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MCRA Connections

November 2020

Thanks for reading this issue of ‘Connections.’  It’s been a strange one – no MCRA conference this year.  Then the Kettunen Center is up for sale (or maybe sold at this point).  So a lot of things are up in the air.  I have confidence it will all be figured out next year.  In the mean time, we offer some uplifting content including the 25th anniversary of the Lenawee County CISM team!  Congrats!
Keep doing the good work you do!  Smile – takes less muscles than frowns (or so they say)!  Look for little joys and pleasures! 
Anne Daws-Lazar
Share Your Smile
We have become accustomed to reading people by their body language and facial expressions, including smiles, before speaking a word. Now we wear face masks and keep a regulated distance from those with whom we communicate. Our inflections and the power of lip-reading may be lost, and intentions misinterpreted. Our new usual (or “normal” if you prefer) through which we still need to function sometimes feels like a wall between us, and communications strained.

The universal language of smiling puts others at ease, sharing an act of positivity, and in some cases, love between people. Researchers have studied smiles, their types and meaning, and have subjective scales to measure happiness. We have all read about or studied positive psychology, those constructive aspects of the human condition, those strengths, attitudes, and perspectives that allow us to flourish. Without an external smile, we face another dilemma in these times riddled with daily additions to the ‘how do I deal with this’ pile.

How do we share a hidden smile?

We go inside. An inner smile is far more pure and innocent, without pretense, genuine, and caring. With facial expressions obscured, we move to a deeper place that is not visible or immediately obvious. During these times, we have the opportunity to embrace the importance of self-care and adopting or boosting an attitude of gratitude.
Studies have shown that attitudes of gratitude improve our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Adopting those attitudes (thank you, Dr. Hans Selye) positively affects our stress response. As we endure months of isolation and changes to our personal and professional lives and practices, we can benefit by enhancing this particular tool.

How do we practice an attitude of gratitude?

One of my favorite exercises is Dr. Martin Seligman’s “Three Blessings Exercise.” At the end of each day (and you may journal these through a “gratitude journal”), you review three things that have gone well and why. Those who incorporate this activity into daily life may find themselves looking throughout the day for those three things to self-report. Looking at the world through more optimistic eyes may soften perspectives and reflect in a kinder pair of eyes peering above masks.

Other activities are to share with the person you are with (or a significant other) three things you are grateful for in this moment. Acknowledge what you have accomplished this past year and what you have planned. Offer this same acknowledgment to your significant other, family, friends, and coworkers.

The idea is to change your mindset, and perhaps your behaviors, toward becoming more grateful and satisfied with your life, attitude, and actions. As you do, watch your inner smile become more warm and genuine. Daily share your inner smile, your smile from within, with others. Some days it will shine brighter; some days, it will seek the warmth of others. We are all pioneers on this journey; please try to remember those things, however small, for which you are grateful and acknowledge them every day.

Then share your hidden smile.
Sherry Lynn Jones, RN, EdD, MS, BCETS
COVID Can't Stop Us
Challenging times can test the waters for all of us. 2020 presented opportunities for us to either sink or swim. COVID-19 gave us that opportunity both as teams and individuals in an unprecedented way.

We as teams and as individuals have had to become extremely creative to assist groups and individuals through these tough times. Oakland County Crisis Response Organization has done organized responses with careful COVID rules.

On the other hand, we as individuals have been in contact daily with people who are hurting in many ways from this pandemic. Whether a First Responder or a mom at home with children unable to attend school. The trauma of lives turned upside down is evident and real.

We have learned to us cyber tools to reach people. As well, I designed a “Thank You” to encourage our First Responders and Health Care workers and acknowledge their sacrifice. As I connect with them, whether it is on the street or in a hospital, their response has been overwhelming. It has been the “key” to opening the door of months of bottled up emotion. Amazing opportunity to assist them THROUGH these difficult days.  Here is the People’s Heart Award pin given to them with the Thank You card.
The People’s Heart Award
is being presented to you in recognition of your service to others in this time of unprecedented challenge.  

This is a small token of appreciation for all of the sacrifice you and your loved ones have experienced in you serving others unconditionally. Indeed, the truest act of love.
We the people, salute the collective efforts of all First Responders and Health Care Workers to see us as a great nation through this tough time.
Celebrating 25-Year Anniversary
The Lenawee County CISM team celebrated 25 years of being a team in June of this year.  This team was created as a response to a bad accident in the county.  Curtis Parsons and Tim Turnwald put their heads together and created the team at that time through their county Fire Chiefs. 

The team sent help which consisted of Police Officers and a Mental Health worker to New York City five times after the attacks on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.  This was done with the help of MCRA President at the time, Gregg Ginebaugh.  Some of the people met at the time in New York City are still in contact today!

The team currently is serving three different counties with first responders teams.  During the current COVID-19 crisis they are providing two Zoom meetings a month with the Mental Health Department for first responders as well as keeping up to date with classes and education in new and exciting ways!

Way to go Lenawee County!!
Self-Preserving Expectations
  1. That which you do matters…even if you never see the positive outcome.  You make a difference!
  2. Don’t expect anyone to say “thank you,” but be appreciative if they do.
  3. Understand that you cannot “fix” everyone’s problems
  4. It’s OK to say “No” when you are psychologically exhausted.
  5. Bad things sometimes happen to good people and there is no reason why whatsoever.
  6. Life is a journey, not a destination.  It may take you a decade or so to understand this though.
  7. Understand you are part of something far bigger and greater than yourself!
  8. That which you do today becomes a part of your legacy.
  9. It’s never too late to re-write your life’s script
  10. The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself.
From Strategic Planning – Crisis Intervention and Disaster Mental Health Applications  by George Everly and Jeff Mitchell (Table is by Everly, 2017) “Useful expectations that promote Well Being”
If you have thoughts about topics that would help team development and coordination please contact the editorial staff of MCRA Connections listed below:
Copyright © 2020 Michigan Crisis Response Association, Inc., All rights reserved.

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