Have you ever had a day, a week, a year of it when it’s just one thing after another? I bet you are nodding because it happens to everyone and it happened to me this week. One minute I was pottering around in my daily routine and the next minute a number of ‘not so pleasant’ unplanned events collided with my planned events and threatened to pick me up and swirl me round in a state of disorganized chaos. I don’t wish to dwell on the actual events that happened to me but I do want to share some coping skills that help me deal with challenging and stressful events that happen out of the blue.
Detach emotionally from the situation. When emotions are running high try to avoid getting involved with unnecessary or unhealthy emotions and reactions. simply observe how you feel rather than act or add stories to your feelings which will allow you to act and react calmly and with common sense, without emotional agitation, which often clouds the judgement and wastes unnecessary emotional and physical energy.
Ask ‘How?’ not ‘Why?’ You can ask why later, for now focus on asking, “How do I meet this challenge?” By asking “how” you are telling your mind that there is a solution to be found. This keeps your focus on creating a positive outcome.
View it as an opportunity to learn a lesson. There is almost always some value or lesson in challenging situations. The more we train ourselves to see the value in every experience, the more resourceful we will be when those experiences are challenging and unexpected.
Ask for help. We can’t always get ourselves out of a mess. Don’t be afraid to ask those who are more knowledgeable for help or direction. The willingness of others to lend assistance is heartwarming.
Say after me, ‘This too shall pass.’ One way or another, you will get through it. Every situation has a conclusion. Even if it’s not the conclusion you wanted, at least it will be over and you can start from there.
Laugh your way through it. Sometimes things get so ridiculous that it’s almost laughable. When that happens, go ahead and laugh. Laughter is a much better way to release that emotional stress and cope with a challenge than anger is.
Don’t take it personal. Everybody faces more than enough challenges. The universe has not conspired against you. Sometimes bad stuff just happens. Taking things personally just leads to excuses and blame and a whole host of other worthless thoughts and emotions. Don’t even go there.
I wish I could say that in your life and mine bad things will never happen again but it’s best to be real and learning a few simple coping skills that can help you during a challenging time. Having a positive perspective in this area will go a long way toward improving the quality of this journey we call life.
My challenges this week meant a considerable amount of re-scheduling, driving, and organizing care for the kids but when I return home my friend who had volunteerly helped me out told me as she was leaving that there was some homemade soup in the fridge of me if I was hungry. As I held the warm bowl of soup in my hands and spooned goodness and kindness into me I give thanks for good friends which reminded me of a this quote from Plato that I’ll leave you with – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”