Tough times don’t last, tough people do!

A wise young man recently texted me with the words that are the title of this post, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do”.

It was indeed fitting to end the week with these words to reflect on. This week was particularly challenging personally and as I write this I’m now reaching for the same strength and optimism we asked the participants of our Next Step Forward Program to journal on for the assignment for week 4.

Earlier today we heard from our guest expert Dr. Mark Hogan, a Neuropsychologist from County Donegal in the Northwest of Ireland. He shared tips on emotional wellbeing as part of your recovery journey and he covered:

  • The types of emotional triggers post stroke

  • Tips and strategies to cope with stress and anxiety

  • The caregiver burden and emotional impact

  • The high rate of depression and anxiety experienced by both survivors and their caregivers

If you missed this session you can register here and watch the instant replay

As I work on my own journaling in this post, I realize this is a tip Dr. Hogan suggested to our community and team at Enable.Us as a strategy to cope with stress. I used this early on I’m my own stroke recovery when I was searching for answers and support during my stroke and have recorded this journey on my know-stroke blog.

Recognizing emotional triggers post-stroke is important. We also offered other suggestions and strategies in our week 4 resource toolkit that addresses the power of positive psychology in training your brain by focusing on happiness. If you haven’t heard of The Happiness Advantage Book, by Shawn Achor you can learn more about him by completing our week 4 assignment.

In The Happiness Advantage Book, Shawn describes the three greatest predictors of happiness are:

  1. Optimism (the belief your behavior will eventually matter)

  2. Social connection

  3. How we perceive stress (as a challenge or as a threat).

A Happiness Action Plan

If we want to raise happiness Shawn describes we need to make both mindset and behavior shifts.

What are the five key steps that we can take each day to increase our experience of happiness?

  1. Bring gratitude to mind - Write down three NEW things that you are grateful for each day

  2. Journal - About a positive experience you’ve had recently for 2 minutes once a day

  3. Exercise - Engage in 15 minutes of mindful cardio activity

  4. Meditate – Watch your breath go in and out for 2 minutes a day and

  5. Engage in a random, conscious act of kindness – Write a 2-minute positive email thanking a friend or colleague, or compliment someone you admire on social media

If you have been joining us for all the sessions in our course, you’ll recognize many of these effective habits for positive brain support have been built into our Next Step Forward Program. Achor suggests to do these steps for 21 days, and you will begin to see a lasting shift in your mindset towards more positivity.

Remember, you can always go back to review previous sessions on the Next Step Forward page of our website. It's also very helpful if you can find the time to complete the Wellness Toolkit each week. The workbook is designed to help personalize the content we've covered to your specific needs. It also helps us to keep the content engaging and learn what will be important to you as we build on the product over the coming months. Visit the Next Step Forward program page here:

As I close out the week, I’ll share here my 3 Things I am Grateful For Right Now (this is one of the items we’ve also asked you to complete in your own journal).

1- I am grateful for stroke survivor Donna Garrow (our co-founder Mike Garrow’s mom) sharing her impactful story on our website this week. You can watch her video here.

2-I am grateful for passionate other survivors like Rob Belt who step up and are fighting for better stroke awareness and support for those with heart defects. He’ll be raising awareness this weekend with his virtual #EverestStairClimb. TeamEnable.Us is proud to support him and you can hear his interview from last week with Co-Founder Mike Garrow on our Survivor Stories page. We encourage you to share your story because together we share strength!

3- I am forever grateful this week and every day for my family and our health!

Mike and I look forward to seeing you “live” for week 5, the final week of our program on Friday, May 29th. We hope you all have a great holiday weekend.

Thank you for being part of TeamEnable.Us!

In closing, remember:

Tough times don’t last, tough people do!

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