You’re having a rough day.
You woke up on the wrong side of the bed and things just don’t feel right. Or you’re disturbed by something obvious.
When you’re stressed, it’s easy to lose sight of reality. You zoom in on the negative and it spirals from there. We all know the feeling.
You’re more resilient than you’re giving yourself credit for.
You have options. Relief is within reach. Push your limits, look around, and you’ll see.
1. Look for balance.
In the long run, things usually even out. A few weeks ago, someone totaled my trusty little car after I pulled over with a flat tire. I had a stressful few weeks and was already revving up for a period of 2 upcoming swamped weeks at work.
I had a 2-week live online course scheduled, abbreviated by a weight lifting competition. I wasn’t sure when I’d have time to cook, let alone find energy to sort through car accident logistics.
I decided to put the course on hold and power through the rest, knowing life would eventually calm down. It did. I have time to complete my online training. I’m gaining more because I’m doing it during a time when I have less going on.
I also ended up with a safer car. I experienced and processed firsthand accident trauma, which helps me understand my clients better. Many concerned people immediately showed up for me. I feel deep gratitude and a stronger appreciation for life.
2. What happened last time?
This exact situation may be new, but think of a similar past experience. What are the familiar themes?
Let’s say you’re struggling in a relationship. Instead of imagining a devastating outcome, picture a previous conflict with your loved one. How did you work through it? Can you trust that your communication skills and rapport will carry you to the other side of the problem?
Or imagine work isn’t going well. Is there a chance things will improve once your company accomplishes the next big goal? Even if things went wrong before, did everyone make it through?
In a worst case scenario, remember to focus on all possibilities. Our minds are hard wired to focus on the negative. It’ll take some effort to remind yourself of the other side of the coin (and the gray areas in the middle).
3. Find a neutral zone.
Neutral mantras can be helpful if positivity isn’t cutting it. Rather than forcing an unnatural smile onto your face, try aiming closer to where you are.
Confirm what is going on here and now.
“I am ok right now.”
“Everything is adequate and mediocre.”
“I have what I need in this moment.”
Or adjust your expectations and develop your self-compassion muscle:
“This really sucks. I understand why I’m upset. Anyone would be.”
“I’m hurting and angry. Not a happy camper! That makes sense given what I’m going through.”
State these unpleasant albeit true affirmations with the intention . Ask yourself what you want, what you dream, what would help with this pain?
4. Change your environment.
Clean or organize. Rearrange. Decorate. Show yourself what you do have power over – your space!
Channel your energy into something that boosts your confidence. Use your intense emotions to improve your surroundings.
Physical clutter and disarray impact your mental process. Clean it up for more internal clarity.
Make a tangible change and the rewards will soon follow. If you’re low on motivation, use this technique from unfuckyourhabitat.com: Spend 20 minutes working on a project, followed by a 10-minute break. Repeat until you feel the task is complete.
Look at what you did! Give yourself credit for your effort. You felt terrible and you chipped away at a project regardless. That’s tough and it’s worth celebrating.
5. Reach out to your community.
New studies show spending time with supportive people makes you feel high in a healthy way. A sense of belonging activate parts of the brain that light up when people use recreational drugs! Even better, this natural boost doesn’t drain your feel-good chemicals the way drugs do. It’s a gradual mood increase followed by residual and lasting effects. Not a huge dose of dopamine or seratonin with an immediate crash.
I’m not talking about driving an hour to see a long lost companion. While that sounds nice in la la land, sending a quick text to a couple of people will have a similar effect. Let them know you’re thinking of them.
Write a thank you note to someone you appreciate and send it out old-fashioned snail mail style.
Write down nice things people say about you and whip it out on a difficult day.
Respite and relief might not happen as planned, but they will arrive in time. They can masquerade as something else, something that could seem terrible at first.
When you’re white knuckling it, try to let go of prediction and control. It’ll feel shaky, but it’ll also free up energy and time to focus on more nourishing activities.
Use your tools. Make these suggestions your own. Feel free to share your personal tweaks and questions in the comments section below.
If you want a guide to help you through the chaos, don’t hesitate to schedule a 15-minute consultation. You have potential to come out stronger on the other side. Contact me via phone, email, or book your consultation through the “I’m Ready” button above.