Right now, as we are in the midst of a difficult, unprecedented time in our lives, I’d like to offer you an opportunity to practice resourcing. If you’re already resourcing yourself, I’d like to offer you a chance to become more conscious and deliberate about it.
As a licensed psychologist specializing in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other functional gastrointestinal disorders (also known as brain-gut disorders), I have learned how important resourcing is as a life-long practice, skill, and habit. Resourcing is important for all of us, regardless of our circumstances. In challenging times like the current pandemic, resourcing is even more important. This is especially true if you are dealing with IBS or some other physiological problem that brings physical pain into your life.
What Makes You Feel Good?
So, what do I mean by resourcing?
Resourcing means several things. It means that you are engaging in certain behaviors or activities that both feel good and are beneficial to your health in some way. Resourcing also means that you are engaging with people, animals, nature, your spirituality or religion, and your environment in ways that feel good and are beneficial to your health in some way.
Many of our most fulfilling moments involve the people we most enjoy. Sometimes doing nothing with someone who relates to you in ways that feel good can be highly enjoyable.
Typically, resourcing relationships tend to be with people in our lives who are kind, loving, gentle, generous, affectionate, warm, and trustworthy. Relationships that feel resourcing tend to be healthy, mutually satisfying, playful, fun, nurturing, and trusting. While relationships can at times be challenging, relationships that resource you primarily fill you up rather than consistently drain you.
Resourcing behavior, activities, moments, and people generate pleasant feelings and sensations. That doesn’t mean we block out any unpleasant feelings and sensations that naturally arise while engaging in resourcing activities. It just means that the pleasantness outweighs the unpleasantness, so it ends up being a value-added experience.
Resourcing is essentially filling up with what and whom feel good to us. No matter how short-lived, any moment or activity that makes you feel good is significant. A resource could be as short-lived as a fleeting moment of smelling a flower to hours spent on a long hike.
Make a Comprehensive Resource List
Now, I’d like to encourage you to make a list of all the resources you have in your life, whether or not you are engaging with them every day and whether or not they are possible in our current situation with the coronavirus. Pretend for a moment that the coronavirus never happened and make the list that you would have made before the pandemic began. No, you can’t attend a large sporting event right now, but if this is something that brings you joy, include it anyways.
Let me give you some examples. Here are some of the resources on my list:
First, I love my morning coffee. Every morning, I have a double espresso with milk. My life would just not be as enjoyable if I didn’t have my morning espresso and milk. I love every aspect of it. As I’m smelling it percolating, as I’m feeling the warmth of the cup, as I’m taking each sip, I am savoring every second of enjoyment. It’s not a big thing, but that espresso really shifts how I feel in the morning because I’m so focused on the pleasure it gives me.
The beauty of nature is also on my resource list. Watching the sky, the clouds, sunsets, the moon, the trees, and the flowers makes me feel amazing. I’ve been really enjoying spring in North Carolina this year. It has probably been the loveliest spring we’ve had since moving here, and I’m savoring the beauty I see every time I go outside.
Another resource on my list is snuggling with my loved ones, including my husband, my son, and our cat. Our cat, in particular, loves to cozy up to me and snuggle. When he lays on my chest and purrs, it’s truly the best. We do this just about every day in some form or another, and frankly I think we both need it right now!
Do these moments I savor so much last a long time? No. But as often as they happen (or as often as I can make them happen), I am enjoying every moment.
Sometimes, it’s hard to focus on the goodness of these moments, especially when I’m not in a good mood. But it’s important for all of us to shift the focus to feeling good when we have the opportunity, because these moments may not happen frequently over the course of a particular day, week, or month. So, I want you to really milk these moments for all their goodness! In fact, I’d love it if you’d post a comment to the blog to let other readers know the resource on your list that you enjoy the most (learning from and connecting to others can also be a great resource!).
Adjust Your List To Fit the Current Situation
Once you have your list of resources, go through it and see how you can adapt your list to fit with the circumstances we are living in right now with the coronavirus. Here’s the key: instead of focusing on what isn’t possible right now, focus on what is possible, and when you work towards letting go of what isn’t possible right now, try letting yourself feel the feelings of grief that might go along with letting go. Grief always accompanies loss or letting go. If you allow yourself to feel it, it will pass, opening the door to accepting and enjoying what is actually possible.
Would you be willing to substitute more of the small things on your list for some of the bigger things like sporting events and concerts that you feel passionate about?
Connecting with people right now is challenging. It’s difficult to travel, to see certain people in person, and to hug people. See what you can do to adapt to that situation. Maybe you can get on a Zoom or phone call every day with at least one person on your resource list. If it’s really difficult to coordinate at the last minute, try scheduling ahead so it’s guaranteed to happen. And feel what you feel about all of this while you work towards adapting to and accepting the situation as it is.
Try to find creative ways to involve people you love in activities you once did together. It’s not ideal, but would you be willing to invite people to participate in the things you typically do together using the phone or Zoom the way kids engage in parallel play? If you typically watch movies together, why not watch a movie together while on speaker phone or on Zoom? If you typically cook or bake together, why not cook or bake together in your own homes while on speaker phone or Zoom? You may not be physically in the same house with them, but you can talk together while doing something you mutually enjoy.
Engage in Resourcing With Awareness
And as you engage in resourcing, make sure you are shifting your attention very deliberately to your body. Notice what happens in you as you resource yourself. Part of resourcing yourself is bringing your awareness to the present-moment experience of whatever it is you’re doing. Being fully present as you’re resourcing yourself gives your whole body an opportunity to bask in the moments of goodness, to take it in, and to fill up on it. That little bit of effort repeated many times throughout your day goes a long way towards promoting ease, flow, inner peace, joy, love, relief, and healing.
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Healing is a process. You know the destination. I’ve got the roadmap.
Don’t hate your guts. Instead, discover how to heal your body.