Lynn Hatch has been a nurse practitioner in primary care for over twenty-five years. Since recovering from breast cancer, Lynn has been guiding individual clients to reach their wellness goals through her health coaching practice.
Lynn’s 5-part wellness course on resilience will be held on Wednesday nights at the Teal Center beginning on February 18. We asked Lynn to share more about her insights into resilience, and what inspires her.
TC: Who did you have in mind when you created this workshop? How will participants benefit from the class?
LH: Anyone who has been through a challenging experience that involves their personal health; whether it is a life altering illness, chronic health issues, trouble sleeping, or dealing with stress. The definition of health and wellness, as I see it, is a state of balance in body and mind. It is my intention that participants will discover the knowledge and the tools to find that balance once again in their own bodies and minds.
TC: If you were to give a single piece of self-care advice to the general public, what would it be?
LH: BREATHE! Especially when you find yourself getting caught up in the stress of every day life. For instance, someone cuts you off in traffic and you feel your body tensing up, take a slow breath in and a slow breath out and repeat as necessary. By taking that mindful breath you will short-circuit the stress hormones and their ill affects.
TC: What sorts of habits contribute to living a fulfilling life?
LH: Practicing self-acceptance, self-compassion, and having a sense of humor. With self-acceptance there is an understanding that stress and pain are part of the ebb and flow of life. Along with this, knowing when to reach out for help and to receive what is needed without seeing it as a sign of weakness. Self-compassion is to suspend judgment and hold oneself in tenderness. Consider this: next time you want to admonish yourself, give thought to what positive words you would say to a friend in a similar situation. Use those words. By doing this you shut down the negativity bias that is our brain’s default operating system. In that process you rewire the neural pathways to create an attitude of positivity. It has been said, “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” When we treat ourselves this way it becomes second nature to treat those around us in this manner. A positive ripple affect is set in motion. Humor and laughter are the joy that makes life worth living. A good belly laugh releases all sorts of feel good hormones.
TC: What’s the most common obstacle?
LH: Nothing gets in the way more than to have the negativity bias hijack our thoughts and daily interactions. Be mindful of our reactions to situations. Viktor Frankl said, “Between the stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Be in the space, and mindfully respond non-judgmentally and with compassion rather than react.
TC: What do you do to overcome obstacles in life?
LH: Practicing daily gratitude and the willingness to be with what is.
TC: How did you become interested in resilience?
LH: This came out of my own professional and personal experiences. Over the years, working as a nurse practitioner, I had often wondered how it was that some patients came through a health crisis robustly while others had a very difficult time. One thing stood out for me: I recognized that those who weathered the crisis had resilience – what I call the “bounce back factor”. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the patients who had demonstrated qualities of resilience became my mentors and teachers. When I started to take a closer look into what makes a person resilient, I discovered that it isn’t something we are born with. Anyone can build the skills necessary to manage life’s challenges. The qualities of resilience can be strengthened in how we think and what we do. Everyone is capable of developing her or his own person brand of resilience.
TC: Would you like to share a favorite inspiring story?
LH: There are too many to count. It is the patients and clients I have had the privilege and honor to support at some of the most vulnerable times in their lives that have inspired me and have kept me moving forward to continue to guide others as they navigate through their individual health journeys.
TC: What are you passionate about?
LH: I am passionate about building a safe, trusting, non-judgmental, and confidential relationship with my clients. This supportive alliance allows my clients to establish goals for themselves and achieve their wellness vision. In this way my clients are able to tap into their inner strengths and external resources and move forward to a state of vitality and well-being. In turn, my clients acquire the tools to establish lifelong, sustainable changes and discover their individual true health.