure you are getting plenty of those. Those hugs may be the best resilience remedy ever invented.

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