Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Losing the Numbers Person

Here is another challenge from BOUNCE BACK a serious game of mental toughness and resilience. The game should be available in late summer/early fall.
So here is the challenge. You are divorced. You have been divorced for just a few months. Your ex-spouse was a numbers person, the one who handled the finances in the marriage. You weren’t involved in that to the degree that maybe you should have been. This is one of the issues that possibly led up to your separation and divorce. You’re on your own now, and your salary must be managed intelligently. How would you use the skills and the attitudes of resilience to do this?
Obviously, you need to connect with others and others that can perhaps teach you or guide you in developing a budget and managing your finances. One of the ways to deal with stress is to simply develop the skills and the attitudes that you need to make the situation less stressful. Make a plan. Get some help in thinking about your finances. Communicate. Talk with others about how they manage a budget. All of this requires that you are willing to admit that you don’t have all the answers and you don’t have all the skills that you need to do this.
So make a plan and take action to carry it out. And deal with whatever feelings may come up, such as embarrassment. You can’t deal with the situation or seek assistance unless you’re willing to admit that there is a problem and that you may lack some of the knowledge or skill required to deal with it.
You may also find that as you are attempting to do this, a lot of old feelings will come up about the marriage and the divorce. Deal with those. You may need to talk about them. But first of all, you need to admit that they exist, if they do.
There are other ideas that you may have and others may have about how to deal with this situation. Consider the other skills and the attitudes of resilience and how they might apply. Think this through and talk with others. We all have problems managing our money quite often, and we all need some help sometimes in being able to make a budget and to improve our skills in this area. Communication with others will be a key in responding to this challenge. Managing the feelings that come up around doing this will also be important, as well as finding good advisers and others who can help you learn the skills of money management. Make a plan and carry it out.
We will present another challenge in our next blog.

The Immigrant: How resilience can help immigrants adapt

We are a nation built by immigrants. Many in our society seem to have forgotten this. Giving up one’s home and trying to make a new home in a country far away and unfamiliar is a difficult process. The skills and attitudes of resilience are certainly key to being able to make a successful transition. 
In past months, we have been presenting challenges and discussing possible ways of dealing with them, using the skills and the attitudes of resilience. The challenges are from a game, a serious game, that teaches these skills and attitudes called Bounce Back. We hope to have a final electronic version of Bounce Back out by the end of this summer. So, as we have done in previous blogs, assume that you are in the situation that we will describe and then detail how you will deal with the challenge that the situation presents.
You have newly arrived in this country and you’re trying hard to learn English. You’re taking a class and getting some tutoring, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Your reading skills are improving, but you still have difficulty understanding the announcers on television or the radio. You’re embarrassed when you have to ask people to repeat themselves. Your friends often pretend to understand, even when they don’t.
What are the skills and the attitudes of resilience that will help you master the new language and deal with others regarding your challenges in learning English?
Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to work with the immigrant community in Portland. Many are seeking asylum from persecution in other countries, specifically Africa. They have taught me a lot about the skills and the attitudes of resilience that they have applied to deal with moving to Maine and trying to make a life in our country. One of the key elements and skills is being able to connect with others. Being able to establish relationships and friendships and being able to seek the assistance of others in succeeding in this transition.
Another skill and attitude that many have difficulty with is being able to recognize and deal with the feelings that they have which are very understandable. It is a fear-provoking process to find yourself in a foreign land and to not be able to speak the language. Recognizing and dealing with these strong feelings is key to being able to succeed in a new country. Communication is critical. And that, of course, is the problem that you are going to have to overcome in a new country is you must learn the language if you are going to be able to establish yourself and make a successful life for yourself in a new world.
While you are doing this, it is important to keep in mind the bigger picture. This is a transition. This is temporary. It will not be permanent. You will learn the language. You will connect with others. You will succeed.
And, of course, blaming yourself is not helpful. English is a very difficult language to learn. Some of us, especially the young, have an easier time of it than older adults. Give yourself a break. Blaming yourself and being angry with yourself is not going to help you to succeed.
Like persons with a disability, individuals who have faced adversity, such as persecution in their home country and survived, have learned a great deal about resilience. Many of the skills they have used there are the same as the ones that they will use to make a new life in this country .
We’re sure that there are other ideas that you may have or others may have about how to deal with the situation and apply the skills and the attitudes of resilience. We would encourage you to talk with others about this challenge and how they might deal with the situation. Connecting with others, communicating, dealing with your feelings, and keeping a positive perspective are critical to being able to deal with this challenge.
We will present another challenge in our next blog.