Advice from a life coach: How to develop a ‘resilience mindset’ in times of adversity

(Photo courtesy of Brandee Gerke)

“How can you make this obstacle your greatest gift?”
— Brandee Gerke

“As a life coach, I help people become clear about desired changes they want in their life,” said Brandee Gerke on Wednesday’s Juneau Afternoon. “The first thing we want to do is get people into a resourceful and positive place.”

Gerke is a Juneau-based life coach who runs Thrive Life Coaching. Gerke frames her coaching strategies around what she calls a “resilience mindset,” or the capacity to navigate change and adversity.

“We can keep moving forward in life in spite of all of these uncertainties,” said Gerke. “I’d love to see all of us come out on the other side of this experience with a stronger resilience mindset which will serve us for the rest of our lives.”

Here are two of Gerke’s strategies for reframing adversity and cultivating a resilience mindset.

Practice redirecting attention toward the good in your life

“What we think about expands,” Gerke explained.

She shared her own practice to expand joy in her life, working against the pervasive anxiety that comes from only attending to bad news.

“I would invite people to place focus on what is going right. A very common practice is a gratitude practice: Look around, pause, take a second to remember what you’re grateful for in the moment. A way to really expand the benefits of that is to share with someone else and to get their perspectives on what they’re grateful for. Those conversations will be really reinforcing on finding what’s going right,” said Gerke.

Equip yourself for the challenge of social isolation and distancing

Referring to a previous Juneau Afternoon interview with therapist Dr. Elaine Schroeder, Gerke emphasized the importance of setting up structures and resources to move through social isolation.

(Creative Commons illustration by Michael Driver)

“I have an item on my to-do list to connect with a friend every day via phone. Most people are home and more available than ever,” said Gerke.

Gerke caveats that there are limits to life coaching and self-advocacy, urging those who feel paralyzed by anxiety or depression to access a therapist.

There are also many free online resources for mental health:

  • For online therapy: BetterHelp and Talkspace.
  • For educational content: Sounds True, an online learning platform for spiritual healing, meditation and working through emotional uncertainty.

Gerke encouraged listeners to ask themselves, “How can you make this obstacle your greatest gift? Just explore that. See if there are things you can do in this time to make this time work for you,” said Gerke.

Listen to the full interview here:

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