Surrender is not giving up.
Surrender is not giving in.
It’s trusting in something bigger than yourself.
Something you can’t quite see.
Behind the scenes.
How I Surrender: The God Box
Something you can’t quite see.
How I Surrender: The God Box
The following video is an excerpt from my resilience keynote speech at the Healthy Workplace Awards Ceremony.
Psychology Reflection Questions
How do you see resilience?
What helps you bounce back and move forward?
For me, it’s the belief that setbacks are temporary.
And the internal power it creates lasts forever.
Link to full resilience video — https://youtu.be/8VvwITnvrhs
With time, I have come to realize that failure has always been my greatest teacher. Each failure pointed me in a better direction and helped me to develop strength and authenticity, ultimately unveiling who I was and what I was destined to become
F. A. I. L. = First Attempt In Learning
• The failing grade I received on my first exam in graduate school taught me how to ask for support when I needed it most, no matter how shameful I felt or embarrassed I was.
• The end of a long-term relationship taught me how to value my time alone and make tough decisions for myself, no matter how weak I felt or lonesome I was.
• The layoff from a job I loved taught me how to let go, look forward, and trust in something so much bigger than myself, no matter how scared I was or irrelevant I felt.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
Is it possible to see failure in a positive light?
Under the right conditions, failure strengthens us, adds to our self-knowledge, and enhances the quality of our lives
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have met my husband John.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be a psychology professor.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not have written three textbooks.
• If it weren’t for failure, I would not be the person I am today.
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again.”
Read My Article in The Drive Magazine: https://thedrivemagazine.com/posts/failure-as-feedback
Watch Video of Post: Click Here
“While traditional psychology focused its attention on pathology and problems, in the relatively new field of positive psychology, researchers strive to explore and understand the strengths of individuals and communities that contribute to their flourishing.” Source: Psychology Guide
I am passionate about what positive psychology can do for students and educators in and out of the classroom. By first focusing on what is right, before examining what is wrong, students are motivated to move beyond, and in some cases, be transformed by their current limitations, history, and circumstances.
Link to: VIA Character Strengths Inventory
Positive psychology is not about being happy and successful all the time. Instead, happiness is aspirational like a delicious meal at a 5 star restaurant. Wonderful but not to be expected, at every meal, all the time. (Otherwise, we set ourselves up for disappointment on the Kraft Dinner days.)
Instead, the field of positive psychology helps bring out the best in us. In a balanced way. The ebb and flow of life. Negativity is to be expected. The question is – how long do you stay there.
As a professor, I believe it is paramount to create a safe and uplifting atmosphere in the classroom. A secure and consistent milieu where students know what to expect class to class, week to week, semester to semester. A place where students are encouraged to build upon their existing strengths, while feeling supported enough to share their current struggles.
As I teach mostly nursing students, it is critical that I practice what I teach in and out of the classroom. Nursing students will also be responsible for creating an encouraging and safe space for their clients one day.
The yellow t-shirts are from the Yellow Umbrella Project, an Ontario wide college campaign for battling the stigma of mental illness on campus.
My highest goal is to work with young Canadians in a way that empowers and encourages them to become the best version of themselves. Cultivating success in a way that is unique to them. I believe that interactive lectures combined with warmth and real-life stories is the best approach for achieving this goal.
Link to: Positive Psychology Interview
The photo below is from a leadership conference for college students where I discussed the connection between optimism and student success.
Ultimately, I hope to remind students of their gifts. While encouraging them to embrace their challenges. For we are the sum total of all that is powerful and vulnerable – within and around us. And it’s this extraordinary combination of strong and weak, good and bad, light and dark, that makes our world and our classrooms such a fascinating place to live and thrive.
Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing: your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation.
In this blog post and classroom video, I share strategies for transforming painful experiences. Especially those beyond your control.
I also discuss my latest article in The Drive Magazine (link to article below) where I help a good friend transform the painful story in his life (house flood) into a more meaningful and empowering experience.
1. Talk to others who have overcome similar circumstances. Be open to their lessons.
2. Ask five people to identify five strengths. Refer to them during the low points in your day.
3. Reflect on times in your life when you have successfully overcome adversity.
4. Be proud of what you’ve been through and have faith in where you’re going.
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
To Watch Video Click Here
My mission in life is to encourage people to own their choices – no matter how big or how small. In doing so, individuals will uncover the magnificent power that lives within them.
Embracing the power to choose one’s emotions, thoughts, and reactions to life’s circumstances is the key which unlocks personal freedom and empowerment.
Video ⇒ The Psychology of Change
Becoming aware of choice points, big and small, is the beginning of the path to transformation.
Choosing a path uniquely suited to you – is your way out of disenchantment and your way into a life of purpose, passion, and peace.
Coaching & Speaking Services ⇒ Click Here
Great things take time.
Stand up 8.
Your time to rise up!
This blog post and classroom video above are dedicated to all the students around the world struggling to stay motivated midway through the winter semester. I am cheering you on! Encouraging you to not give up. This post is also meant for you – My Fellow Student of Life. 📕❤️
Let them gossip. Let them chatter. Let them say what they choose to say.
Because at the end of the day truth is truth.
And nothing can stand in it’s way.
Stop trying to convince anybody and everybody of anything and everything.
At the end of the day time will tell.
When the dust settles and the sun sets truth is truth.
No matter what happens today, know that in the end everything works out.
Trust me. I speak from experience.
My smile comes equally from a place of darkness and a place of light.
How would I ever know how good I have it today — if I hadn’t lived a life of challenge and adversity.
And the best part is that I get to revisit my twenties every single day.
A time where many of my life lessons were born.
Listening and learning with my psychology students on campus.
And staying in touch for years to come.
I will always be grateful for the tough times in my life — for this is where my strength lies.
I believe the same for you.
You are a diamond in the making.
This I know for sure. 💞💎
This blog post was created for all the students around the world writing final exams this week. Cheering them on! Encouraging them to not give up. This post is also meant for you – My Fellow Students of Life.Related: I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past
When I was a kid my mom set the egg timer for almost everything we did; whether it was how long we spent doing our homework, weeding the garden, watching television, or complaining about life’s challenges.
It helped us to understand that nothing lasts forever – good or bad.
This was especially important when we felt helpless over things we did not have control over, including chores we did not want to do.
Setting time limits also taught us to respect how our words and actions impact ourselves and others.
Full disclosure: My mom is a psychologist too.
To this day I set a timer on the stove.
A simple, yet effective way to motivate myself through tedious tasks and become more mindful of time itself.
The timer principle can also be applied to how often we are negative vs. positive throughout the course of a day.
Negativity is the easy (automatic) route. So we need to be conscious of where our mind flows.
Venting feels good in the moment, but when it goes on too long, the costs outweigh the benefits.
Too often we complain about stressors for hours beyond the momentary challenge has passed. Leaving little time in the day for appreciation, wonder, and gratitude.
Then one day we wake up and realize that life is too short to be all negative, all the time. Even (especially) when life gets tough.
Negativity is to be expected. It’s part of the human experience.
The question is – how long will you stay there.
Share your challenges. Share your obstacles. Share your difficulties.
But also leave room for what’s good in your life.
For there is no doubt that they (and you and I) have been wanting to transform an aspect of our lives for a very long time.
But the intrinsic motivation just isn’t quite there. The kind of motivation that is essential for lasting change.
Unfortunately too many people wait for something bad to happen in their lives before making positive changes.
This is a universal truth.
We take two steps back before moving one step forward.
We pause. We slow down. We notice.
We open our eyes to all the possibilities.
We write our dreams down.
We take photos of what inspires us to bloom.
We ask for honest feedback from people we trust.
We acknowledge what gets in the way of our potential. Big and small.
We compile all the reasons why our best lives shouldn’t wait another day.
And we have fun doing it! Positivity has power too. 🦋
Watch My CBC-TV Interview: 5 Ways to Embrace Change
The ones you use to talk to yourself.
Believe in the one reason that a difficult situation will work out.
You have everything it takes to overcome.
To work through.
To begin again.
Again and again and again.
Instead of seeing obstacles and stressors as taking you down.
Try perceiving challenges as taking you UP ↑
Again and again and again.
(You’ve been dumped.)
(You’ve been rejected.)
(You’ve been without money.)
Afraid of being _________?
(You’ve been _________.)
Remember – you have been here before.
You have more knowledge and experience than you recognize.
You have faced this fear before.
And you have thrived because of it.
(You may not realize it – but you have.)
And you have the power to kick this fear right to the curb.
What we believe matters. As it’s our mindset that shapes our physiological and emotional response to stressful circumstances. Ultimately, determining our ability to bounce back after adversity.
For example, when a relationship ends, if we view it as a personal failure, from a place of blame and shame, we are less likely to try again. Afraid to risk the pain, reluctant to venture beyond our comfort zone.
On the other hand, if we perceive the same breakup as an opportunity to learn. To begin again. To start over. Fresh. Renewed. We are more open to meeting someone new.
Today I am grateful for all of my relationship failures. For if it weren’t for the loss, the heartache, and the lessons, I never would met the wonderful man that I am married to today.
It was not easy at the time. Challenge rarely is. But if we just keep our eyes to the sky, and trust that no matter what we are going through, it will all be worth it in the end.
I hope you find comfort in your discomfort. And beauty in the stars.
Related Post: Lay down your burdens.
This is their final week of classes. Which means one final opportunity for me to encourage their success.
This is my favourite part of teaching psychology. Every time I face a challenge, I imagine how I can translate it into a motivating lesson for my students.
Transforming thought patterns is critical for student motivation and success. As what happens behind our eyes is as powerful as what happens in front of our eyes.
Instead of thinking of nursing school as an obstacle to overcome. Reframe it as superhero training. Heros save lives. And so do nurses. Every single day.
Related Post: Staying Motivated During a Challenge.
When life changes direction, are you able to change with it?
Are you flexible and open to new experiences?
Are you able to break free from old patterns and habits?
Or do you struggle to adapt to anything new and different?
At the beginning of my TEDx: Dr. Andrea Dinardo: Thriving Under Pressure | TED Talk I describe how the flexibility of palm trees helps them adapt and ultimately be strengthened by hurricanes.
CBC-TV Interview: https://youtu.be/rUWGr_GwzhM
Related Post: You hold the key.
Which is why we must make the conscious decision to talk about our blessings more than our challenges. Our strengths more than our stressors. Our excitement more than our fears. Our possibilities more than our problems.
But we have to see them to know them.
Related Post: Set a time limit on negativity.
Surrender your fears, your resistance, your excuses.
Little changes make a big difference.
They add up over time.
And ultimately have more staying power.
Begin the transformation process with a daily habit.
Something that you do automatically – without thinking.
Start with what’s right in front of you.
Literally in the palm of your hand.
Put your phone down. Look up. Breathe in deeply. For five minutes at a time.
Every time you hear it beep – take a full on tech break.
A spa session for the mind.
A hello to the world moment.
A reminder to seek joy.
Time to breathe deeply.
To stretch fully.
To grab life by the horns.
No more unrelenting trials.
Lay down your burdens.
You have strengthened from your burdens.
You have developed. You have grown.
Trust your wisdom. Trust your wings.
How can two people experience the same stressful event and react in incredibly different ways? What explains the difference between stress thrivers and non-thrivers?
“Resilience is what gives people the psychological strength to cope with stress. They understand that setbacks happen and sometimes life is hard and painful. They still experience the emotional pain, grief, and sense of loss that comes after a tragedy, but their mental outlook allows them to work through such feelings and recover.” Source: Living Well
Stress hardiness is a pathway to resilience – the ability to remain healthy and strong during stressful and challenging times.
Hardy individuals transform stressful circumstances into growth opportunities by reframing adversity and taking direct action in response to stress.
– Focusing on the things you can change and letting go of the things you can’t.
E.g., “You hold the key.”
– Reframing stressful challenges as opportunities for growth.
E.g., “Strength Training.“
– Envisioning a higher purpose above and beyond the immediate stressor.
E.g., “Ask yourself why you started.“
Each component a critical factor in cultivating the ability to bounce back and thrive under pressure.
Yes! Research demonstrates that not only can stress hardiness be learned, it has wide-ranging applications in health and wellness, including:
1. Lowering test anxiety in high school students.
2. Reducing perceived stress in college students.
3. Protecting against war-related stress in Army Reserve forces.
4. Improving resilience and coping skills in stressed out professionals.
Video of Post: https://youtu.be/NUh9qqA0x3Y
Some lessons happen over a lifetime. Others happen in an instant.
Either way, the paradox of strength is that it develops though pain.
Each misfortune cultivates a renewed appreciation.
Each obstacle fosters a new level of perseverance.
Each sadness teaches a greater depth of compassion.
Each challenge harvests a new field of possibilities.
We must fall down to rise up.
Again and again and again.
Related Post: I've never met a strong person with an easy past.