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Curve Ball

A New Outlook for Developing Strategies for Overcoming Barriers

I am a sports enthusiast, especially when it comes to soccer, weightlifting, mixed martial arts, and target-tactical shooting. Personally, when I find interest in a sport or recreational activity, I study it to begin to understand the basic fundamentals (basic primary rules) and components (part of a whole) --sorry not to be mathematical.

Soccer is similar to the game of chess where strategy can win the game. I once tried soccer and the experience was exhilarating; related to that of a roller coaster where you have suspense, momentum, adrenaline, and…yeah, adrenaline.

As you may be baffled by the path/direction this BLOG is going, I promise, there is a paradigm – a systematic pattern we can follow for that "Ah-Ha" moment!

When I was a student at Liberty University, I had the vision of attending school on campus so that I may join the Liberty Flames Soccer Team and work to improve, progress, and excel with my soccer skills. (This reminds me of the age-old debate: is soccer more physical than football…I digress). I am fascinated with soccer. What do you know about soccer? Have you ever seen a soccer game with children compared to high school teenagers to the World Cup? There is a lot of difference to be seen by means of skill and utilizing strategy. To reiterate, soccer is a game of skill and there is synergy (interaction between two or more organizations, systems, structures, etc.) between soccer and recovery practices.

In essence, mental health recovery practices can be similar to playing soccer. One begins as an amateur and works to increase their skill level. Then more aptitude is developed, leading to an increased ability to conquer or dominate the game. I view recovery practice just as this sentence infers, a practice: we practice to become better—more confident and resilient.

The synergy between soccer and recovery practices (i.e. drugs, alcohol, gambling, adult content, mental health) is “observation” and “strategy.” Soccer is a game that takes strategy similar to our Wellness and Recovery. Think of a strategy as a creative approach to accomplishing a task, goal, mission, or objective. Guess What? ---------- >>>

A Free Kick in soccer means a foul happened to one team and the other team gets a free-kick. To balance the fairness of the game, so to speak, the free-kick is presented with a BARRIER of 3-5 soccer players creating a WALL to [BLOCK}, {OBSTRUCT}, {DISTRACT], and {CHALLENGE] the player to off-set the Free Kick. As we underscore the use of strategies, here, the PLAYER knows to kick the ball in such a way that causes it to SPIN, therefore, the CURVEBALL appears to miss the goal but soars at an angle creating a nice SWISH EFFECT.

[Check-In]: Did you capture that effect? At first, a FREE KICK is confronted with a BARRIER, but a strategy is used to overcome the barrier and score a goal (The curveball)—it's creative and positive, but also based on the strategies of practice, preparation, and planning.

In effect, using the Curve Ball takes time and practice. It is not impossible when anyone is able to think and act creatively. This observed impossible feat resulted in a swish goal: a crisp and beautiful score. Similarly, I genuinely feel that utilizing creative strategies for mental health wellness and recovery can produce positive results which can be shared with other people who may be in need. The following examples may help further illustrate strategic wellness approaches:

Wellness Recovery Action Plan: Now available as a Pocket Wrap to help know your challenges and needs. You can take the Pocket Wrap with you and edit, change, or modify it to your preference.

Change Recovery Environment: use your environment to your advantage. Each room can be for a different activity to help be creative and prevent boredom—have fun with it.

Stress Table: A table situated in a room of your choice to rest, relax, reflect to distress, and reset your mood to focus more positively. The Stress Table can have any item to help you de-stress that works for you.

Window Vision: A strategic approach (based on brainstorming) using a window with erasable markers, stickers, plants, pictures, graphs, tic-tac-toe…the sky is the limit to be creative—a different focus for a rainy day.

Exit Plan: This serves well for those times when the environment may be toxic or unhealthy and you want to leave with respect and grace without issue. This may involve a supply kit or those essentials to help ensure you can leave or go home safely.

Henceforth, the goal is to be creative, practice, and apply strategies (like Curve Ball) to be successful when faced with adversity, barriers, roadblocks, distractions, and negative influences or stimuli altogether.

In summation, I encourage you to go and work on your strategies to be creative and overcome your wellness barriers just like with the Curve Ball.

Until next time...E/W

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