Voices InCourage | Dr. Kate Lund | Power Of Optimism

 

Life is a whirlwind, especially when you’re a parent facing the challenges of your child’s addiction and alcoholism. But guess what? Those challenges don’t define you.

Embrace “The Power of Optimism” with Dr. Kate Lund as we navigate the art of seeing the positive outside of life’s challenges. Learn how to foster change from the inside out and discover how to manage your stress response with the profound impact of cultivating a sense of optimism. After all, true resilience starts with a mindset shift.

We’ll share practical tips and insights to help you navigate the tough times and emerge stronger on the other side. In our quest for resilience, we’ll explore the significance of developing a routine that works for you. If you’re a parent trying to manage the chaos of the storm of addiction, this podcast is for you!

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Dr. Kate Lund On The Power Of Optimism

In this episode, I have an extraordinary guest who’s joining us, Dr. Kate Lund. She’s going to weave in her story in the midst of our conversation, but I think you’re in for a super treat. We are going to dive deep into peak performance and resiliency. My belief at this point in the world that we’re living in right now is that our world is running faster than our brains are. We’re going to touch on that. If we’re not already in the storm of what is taking place right now, geopolitically with AI having emerged and now becoming a thing and all the things that are swirling around. Arguably, this decade is going to be one of the biggest changes decades of our entire lives, and it will rival the last change of the last 100 years.

This is a big reason to have this conversation. How do you navigate and thrive in the midst of the chaos of your life and the world that you’re living in if you’re not skilled at this point? Dr. Kate Lund is joining us to give us some insights and her own journey of resiliency at a high level what she has learned and what she coaches, trains, and teaches, so I’m going to turn it over to you.

Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it. I’m grateful to be here. Thank you. I’ve had a lifelong passion for this whole area of resilience and peak performance. As a result mostly of my own experiences growing up as a young child with a medical condition that had me in and out of the hospital, having to return to school, looking and feeling different, and needing to find a way through those hard moments. It didn’t happen immediately and it didn’t happen overnight, but it happened with time, but primarily with the support of my parents, my family, and the parents of friends of mine. The fortunate event was that one day I picked up a tennis racket and found that I loved tennis. That became a lifelong passion and was the foundation of how I built my sense of self and my strength despite the challenges.

You’ve touched on a couple of things that are important to me. One is the physicality of our experience as a human and that those things that we grab a hold of physically that are our passions I think is one of the foundational pieces for our ability to thrive. That’s one piece. I backpack and hike. It’s non-negotiable in my world. It keeps me sane.

Tennis for you is fantastic. The other piece that I want you to give some more airtime to is I believe that 95% of our successes or failures are directly determined by who we surround ourselves with and the community that we build. I want people to understand that it’s important that you be choiceful about that community and that you don’t wait for it to show up. If you would speak to that piece.

Let’s touch on the physicality piece first because I totally agree. That’s integral to our ability to show up in the world, to maximize our potential within our own unique context, and all of it. When I was a young child my sense of body integrity was challenged at points. There were a lot of things that physically were hard for me and that I couldn’t do because it would mess with my equilibrium or what have you. In time and with the support of those around me, I came to focus on the things I could do, as opposed to things I couldn’t do. That has been immensely important to me.

Voices InCourage | Dr. Kate Lund | Power Of Optimism
Power Of Optimism: The physical piece is integral to our ability to show up in the world and maximize our potential within our unique context.

 

Tennis came into the mix. It’s non-contact. I became pretty good at it, quite good at it, and was the cornerstone of my identity. I think that having a sense of body integrity in that way within our own unique context. We can’t do everything. We’re not all going to be able to, and there were a lot of things that were difficult. If we can focus on the things that we can do as opposed to those that we can’t, I think we’re going to be in much better shape. It’s going to be important in terms of maximizing potential long-term.

That’s another huge thread to pull, this whole notion of, are we trying to strengthen our weaknesses? Are we looking for strengths that already are uniquely designed? We all have a genius. We all have strengths. This is a big school of discussion, certainly in business but in the world of addiction because we tend to focus on what’s wrong with the addict, and we’re going to fix them, which is a failed strategy and a failed paradigm. We then give as a loved one, like I’m the mom of a recovering addict. I chose to work hard at not staying in the crisis of his disease but to be able to thrive in the midst of his disease.

That is such an important point. I love that because you’re spot on. It’s a lot of the work I do at this point with parents who have children who are struggling, whether it be a language-based learning disability, a physical illness, a physical disability, or what have you. I work with parents to try to find what’s right with their children. Of course, we have to manage through the challenges. We have to acknowledge and contend with the challenges because those are real and those are in front of us.

We’ve got to look beyond those also to find what’s right with the child. What they can do as opposed to what they can’t do. Where their strengths are that will then help them to circumvent the challenge that they’re facing. In your case, your son with the addiction, what is he bringing to the table that will help him circumvent the addiction or the challenge that we’re working with? We need to look beyond that. I love the point that you made. Thank you.

I’ve had a guest on that I adore. His name’s Dr. Bill Crawford. He is out of Houston. He wrote a book called, Life from the Top of the Mind. One of the things that he so eloquently talks about is we almost have to look beyond the addiction, or beyond the affliction, or beyond the thing that we’re “treating.” To see beyond that to the magnificence of the spirit that is before us. The genius that inherently resides in that person, no matter what they’re dealing with and help by seeing that, help them begin to entertain the notion that that does in fact exist and to grow that more and more, so it becomes more the center point than the disease or the affliction or whatever it is that they’re dealing with.

It’s central to help folks, challenged or not, to see the possibility on the other side of whatever it is they’re dealing with. To then celebrate the small successes along the way as they move towards that possibility. That’s key because oftentimes as human nature, we want to go from 0 to 60 all at once. Change doesn’t happen that way. Change is not a linear process. It’s a circular process with a lot of stops, starts, sideways, deviations, and all the things. To be able to take that step back and look at what’s gone well and where have those small successes been and try to integrate those as we move towards that possibility is so important.

Could you speak to the other side of the equation, which is the parents? I grew up with a brother who was seriously ill as a young baby, basically, but it took up so much space in my household. I don’t remember my parents taking care of themselves. I don’t even know exactly where I got this notion that this was mission-critical in dealing with my son’s addiction. I had to put my oxygen mask on first.

Spot on. Mission-critical, I love that phrase. That’s perfect. That captures it. I’m writing a book as we speak on resilient parenting. At the foundation of this book is this idea. I have sixteen-year-old twin boys, so I’m a parent too. How we as parents are caring for ourselves and how that’s incredibly vital in managing through and beyond the challenges that our kids are facing, big or small. For you, with your son with significant challenges in the addiction domain, absolutely. It’s mission-critical to get your oxygen mask on first. I’m constantly talking to folks about that and where I start with folks. I’m curious about what’s worked well for you. I know the backpacking and the physical outlets and such, but what else? It’s this idea of managing stress response and making that a cornerstone of your routine.

If we’re starting from a modulated space and a stressor hits, we might ride the wave. If we’re starting up here, a stressor hits, and we escalate to shut down, then we’re not going to be able to help our kids. Our health, our wellness, and our overall sense of self are going to suffer. It’s so vital and all the things to look out there are important.

This is where I geek out on the brain science. From a simplistic perspective, brainstem versus neocortex. I didn’t want to constantly be in fight, flight, or freeze. Partly because that’s a crappy place to live but I also knew that it was having a significant impact on my body. I did not want my body awash in cortisol and my immune system to be deteriorating in the midst of trying to navigate this disease. That’s part of this equation, but what I would say is a stress response.

I have a whole big regimen of things that I do. What I would say is there’s a body of work out there called Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine. That is a program that I adopted that is helping rewire my neural pathways for my resiliency. Reactions are much tighter now, much quicker, and much stronger. I’m able to be aware and shift in sometimes minutes versus a day. I joke now because somebody will say, “I’ve had a bad day.” I’m like, “Seriously, you had a whole bad day?” That’s one thing. In terms of rewiring to thrive in the midst of the chaos. I think you’ll appreciate this. I have a clarity of intention about thriving that is non-negotiable.

Say more about that. I’m curious.

When we first became aware that Sam was in serious trouble with this addiction and reached out to some other sources, it became pretty clear that people were in crisis mode or they wanted to just survive this. I was like, “No, I certainly don’t want to stay in crisis, but I’m not about surviving this. I want to thrive in the midst of this.” It’s because I have this great life. I have a great marriage. I have great friends. I have a great business. Sam is this one bubble in all these other bubbles. I was like, “I’m not going to give up my entire power or my life to that one bubble.

That makes all the sense in the world. That’s exactly what I work with people on as well, to not let that challenge, whatever that might be or however big it might be, to define them, to define their life and experience. To find ways to thrive despite it is so important.

Tell our audience a little bit about what are some suggestions or coaching that you give to clients who are parents of children who are dealing with something. In terms of their own self-care and their own potential to thrive in the midst of dealing with whatever they’re dealing with.

In the big picture, it might sound counterintuitive, but we want parents to step away from the chaos, to step out of the intensity. Not all the time, but for sure in multiple moments during the course of the day. Always start with folks to build a regime and build a routine around managing their stress response. There’s no one-size-fits-all. Maybe that’ll look like mindful breathing. Maybe it’ll look like meditation. Maybe it’ll look like jumping on the Peloton every morning or taking a 3-mile walk through the neighborhood. Maybe even a walk around the block. It all depends on who the person is and where they’re starting from.

Managing that stress response at a foundational level is so important. Also, finding areas of passion as you’ve mentioned. Things that you can do as a parent to bolster your sense of yourself. That’s going to add to your ability to be happy and to thrive despite the challenge that’s swirling around. Social support, you mentioned that as well, having great friends and such is so important. Connecting with folks, maybe calling a friend at some point that you haven’t talked to in a while, or grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend.

Anything that allows you to connect outside of yourself and outside of the challenge. Talking about things beyond the challenge. We don’t always have to be rehashing the hard stuff in our life. Thinking about what’s going well as opposed to what’s not going well. We’ve got a great exercise that I use with a lot of folks in my coaching called the Daily Wins exercise. Essentially, at the end of each day, we sit down and think about 3 to 5 things that went well on that given day because human nature leads us to the things that didn’t go well. It leads us to think about what we should have done, what we could have done, and why are we so this or that.

Put that aside for a little bit and focus on the things that did go well and keep a running list so you can refer back. It’s helpful exercise with kids as well. I have a lot of parents doing this with their kids, and they can keep their own versions of the list. That’s important. Also, nutrition, sleep, and all of these things to try to dial those things in because parenting is exhausting in and of itself. We’ve got to maintain that foundation with or without challenge.

Those are all spot on. What I routinely ask parents is, “How are you sleeping?” For me, it’s one of the top three things that are most important. If you’re not sleeping, you’re not restoring. Helping people get back to restorative sleep as a baseline, that’s one thing. What I loved about the daily wins because I was also thinking about gratitude. Gratitude has so many benefits that go with it. It’s ridiculous. That falls in that category.

What I love about the daily wins and capturing them is you keep stacking them. Stacking wins is psychologically, in my world, super important because we tend to focus on the things that didn’t go right or we messed up. We tend to stack those instead of the wins, the joys, the things that brought us a smile, or those kinds of things. Stacking them in my world is super important too.

I couldn’t agree more. Stacking wins, and then also this notion of gratitude because there’s so much power in gratitude. Alongside a parallel process to the daily wins is thinking each day about the things that we’re grateful for within the context of our world. That’s another great one to do with our kids. What this does is foster an inherent sense of optimism. Optimism is an important pillar of resilience, a resilient outlook, a resilient mindset, and being resilient in general.

It’s one of the pillars of the resilient child and the soon-to-be resilient parent that I outlined in my first book, Bounce: Help Your Child Build Resilience and Thrive In School, Sports, and Life. Optimism was one of the pillars that I wrote about because of my own lived experience, as well as watching my kids grow up, as well as my 20-plus years of clinical experience working with hundreds of people coming to the table with various challenges and issues, optimism and that ability to see the possibility on the other side of the challenge is so key.

Voices InCourage | Dr. Kate Lund | Power Of Optimism
Bounce: Help Your Child Build Resilience and Thrive In School, Sports and Life

I’ve seen it time and time again anecdotally, as well as in the research. There’s a lot of research out there, particularly in the positive psychology domain. Otherwise, about the power of optimism. Gratitude and focusing on the things that did go well as opposed to the things that we’re struggling with help to build our sense of optimism. I personally believe it’s vital.

I would totally agree with you. What I’m thinking about is also tied to addiction, but I’ve had parents say to me, “What is there to be optimistic about? My son, or daughter, or my friend, or my spouse has a potentially life-threatening disorder. They could die at any moment. How can I even remotely thrive? That seems silly.” That’s using a kind word. “How can I be optimistic?” Do you ever run into people who are like, “That’s not even possible.”

It’s where they are at that moment. It’s understandable. They’re mired in the challenge. It’s understandable how one could get there and how one could get stuck there. The first piece there is trying to understand in an authentic human way where that parent or where that person is coming from, and try to understand their experience. Over time, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all, and it’s definitely not a “we can push a button to make this happen” type of thing.

To help co-construct or uncover some of the things that they aren’t able to at that moment when they’re saying, “There’s nothing to be optimistic about here.” Uncovering over time the small wins, the small glimmers of hope, the small pieces within them that are going well. Helping them to connect with things that drive passion and happiness outside of the challenge. It’s very important, but again, not a one-size-fits-all. It’s a process that has to evolve over time.

The other thing that I found is I routinely ask permission. In my earlier days, I used to think, “If they knew, they would do it differently or that they wanted to know.” I realized not everybody wants to know. Quite frankly, not everybody wants to do it differently. I had to learn to put my agenda aside and re-examine my own beliefs about this because that’s who I am. It’s like, “New information.” Not everybody wants to do that. Do you find yourself in that place too, where you’re asking permission and you’re poking around to see what are the possibilities here that we could take a little toehold on and build from?

Definitely. That’s all part of exploring the experience of the other person. I find that in my work, my lived experience is in the background as a framework. I never put my own experience upfront such that that kind of thing. It’s separate but it’s a guide in the back of my mind. It comes down to understanding where somebody is. Where they are in the change process. Maybe helping them through discussion and through one technique is motivational interviewing, which uncovers the process, and helps somebody engage in the process of change over time. That’s a piece that I use a lot. It’s also important to let folks embrace or engage in the process of change at their own pace because as coaches and therapists, we can never force the process of change because change has to come from the inside out.

As coaches and therapists, we can never force the process of change because change has to come from the inside out. Click To Tweet

As you’re saying that, what I thought about was how inherently foundational trust is.

Trust is huge. Trust will be built out of that initial alliance that we have with the person that we’re working with. Helping them to see you as coming to work with the desire to understand their experience on a human level, to understand how hard things are in this moment, and to co-construct the change process from there.

Are you getting to work with a lot of parents who have children who are dealing with diseases or challenges, and then focus on helping the parents get their lives back, so to speak?

That’s the bulk of my work at this point, working with the parents around. The thing is as the parents are dialing in their own self-care plan and their own foundation, the ideas that they’re passing along to their children are helping their kids become more resilient in the process. There’s a bit of a parallel process, but I’m working directly with the parents.

The other thing that routinely comes up in the world that I live in, we happen to be walking through different doors. One of the things that routinely comes up, and I coach parents in terms of if you can teach your kids to ask for help, you have created a habit of behavior that is counter-cultural and will serve them at an order two of magnitude that you don’t begin to know at this point.

Yes, because the ability to advocate for oneself and ask for help when needed is so vital. It’s not something that comes naturally or easily to many people. Coaching folks on the importance of that is very important. Helping parents to model all of these things that we’re working on building for the parents, to model that for the kids is powerful.

The ability to advocate for yourself and ask for help when needed is so vital. Click To Tweet

That’s who the kids are looking at.

They’re watching so much more than we even recognize.

For sure. I have said, assuming Sam comes out the other side of rehab, and he’s been in multiple rehabs at this point and multiple recoveries at this point. I wanted to be a healthy parent when he popped out the other side. I wanted to have done my work while he was doing his work.

That is so powerful because you’re modeling for him the importance of doing the work from the inside out. If you were just standing on the sideline saying, “It’s your problem. I’m here to support you but…” It’s not nearly as effective. You are doing your own work. You’re going through your own process of strengthening and change. It’s the most powerful support that you can give to a child who’s struggling.

The way that I think about the world is that there are always gifts and lessons embedded in every experience. Through Sam’s journey, I’ve grabbed a hold of these painful drop-your-knees losing-it moments as an opportunity for me to rise to another level of consciousness and another level of peak performance as a human. To stretch what I understood my beliefs to be and reexamine them. There are so many things there. Do you get to the point with your parents where you are able to have discussions? Truly, what are the gifts and lessons embedded in this journey?

It all depends. It’s not a one-size-fits-all in any of the work that I’m doing, but there are instances where that has happened because folks have come out on the other side of the challenge, or they have developed a newfound passion for something, whether it’d be a sport or take up running as an outlet, and then end up going on to do marathons, or improving their time in something, or starting to compete in triathlon. At that point, that discussion very well might arise.

I don’t know that I’ve ever asked one of my guests this before, but I’m super curious as to what was the moment that you knew that this was your life’s work.

Unconsciously, it was quite early. When I was back in middle school, fifth grade or so, I was convinced I was going to be a pediatrician. That was my thing. I was excited about it. I then had quite a significant medical setback where I was out of school for months and months and got behind in math and off track and came back. I somehow developed these self-limiting beliefs around math and science. All of a sudden, I defined myself as not good at those things. Who knows if that was even true, but that was a trend that followed me through the rest of my schooling. Through graduate school even. You should have seen what happened in statistics, but it’s a whole other story.

I have a similar story.

Somewhere within there, I focused more on the behavioral sciences particularly when I got to high school and also finding ways to give back. I was excited about animals. I spent tons of time caring for my dogs and making sure that they were okay. That translated into volunteering at the hospital. That behavioral science path clicked in. I did that very squarely through college. Graduated with a degree in psychology, but wasn’t ready to go back to graduate school, even though I knew long-term the work that I wanted to do, because I think it was embedded from early on. I went off and worked in entertainment, public relations, and communications doing publicity for a few TV shows. I came out of it thinking, “I’m not getting the meaning that I need in my work here. It’s time to go back and do this other thing.”

At that point, I never looked back. I focused all of my graduate training in psychology. I’m trained as a child psychologist, even though I’m doing mostly adult work now. Working within major medical settings with kids and families trying to help them create that new sense of normal on the other side of a diagnosis. It’s a little bit of a tangential answer, but it goes way back. The knowledge or my understanding or my sense of what I was meant to do.

I think my story would be that that’s probably true for a lot of people who have consciously evolved to their calling. It is that those threads were way back when. In retrospect, we can see how the dots might be connected. When we don’t necessarily see them when those dots are happening. One thing that you said that I think was important from my perspective was the pets piece. There’s a lot to be said for pet therapy, hippotherapy, and all kinds of things. There’s an unconditional love that goes with having a pet that transcends other ways of healing.

I could not agree more. I’ve got a few examples on the pet front. Back when I was a child, I had a dog, an Airedale named Peanut. Peanut was everything to me. I worried about Peanut. I wanted to make sure she was okay. I would spend hours sitting with her outside. There was one point when she was sick, and I did go down and sleep with her in the garage. My mom made the dog sleep in the garage. Yes, this is true. Not in today’s world where they’re everywhere. That was the foundation. Dogs have been a central facet of my life ever since. Recently, I trained and certified my two-year-old Brittany Doodle, Wall-e, to be a therapy dog. He’s a good boy.

I love the name.

He’s a good boy. He looks like a Wall-e too. We go out to an assisted living facility twice a month. We visit a group of seniors there in the activity room at 11:00. It’s amazing, the word has gotten out that this is the Friday that Wall-e’s coming. Last week, there were 40 people in the room. It had started with 15 or 10. Anyway, Wall-e is a hit there. It’s very sweet. It’s very heartwarming the way Wall-e will go around. I take him around the circle and he gives each and every person his paw. They rub his ears and they do so much power in that. My hope is to get Wall-e out into some of the children’s hospitals here. I have to do some specific training related to that, but that’s a goal because I do think that there’s so much power in what animals can bring to those who are facing a challenge or suffering.

There's so much power in what animals can bring to those facing a challenge or suffering. Click To Tweet

You have your own story. Peanut was mission-critical for you and one of the pieces to your ability to access your vibrancy, your optimism, and your own resilience.

Peanut was foundational. Peanut was everything. Peanut had birthday parties, birthday cakes, and birthday hats.

Another thing that I’m thinking about in terms of things that people can do for resiliency is talking about laughing buddies. For me, it’s an intentional thing too. I have one friend who I call and I can laugh with. I may create, there have been moments certainly through all of this with Sam that I have said, “This is a safety zone and Sam isn’t allowed in today.”

That goes back to that idea of connecting with folks, purely connecting with them, and not bringing the challenge or the hard things in those moments.

I know another thing relative to the self-care. We’re not all that great at it either in terms of the feelings piece of things.

The idea of self-awareness and what are the things that we’re feeling? What might be in the way of us connecting on some of these other levels? Oftentimes, we want to push through those, pretend they don’t exist, stuff them away, and all that stuff. Not necessarily entirely healthy. Perhaps journaling or taking some time each day to think through. What are some of those emotions? What are some of those hard feelings that might have me bogged down at this point? Sometimes writing that stuff out can be very powerful and can help create that path for moving forward.

Voices InCourage | Dr. Kate Lund | Power Of Optimism
Power Of Optimism: Sometimes, just writing stuff out can be very powerful and can help create that path for moving forward.

 

The way that I think about peak performance is when we’re bogged down by our emotional stuff, it’s like trying to row across the lake while we have the anchor in the water.

It’s like walking through mud backward. That’s the exact thing. Precisely. For some of this, working those thoughts and feelings on a cognitive level is helpful and important. Also then starting though with that foundational stress modulation, whether it be through meditation or deep breathing, or having some sort of a practice that helps you start from that level space.

Your podcast, The Optimized Mind, which I love the title. Can you speak to the intention of your podcast?

The Optimized Mind, and it’s a super fun project, by the way. I love doing the podcast. The big idea of the podcast is that we’re looking at resilience from a human perspective. I’m interviewing folks across domains. Corporate, entrepreneurs, athletes, and parents. There’s always been a challenge of some sort involved. Looking at what folks are out there in the world doing, what they’re bringing to the table, how they’ve moved through and beyond their particular challenges, developing a resilient mindset, a resilient lifestyle, and a resilient outlook. There are some core pieces, similarities, and threads that come out between folks in interviews, but all of our stories look different. It’s looking at how folks have created this sense of resilience within their own unique context. That’s what I’m hoping to capture with the podcast in an authentic and human way.

It’s so valuable to have those kinds of stories out there because we’re not trained in what resiliency is, how to embody it, or how to do it. I think this would be my story right now for sure, and I don’t think it’s ever going to change. The skillset of resiliency is a mission-critical skillset to navigate humanity.

As you mentioned at the outset, the world is a bit topsy-turvy at this point. The more resilient we can all be in moving forward, the better off we’ll be.

Do you have the top three things that you speak to in terms of resiliency?

Do you mean how to build resiliency? How to become as resilient as possible?

Yeah.

The top thing is managing your stress response and finding a way that works for you to do that. Sometimes that starts with that idea of stepping away, stepping out of the chaos, taking a broader look at the challenge that’s in front of you. That’s a big piece. Social support is huge. That’s the number-two piece. Cultivating and fostering your sense of optimism and your sense of gratitude is important. Those, I would say, would be the top three.

I want to take the first one because I think it’s still very much a “What?” thing for a lot of people to think that you have agency over your stress response. You are not captive or hijacked by it necessarily. Most people are hijacked by it, but you have agency over your stress response. Could you speak a little bit more to that agency?

It is important because we do, in fact, have agency over it. Oftentimes, we get hijacked because we’re moving so fast and we’re not stopping to think, “I’m stressed out.” There are all these things that are swirling around and I’m still stressed out even though I’m more stressed out. It’s taking that step back and intentionally creating a routine or a foundation for yourself and developing a plan. Mindfulness and meditation, there are a lot of techniques out there that are effective. Sometimes folks will want to integrate longer meditations into their day-to-day. The key is this can be done in a few minutes a day in two-minute increments or two-minute spurts.

There’s a great method out there designed by a physician. Sadly, he’s no longer alive, but Herbert Benson is a wonderful physician from Boston. He was a cardiologist who developed something called The Relaxation Response in the ‘70s. Essentially, his colleagues at Harvard Medical School laughed at him. “What do you mean mind-body? That’s nuts. You’re crazy.” He stuck with it and did all this research. It’s a huge program. The mind-body become the cornerstone of the mind-body medicine program at Mass General Hospital.

He has a wonderful technique called the relaxation response that I often recommend to folks, which incorporates breathing, focusing on a word, and doing that for 5 to 7 minutes at a time, and it can be powerful. Some folks prefer the longer meditations. Some folks prefer walking out in nature. Some folks prefer being on the Peloton. It’s developing that routine. It’s developing something that works for you is the key thing.

This is my belief, I’m checking in with you. We have these thoughts that are bouncing around our heads, 80,000 to 85,000 thoughts a day. Usually, we’re rerunning thoughts all the time. Paying attention to what the thoughts are that are running through our head because I remember this was a number of years ago, I had a thought running through my head. I was like, “Is that my thought?” It didn’t square with who I thought I was. As soon as I said it out loud, I was like, “That isn’t my thought.” I think about the pool of thoughts that we swim in the pool of our family’s thoughts, our community’s thoughts, our school’s thoughts, and all of that. It’s like there’s a distinction, “Is that mine or not?” To examine your thoughts and then to figure out, “Am I going to pick that thought up or am I going to let that one lay?”

That is so important and it comes back to that idea of awareness and thinking about what we’re thinking about. Oftentimes, folks aren’t doing that or aren’t able to do that because they’re moving so quickly or so fast through life, then that snowball of stress is coming. Taking that step back and intentionally looking at and examining our thoughts, particularly those that are recurring, is so important.

As you mentioned, many of our thoughts don’t serve us well, yet they’re recurring. That then serves to bog us down in a stressful and non-productive space. If we’re able to identify those thoughts that aren’t serving us well and if we’re able to let them go, easier said than done, but oftentimes, if we have a mindful breathing practice or something along those lines, it becomes a bit easier to let some of those thoughts go.

In my world, one of the thoughts is that Sam could die at any moment. I could get that phone call any moment. I think that for parents, that potentially can be an ominous thought that we carry around with us that eats away at our soul. To be able to almost let that thought float away, not give it that energy, and then create a thought that does give us energy.

That’s a very powerful idea. It’s spot on. It’s easier said than done. Again, it takes a great deal of awareness and ability to go there, be there, and recognize that thought, because the thought for parents that they could get the phone call any moment that their child has died or something along those lines is so emotionally powerful and so hard. It could get somebody very stuck and, and not be able to but with the awareness that you have with the ability to take that step back. It’s so powerful and so important, but a process for sure to get there. I’m sure for you that’s been a process to get to that point.

It’s a continued process. I keep accessing tools and all the things to rewire my neural pathways of how I have been habitually thinking, feeling, and behaving in ways that don’t serve me. Yes, of course, in the addiction space, the potentiality of the phone call is inherent, but there’s nothing we can do about it for the most part. Worrying about it in my world gives energy to something that I don’t want to give energy to. I’d much rather give my energy to the bright and light sun that I have, and imagine him popping out the other side of his recovery.

It not only helps you to thrive in these moments but also helps you to thrive in these moments. I love that point. That’s so powerful.

This has been a great conversation. Many great points. What I’d like to say to our audience is we live in a world of addiction, substance abuse disorder, and alcoholism. It doesn’t matter. All these things that we’ve talked about today are absolutely mission-critical for us as parents, friends, and spouses to navigate this world. There hasn’t been anything that we’ve touched on that hasn’t translated to this world.

A lot of these principles of resilience, a lot of the principles of being at our best within our own unique context. They do. They translate across domains.

I think too that I have seized the opportunity embedded in this journey with Sam’s addiction to skill up, to rewire, and to create higher and more moments of joy and a more vibrant life. I identify that as one of the major gifts out of the experience of Sam’s addiction. It’s my taking ahold of my own life at a higher level.

I can’t tell you how powerful that is. To be in that place, to be doing it, and to be living it, it’s amazing and wonderful.

I imagine that your work is also to help parents rise.

That’s exactly what I’m hoping to do with each and every person that I work with.

Deep gratitude for this conversation and who you are in the world and the work that you’re doing. If people do want to reach out to you, how can they get ahold of you?

The best way is through my website, which is www.KateLundSpeaks.com. Folks can contact me through there and I’ll contact them right back. I’d love to connect.

Is there any last thought that you’d like to leave our audience with?

The last thought would be what I always encourage folks to do is keep their eye on that possibility on the other side of the challenge.

Fantastic. We will end with that.

Thank you so much for having me. Thank you.

Thank you. Have a great day. To our audience, live an inspired life.

 

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About Dr. Kate Lund

Voices InCourage | Dr. Kate Lund | Power Of OptimismI am a licensed clinical psychologist of 15 years, peak performance coach, best-selling author and TEDx speaker. My specialized training in medical psychology includes world-renowned Shriners Hospital for Children, Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, all of which are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. I use a strengths-based approach to help my clients improve their confidence in school, sports and life while helping them to become more resilient and reach their full potential at all levels.

About the Author Jenn S


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