The problems we face with moral distress and how to build and utilize resiliency to combat it.
The problems we face with moral distress and how to build and utilize resiliency to combat it.
I came across this great article on Medium about Moral Distress and it made me think deeply about how this affects us and then about ways we can utilize resiliency and resiliency training to combat the effects of moral distress and being let down.
Full article here: That Powerlessness You Feel Is Called ‘Moral Distress’
What is it? What is it to you? Do you have it? Do you seek it?
Do you see it in others? Or do you see the lack of it in others? I want to go through that today. Welcome to the warrior mindset,
Thanks for joining me, I know that your time is valuable. And so I’m going to do my best every time to try to give you something useful
in your own path,
right, so there’s a great article that I found moral distress.
The powerlessness you feel is called moral distress. And how to cultivate more resilience instead.
A lot of the subject matter on this blog
is often more about
a topic of like grit.
Okay, so the physical side, right.
You know, we do a lot of workouts and tough things in
fight a lot of fights, you know, if you
if you’re lucky, or unlucky enough to run your own business for any amount of time, you need a lot of grit.
You need a lot of grit to just survive in this world in general. You know, it feels like, feels like
people are out to get you, you know,
we’re just this is the way the universe is. So, what is grit?
It’s a great post here put out by Brooke ence.
She’s a fairly well known crossfitter. But following her for a long time,
the drive stamina and fortitude to push through any challenge or obstacle until success is achieved.
And now that’s legit.
We all need that. We all need that grit. We all need that. resilience, personal resilience. You know what, what makes you get up in the morning?
What makes you push through a tough workout or achieve that blackbelt goal or,
what is your WHY?
But, you know, anymore, we’re facing sort of a different type of need for different type of resilience.
And this is a great article about
And I just want to kind of go through it.
And see if it touches on where you might be, and maybe it’ll help you.
it would be great if everything were black and white.
Right, right or wrong.
But it’s often not.
In what happens like, like, it’s really easy to choose from good and evil, right? That’s, that’s an easy choice. You don’t need a lot of resilience or grit.
You don’t need to be a good guy
to choose between good and evil. Right? I mean, evil.
Evil is what it is.
But what happens when
the evil is unavoidable, or
when you can’t stop it when you can’t stop seeing it.
Or you’re powerless to prevent it.
you know, speaking up or speaking out against something you consider evil is
not the right course of action because it’s a direct threat to us.
Or what happens when life
forces you to choose between two
to bad situations.
Right? Where either either choice compromises your core values or your obligations and commitments.
How do you let the wrong How do you let the evil live inside of you?
Right. So that’s the concept of moral distress.
Like we are faced with today, right? Here’s some examples.
The article gives parents caught between homeschooling and sending their children to in person classes. Right. And I’m not talking about the age old discussion of homeschooling I’m talking about right now with the state of the world and pandemic.
Or maybe your values are in direct conflict with state and federal safety guidelines, aka wearing a mask.
Small businesses, like restaurants in gyms, like I own a gym, getting hit, and you having to close your doors, even though you have responsibility to employees and your own families.
People who are
are desperate to spend time with their their family that maybe they’re older parents, but they really shouldn’t, because their older parents might be exposed to
what we’re dealing with.
Maybe you’re caught in the middle of socio cultural grievances or in justices.
And you also carry the sense that nothing’s ever going to change.
When you feel like
none of your values are respected, individually or collectively as your of your group. So powerlessness is at the heart of moral distress. Right? It is that feeling of powerlessness. That’s what derives moral distress.
The feeling that you have to or must seriously compromise yourself, or something you hold dear, due to external forces that are beyond your control or feel beyond your control.
Or the feeling that
others don’t understand the moral significance or moral imperative that is clear to you.
Moral distress is what results from repeatedly not having your values respected, either individually or collectively.
You have the feeling of being muzzled, restricted, devalued, unheard dismissed. Right? It’s easy, in that sense, to become fueled with anger and distrust, fear, frustration.
And then over time,
over time, emotions such as those
mental spiritual, emotional depletion, depression.
And, you know,
it’s easy to see something like that. When we think of, like health care workers, right? During, like, during this pandemic, all of this stuff kind of goes beyond that, but it’s what we’re,
you know, what’s very much top of mind, because it’s where we are, but
it’s easy to see this in the US healthcare worker,
there’s going to be long term damaging effects on their psyche,
on their sense of moral distress. there already is.
We’ve all seen the pictures, it’s like row row faces where they take their mask off and it’s like bruised or, you know, seriously shaped or like, it’s just terrible.
And then if you think further what what is this having? What effect is this having on their personal relationships?
I mean, a bet is killing them.
How do you carry it?
There’s a physiological
reaction, right? According to the article, and you can look this up elsewhere, too. Humans are hardwired to detect and respond to threat. Right, like physical threat.
And even psychological threat.
activate a nervous system. You know, call it the lizard brain.
you know, if you are
walking along a walking trail and you see a
I don’t know a wild dog coyote or whatever.
Or, you know, a stranger that looks suspicious you’re going to get that chill feeling right you’re going to get that feeling your nervous system is being activated, your fight or flight is being activated.
They can also hop happen
not just by identifying physical threats but also psychic psychological exit existential or metaphysical almost sometimes, like for example, let’s say you’re about to give a speech in front of 100 people
your lizard brain, your response brain, your threat detection part of your brain is still being activated, you go on high alert
when this happens,
all those chemicals or whatever, not a scientist not a doctor, but I know this to be fact get released into your
body your system
I mean, they create real physical, emotional cognitive changes right, your heart rate increases your blood pressure goes up, you become activated, your pupils dilate sometimes you become more aware of your environment, maybe time seems to slow down.
your emotional system is taxed.
Right as your attention narrows
and becomes biased to identifying threats, your capacity for empathy lessons.
Right, we rely more on instinctual, defensive behaviors.
It can be just like the physiological, you know, emotional or whatever can be in the one of those two sections fight or flight.
And we can do we can that can
express itself like physically, right, you fight or you run, right, you, you, you queue up to do those physical defensive things or you run away whatever, but it also happens emotionally. Right.
And this is where,
you know, we begin to become distance from people, we become distracted,
we go in a sense of denial
begin to disassociate from things that cause us stress, we rationalize
that’s definite dysregulation
and over an extended period of time.
they can have serious long term effect.
And according to the article,
it can, I mean, we’re as continuing to be in that heightened physiological state we can damage our our tissues and our nervous system, right.
You know, emotionally,
you can carry those that weight.
If you look it up the crescendo effect,
which is much like having a high fatty diet
can begin to slow down your blood flow and your arteries. cause issues can also happen most emotionally, morally and spiritually.
resilience, generally speaking, is your ability to recover
or adapt well to stress, adversity or trauma.
It ensures that change and challenge improve rather than hurt our lives
fortifies rather than weakens our spirit.
Resilience helps us see the difficulties need not leave us eternally damaged, were temporarily only temporarily challenged.
So this concept of you know, physical resilience.
It’s pretty common when here on the show.
We dig into that a lot. We carry that a lot. So you know, it’s a pretty base form of training that I personally
participate in. A lot of people do.
You know, the martial arts are built within it. A lot of the, you know, military training the elite levels, and elite levels of athletics,
tough physical challenges and
typically identify those things as
something that, you know, overcoming helps improve you.
You know, that old saying, No pain, no gain.
It has meaning to us. But we don’t really apply that to
our emotional state necessarily, not all the time. I mean, it’s one of Mark divines, Coach divines, five mountains.
physical, emotional, spiritual.
Right? Then your ability to adapt, and then also, you know, your warrior spirit putting it all together.
Emotional resilience is one of the five mountains
it’s the second you know, it’s part of the fat part of the the success pyramid.
do you ever apply
some of the same things that maybe maybe if you’re a martial arts, do you ever apply some of those same things, to your emotional, your moral capabilities, you know, it’s easy to go to the gym and lift weights are easy to go run faster, practice more martial art,
but do you practice the things that improve your more resilience, your emotional resilience,
because the moral domain
with all the dimensions of you being a pure human, right, it even touches on the physical, the biological, physical, the cognitive, spiritual and relational aspects.
help make us a whole.
So, you know, 2020 was hard in 2021 is not letting up, you know.
So, according to the article,
which has some great points, what are some of the ways
what are some practices
that can help you improve your moral resiliency,
self mastery, the art of learning to self regulate.
Self mastery is being in command of yourself, body, mind, spirit,
mind, spirit body.
Even acknowledging and accepting, at the same time, the word cannot control our environment, we cannot control the world. Right? Self mastery is a path of learning how to Struggle Well.
Turning your attention inward.
And what does that mean?
So it means through whatever.
Whatever means that you need.
Some people meditate.
Some people like to practice the physical resilience aspect of training, physical training. Maybe some people like to go on a long run or whatever.
But it is doing something that lets you get to the heart of what might be fueling your feelings, not just being mindful of your feelings.
But working on whatever playing you need to work on that helps you see
why you’re having those feelings. So first, yes, be mindful of your feelings.
in the point being to find out what’s causing
those thoughts and actions.
It’s not about killing
or squashing unpleasantries
right. Or because you’re having an emotion, maybe you’re feeling sad about something, it doesn’t mean to judge it as being wrong or weak.
understanding why you’re having that.
That self mastery.
The article talks about staying in your window of tolerance.
I’ve heard people say like, Man, I’m cool until somebody pushes me too far.
But like how far is too far?
My too far might not be the same as your too far.
But have you defined it?
Do you work to push it farther or contracted
I’ll read directly. Rushton says that moral resilience is grounded in moral conscientiousness.
It reflects a vigilance to leave in ways to live in ways that are aligned with who we are. And what we stand for, in the midst of situations appear to be in commensurate with integrity. So out some of these guys, right, so,
So it’s like, self awareness. Okay, so this this angle
to always be in command of yourself, right? working to always living by your own personal doctrine working to always do the things you said you would do, right? It’s being aware of it, and putting it on the forefront.
Self mastery is the present focused realization that we can always be in command ourselves,
mind spirit body, even while accepting that we may not be able to control all situations and outcomes.
Knowing that you should be in control
of your own mind, knowing that you should work to be aware of your own thoughts and feelings in your own mind is one thing.
But working to actually do it is self mastery.
And there’s no shortcut. There’s no you know, ABC list. It’s always different for everybody.
That’s where the self mastery comes in. It’s the commitment to yourself to work on it.
Next self expression,
choose and contribute in ethically clear and competent ways. This one,
this one’s good.
to truly express yourself in these ways of
self mastery and self awareness, right?
Practicing there and getting there. And then being able to express yourself to others from that plane, from that point of view,
will give you more of the moral resilience to then do more.
It’s like a self fulfilling prophecy.
moral ethical competence and speaking with clarity and confidence about it
furthers you down the line.
But also, there are ways
to practice this.
speaking with clarity and confidence also includes knowing when to excuse ourselves from a situation, system or relationship, whether it be for a short time, or else permanently,
because that situation could rapidly rapidly harm our conscious.
So like, you know, if someone’s super negative and you’re getting bummed out by it, it’s okay to take a break from that person
or being aware of a habit that you’ve created.
That is causing you
distress in some way.
Being aware of it enough to take a break from it.
And then meaning making, don’t demand it create it, meaning making is the process of how we perceive, interpret and make sense of events and life, relationships in ourselves.
you know, it’s not just shut up and take it, suffer in silence.
You know, if we’re not applying these things to what we’re going through,
you know, we’re not gonna get anything from it. So
I’ll read from the thing, senseless suffering is a big theme and more resilience, we often think to ourselves, why am I continuing to do this when nothing changes, or I’m doing everything I can to make things better, but nothing ever do is enough.
you can either let that fuel
the dead end, stuffs never going to change story that you’re telling yourself.
Or you can use it to fuel
a solid foundation for
creating something demanding and of others.
Right. But I think this one a lot of people want to skip to. And so their actions
were there complaints,
Or the interpretation of others is that what you’re doing is empty.
So meaning making is not just trying to put a happy spin on pain and suffering.
Nor is it trying to teach us cautionary tales.
Like, it’s not always a moral to the story,
type of situation.
What it does is it just keeps us moving forward.
And the final one, connectedness, engaging with others.
you need to cultivate that small group of friends and I mean, friends, not acquaintances.
Because reaching out and talking with others who aren’t going to judge you who that you trust. And when you need it will give you empathy and compassion, and even brutal honesty if it’s needed.
Right without any personal agenda on their side.
even if it’s just one person,
but you must engage with others, on whatever level that you’re comfortable.
Because nothing like there’s nothing like a feeling of like powerlessness or hopelessness, or helplessness. Make you feel alone. Right. And
that is often
when our moral distress level goes off the charts when we when we feel really alone.
It’s super important.
Okay, I don’t I don’t know. I don’t know if that helps.
But I like this article.
And so one other thing
that I think is really leading to a lot of our moral distress
in feelings of powerlessness
is this idea of a echo chamber.
And I think that we just live in it.
This is not me sitting here railing against
Facebook and Instagram or whatever big tech, I think is one of the terms. One of the sides calls it, I don’t really give a crap.
What I do care about is that you don’t stay in it.
And this isn’t also about
The other side, if you could see my air quotes, I would say enemies and air quotes.
It’s not about just giving them a voice and listening to them. Because like, you should
know, I mean, if you know if you know what is being said or done is not right, if you know that it goes against you morally, ethically,
or what you believe to be moral or ethical injustice, you don’t have to listen to it. You don’t have to try to empathize with it. That’s not what I’m talking about. And I think that’s where most people’s brains go.
So cool article from wired, Wired Magazine, how to break out of your social media echo chamber.
And so what we’re talking about is confirmation bias. Paired with
these social media platforms,
algorithms to serve you up content
is a great show on Netflix social dilemma.
She go watch that kind of scare you scare you. But this little post
gives you actionable steps.
If you are self aware enough, sort of like a step by step guide to break you out of that little personal echo chamber that your Facebook feed
you find yourself in.
So one, like everything, algorithms can’t categorize you, if they can’t determine what you really like.
Be generous, and you’ll be rewarded with something beyond grateful friends who are glad you noticed their posts, right?
Just like everything.
I mean, it’s literally, they are playing on your own ego, they’re playing on your own inability to let go of your self
assigned value to your like, like you assign personal value, personal currency to that like, or the heart or whatever it is. And
we give it to people. But it’s not really giving, we feel as though we’re exchanging it to people may not be just on the surface. But that’s really what’s happening. There’s there’s a social
and egotistical and emotional
value that you assign to liking something that someone puts out,
you’re not just necessarily saying I approve of this content, you’re also saying I approve of you posting this content.
So turn that off. That’s you are, you are putting that on the system, turn that off. And I mean, in your own brain, and just like everything, that’s what he’s saying here, break the algorithm break that break that game that they’re using.
Actively cultivate prestige media on all sides,
swallow your preconceived opinions and follow prestige publications across the political spectrum, a profile searching for the National Review, and the New Yorker means you’ll keep your newsfeed clear of the most polarizing stories. So if you are
left leaning in everything that you
is there and you actively dump the other stuff? Well, then they have categorized you.
Again, do you go there to feel good?
Do you go to your Facebook feed to feel good about the world? Or do you go there to try to see actual things, actual things happening, actual news or whatever? One might argue that that’s not the best place to go. But
you are creating that
echo chamber of only being in one dimension, if that’s all that you
like and follow.
Pay attention to the amount of followers the people you follow have.
Research shows that individuals who have a large disparity in their follower following ratio tend to acquire outsized influence, be cognizant of these accounts and don’t be afraid to mute them.
That’s pretty self explanatory.
Just look at that ratio. And you can tell if it’s bullshit or not.
Number four change feeds to focus on recency rather than personalization.
Platforms tend to bury this feature in the settings but changing it is worth the effort. Doing so takes back some power from the algorithm in might show you posts from accounts you haven’t seen in years.
Right. So don’t follow things or don’t set your sorting preferences and whatever you’re using, based on things that you like, but simply go by the most recent information, numerical date.
you’re removing the bias. Because, you know, numerical order in date is not a bias.
Five, create space for new voices to really start to see changes in your feed, consider temporarily muting celebrities whose accounts share your perspective to allow different voices to appear. So again, if you are only following famous people that have the same perceived thoughts and emotions that you do, then guess what?
That’s literally being in a bubble.
I think this is a tactical
thing that you can begin to apply some of these things to help build your moral resilience or to affect the intake.
Your intake of information
can help you build a little more
Alright, I hope this helped. I don’t know that it did. But um, I would love the call to continue this conversation with someone who’s interested about
building resiliency in themselves or moral distress, or even grit.
So what does it mean to you was all that Bs, or do you see something in there?
Let me know. Until next time, folks. get after it.
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