IGNITING; THE POTENTIAL The Health and Human Services Workforce: PART 3 Move to the Front: A Strategy for Becoming a Stronger Self.

Author:Kratz, Randall

Consider this: You wake up late on a Monday morning, and then your car has a flat tire on the way to work. Later, you discover the leftover chicken tikka masala you were going to eat for lunch sits forgotten on the kitchen counter. At three o'clock, when you need to give a big presentation to a prospective client, you receive an email to reschedule--for next month. When you finally get home for the evening (later than normal), your significant other asks the inevitable: "How was your day?"

And you will respond: "It was bad."

But what if you were told there are no bad days? That there are simply unfortunate events--flat tires, forgotten lunches, cancelled meetings--and that the difference between "good" and "bad" is your personal resilience? Would you believe it?

Events that cause negative emotional responses are going to happen and are often beyond our control. FEI has built a framework based on how our brains influence our reactions, especially in response to the "bad" events in our lives, with the goal of helping employees overcome adverse experiences, prioritize happiness, and ultimately guiding them to their best selves.

It sounds idealistic, but it can be done. We just have to move to the front.

What is Moving to the Front?

When we talk about moving to the front, we're referencing the different parts of the brain. The back of the brain, where the brainstem is, stores biological imperatives focused on the survival of self and body (think fight or flight responses). The back of the brain is reactive. As we move to the front--in this case, the frontal cortex--we move from base reactions to sophisticated, rational thought.

There are parts of the brain inbetween, of course, and they inform our reactions as well.

Moving forward from the brainstem, we have the midbrain (which also fuels our reactive impulses); the limbic system, housing our emotional core; the cortex; and finally, the frontal cortex. Radically complex, our brains constantly assess situations while the different parts vie for control over the best response.

However, we as human beings can assert control over our instincts, emotions, and reactions, and this is where moving to the front draws its influence. It takes time and commitment, as well as a knowledge of resilience practices, but we're completely capable of taking negative experiences--our bad days--and transforming them into positions of strength and happiness.

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