Kasha is a Psychologist within the Dunlea agency (Engadine, NSW). She is an Adolescent and Family Clinician, where she devotedly empowers young people to make positive changes in their lives!
It’s hard to believe that we are already well into a new year! School has resumed, holidays (for those that had them!) are almost forgotten and we are settling back into our jobs and responsibilities as best we can in such uncertain and unpredictable times.
Many of us feel tired already. We are exhausted from constant COVID testing protocols, from worrying about getting sick or getting others sick, and anxious about what 2022 may hold for ourselves and our families.
In times that are continuously changing andincreasingly hard to anticipate, an optimistic outlook can be easily missed! So, to maintain optimism in this uncertain climate, we can consider the ‘3 A’s’
It’s important to acknowledge that all that we are feeling at this time is valid and important. Recognising how we feel and being able to acknowledge these emotions, instead of avoiding them, or telling ourselves “I shouldn’t be feeling like this”, allows us to feel more in control, and therefore more likely to ask for help.
How can we manage these sometimes ‘out of control’ feelings and the uncertainty that many of us feel toward 2022? What would happen if we were to make a conscious decision to accept that some parts of this year may be exactly that - out of our control?
Acceptance is a psychological skill that refers to the ability to accept situations that are outside of our control without negative judgement. Acceptance is about acknowledging the facts of the situation, even if we don’t agree with them or like them.
When we can let go of the battle (This isn’t fair! Why is this happening to me!) and accept that the situation is beyond our control, we are less likely to become ‘stuck’ in the negative, and more likely to shift our focus toward something positive and meaningful.
Acceptance plays an important role in both optimism and resilience. A mindset of ‘’I can only control the present moment” can help shift our focus more towards one of acceptance.
Once we have accepted the things we can’t control, we can build our confidence to adapt to change, even if we wish we didn’t have to!
So many of us have already had to adapt to change continuously over the past 2 years; we have managed birthdays and celebrations remotely, worked from home, and learnt from home.
Dunlea Centre recognises that the ability to adapt to changing circumstances promotes resilience in individuals as well as in families. As part of Dunlea’s social skills program we explicitly teach the skills of ‘Coping with Change’ and ‘Expressing Optimism’ to our young people.
Whilst for some of us this may not have been the start to the year we were hoping for, it may be helpful to remember the 3 A’s for maintaining an optimistic outlook. Acknowledge our feelings as valid, accept that there are some things beyond our control and adapt to our changing environment the best we can.