Happiness is Within Your Control

I recently penned a column on Who Moved My Cheese by Dr. Spencer.  The book is an analogy for how different our perceptions and actions can be when facing challenges. I believe this book can speak to each of us during this pandemic, recession, and election season all rolled into one large confusing life experience.  What I am about share is a great strategy to retrain our beliefs and action and change though adaptability, resilience, and perseverance.

Meet the Change Enthusiast

This year’s Florida Council on Aging’s conference featured a most dynamic speaker Cassandra Worthy sponsored by Humana. A self-professed change enthusiast, she inspired me to think beyond my cheese analogy. Cassandra Worthy is a proud Millennial.  She is a chemical engineer who transformed her own mindset about workplace relationships and power struggles that brought her pain.  Now she shares her strategies will audiences online this FCOA conference.

Cassandra believes we can harness our emotions and motivations to build resilience muscle. The cycle begins with our negative emotional response, such as anxiety, anger, frustration, or grief, to the words or actions of another.  Keep in mind, these can be events large and small.  For a caregiver, this may be the struggles of trying to bathe a loved one or as large as losing a job.  The second stage is our opportunity to respond, or Cassandra says, “get bitter or get better” reaction.


Signal, Opportunity, Choice

This second stage reminds me of Hem and Haw from Who Moved My Cheese that succumbed to negative emotions and struggles to see the motivations to move forward. It is human nature to feel hurt when facing rejection or criticism.  We can stop the tendency to react with an equal or opposite negative response. In fact, this is an opportunity to make a conscious decision to choose a better outcome. Cassandra calls this ‘building resilience muscle.’ I believe that Sniff and Scurry from Who Moved My Cheese show us how to build muscle.

Cassandra’s message was too powerful not to share with you.  Family caregivers face these challenges every day from daily activities to long term care planning.  Many of us feel our best efforts to help are met with resistance or criticism.  Here is where we can change the narrative by intentionally choosing how to respond.  Cassandra encourages us to summons our growth sustaining energy and respond with hope, joy, excitement, or anticipation.  Stop and make a conscious decision to bring about a better outcome.  For caregivers, this may mean taking a break or finding an outlet to release the negative and move toward the positive.

It’s Easier Said Than Done

Breaking old habits is tough.  I know that certain tasks trigger negative mental scripts for me.  Add to what happens inside my head is the actions and mental scripts of others that I interpret throughout the day.  Cassandra’s message is I can build resilience muscle of positive thoughts and actions throughout my care journey.  I hope you find her message inspiring as well. Listen for yourself by clicking the button below.

Cassandra Worthy Video