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Cultivating Resilience

"When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender heart. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares."

- Henri J.M. Nouwen"

The quality of our relationships has a significant impact on our confidence, self-worth, and psychological adjustment. As we mature and gain wisdom, many become more adept at determining the relationships that add worth to their lives. When we are younger, often hindered by insecurities and lack of clarity, we are frequently in unhealthy relationships. As we navigate ourselves to healthier relationships, we experience more safety, security, and contentment.


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"Character is identity"

Heraclitus, 535-475 BC, Athens, Greece

Character is highly correlated with success. As we continue to push our kids in academics and sports, we fail to recognize that mentoring in kindness, generosity, selflessness, and gratitude is essential to that person's ultimate happiness. When I have the good fortune to know a young person who shines with character, I go out of my way to let them know what I observe and try, in some way, to acknowledge those traits actively.


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“Motherhood: All love begins and ends there.”

- Robert Browning

On a recent walk, my friend, Ann, quoted her mother in response to something we were discussing. Our discussion planted the seed for reaching out to woman friends and asking them to share quotes, lessons learned, or the personality traits of their mothers. The unconscious mind is a powerful thing. It was not until I had embarked on this project that I realized that this past April was the 20th anniversary of my mom's death. I am grateful to have heard so many beautiful memories about our mothers. I have also been impressed with how many of my friends embody the traits and wisdom of their moms.


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"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

-George Bernard Shaw

The Rewire workshops are based on the model of neuroplasticity. The definition of neuroplasticity is, "the ability of the brain to form and reorganize synaptic connections, especially in response to learning or experience or following injury."


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"To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but what he aspires to"

- Khalil Gibran 

The Rewire workshop has been through many transformations over the past several years. Initially, we taught skills based on diagnosis; chronic pain, anxiety, and depression. We realized that the skills work for everyone and moved to the model of opening the workshop to motivated individuals looking to improve their capacity to cope effectively.


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"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears"

- Nelson Mandela

This weekend, we will be setting our clocks ahead one hour. With the loss of an hour comes the promise of spring. The apple orchards have a pink hue that softens the landscape. This has always been my favorite time of year, but this year feels even more hopeful and exciting. Anticipation of brighter days, warmer temperatures, and more freedom to be with family and friends has inspired joy and gratitude. Buds are forming on the trees, birds sing loudly in the morning, and bulbs are starting to appear through the melting snow.


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"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

- Winston Churchill

Have you ever found yourself dwelling on a negative comment? Our brains have a negativity bias. This means that we are more apt to see what is wrong, rather than what is right. We are all aware of the tendency to look at the glass half empty versus the glass half full. Looking at things from a negative perspective is believed to be a result of evolution. It was adaptive to consider what was wrong, or what could be wrong.


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Laura Lombardi, LICSW, and Carolyn Morgan, Ph.D., are excited to announce that we will be teaching REWIRE to the staff at SNHU starting March 17th as participants in SNHU’s Annual Mindfulness Training. 


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“Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being.”

- Stella McCartney

Recently, I have been reading, writing, and discussing the relationship between vulnerability and shame. These are not easy topics to metabolize, understand, discuss, or apply. Fortunately, I have people who are equally interested in these topics. This can lead to some intense conversations. Today, I was involved in one of these serious discussions with someone on zoom. Very surprisingly, from my phone, Siri stated, “I am sorry but I don’t understand what you are saying.” The individual on zoom heard it as well. After we enjoyed a good laugh, it occurred to me that I could have responded to Siri with the statement, “You and me both…”

The capacity to laugh, even in the face of challenging times, is a gift. When we laugh, we become immediately present in the moment with the experience of happiness and/or joy. 


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"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." 

- Albert Einstein

Gratitude is one of the skills that we teach in Rewire. Studies demonstrate that the practice of gratitude is associated with mental and physical health benefits, including lowered blood pressure and improved immune system function. Dr. Emmons, a professor of psychology at UC Davis, suggests that the benefits of gratitude practice arise from being present focused and concentrated on what we have versus what is absent. The consistent practice of gratitude brightens our outlook on life and ultimately helps our mood.


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"Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience in your life."

-Tony Robbins

Our minds are never quiet. Dwelling in the past, or worrying about the future, pulls us out of the moment and places an unwelcome burden on our lives. However, reminiscing about a happy time may bring a smile to our faces and warmth to our hearts. If we are anticipating a joyous event, we may experience excitement and hope. The same mind that we count on for problem solving and planning can bring us times of stress, anxiety, and sadness.


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"Emotional intelligence is the ability to sense, understand, and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, and influence."

-Robert K. Cooper, Ph.D.

Our hope and intention for both the Rewire workshops, as well as Growing Resilience, is to empower people through the tenets of positive psychology. We all struggle as we live our lives. However, suffering can diminish with more knowledge about our emotional and cognitive life. We all know what it is like to feel overwhelmed by intense emotions as well as hijacked by troubling thoughts. As our life unfolds, we have experiences that shape our beliefs about ourselves and the world at large. Sometimes these thought patterns can make change difficult. 

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"Taking a second look at our first impulse, thought or reaction"

-Thich Nhat Hanh

The Miracle of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is an effective way to create change. Although we often instinctively pull away from painful or uncomfortable emotions, mindfulness directs us to notice the experience without judgement. If we are anxious, angry, sad, happy, or hopeful, mindfulness affords us the opportunity to first notice what is our internal experience and then work towards helpful action. This process, that gets easier with practice, helps reduce the likelihood of reacting in a way we may later regret. We are often on autopilot and lack full awareness of our options. The pause that is created by being mindful opens us up to consider various ways of proceeding forward.

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Radical Acceptance

"The first step toward change is awareness, the second step is acceptance."

-Nathaniel Branden

This is the capacity to face the reality of a situation where every part of our being is screaming out that it cannot be true or we do not want it to be true. It is an active, dynamic process of no longer resisting the reality of a situation. The emotions that come with the difficult event or situation or also very hard to accept. One of the clearest examples would be the death of someone we love.

The radical part means that it comes from deep within us. Acceptance is a process and it is rare, when the situation or emotion is difficult, that it happens without a conscious working effort.

The more practiced we become in acceptance of relatively small things, the more likely we can apply it to the more challenging things in life.

How does the practice of acceptance help us? Radical acceptance allows one to suffer less. It does not take away the pain of the situation but allows one to cope with the issue at hand (without the added layers of suffering that come with the insistence that what is - is not or cannot be true).