Stuff happens. We all have challenging moments but how we handle them is what matters.
Stuff happens! We all have those moments (days or maybe weeks for some) when things are not going to plan and the only thing that makes sense is throwing a hissy fit. Now, granted, once in a while this might be what is required to get you back on the path of sanity but all too often it leaves you feeling frustrated, bitter, fed up and quite frankly moody.
Your mood affects your attitude that in turn affects your behaviour and before you know it your whole world appears doomed, miserable and void of any joy. This is not a place to spend quality time. No! You have to get practical and shift the cloud by changing your attitude.
And here’s how:
1. Think before you react
We are wired to fight or flight responses and therefore it is hardly surprising when we jump off the deep end, emotions flowing everywhere, leaving a trail of friends and foe in our wake. However, we have the ability to control this to a certain degree. The decision to listen, understand and think through first rather than jump in all guns blazing can stop us from saying things or doing things we will later regret.
Sometimes the best action is to step away from the situation and distract ourselves with some other activity until we are emotionally calm enough to deal with the issue being faced sensibly. Whilst it might not be the easy option (and blowing off steam sometimes feels necessary) it will help us to look at the situation with more clarity, less heightened emotion and make better decisions. When our emotions are highly charged we act irrationally hence we end up saying and doing things from a place of weakness. Better to gather your thoughts after a time out and come back strong, informed and calm.
2. Be Solution Focused
When stuff happens we tend to whine on and on about it for hours… days… Hell, let’s be honest, at every given opportunity. We bleed problems over anyone willing to listen and quite frankly it is unattractive and unhelpful.
So what’s a better option? Focus on finding a solution. Ask yourself; what would I need to do/say/have to change this situation for the better? And at this point don’t be afraid to ask for help (that’s often the most difficult thing we face). Write down all the things that could make the situation better or disappear completely and then decide which one is the best and get to it. Remember, every problem that has ever existed on this planet had a solution. Yours included!
3. Remember it too shall pass
I love this because it is the one thing I tell myself whenever I am fed up, annoyed or feel stuck. ‘This too shall pass’ is all about acknowledging that no matter how murky and uncomfortable a situation might be right now, in this moment, it will pass. And being able to understand and believe that can often help calm you.
4. Speak to your support team/friends
A great team will have a mix of characters who support you in different ways. Just as your needs vary, so do the conversations you need to have at any moment. I came up with the 4 R’s team:
Raving Fans – These are the friends who enthuse about you and lift you; you know that if you need a confidence boost they will deliver every time.
Reality Checkers – These are the friends who will challenge your thoughts and possibly your feelings; they are not aggressive in their approach but they want to make sure you are seeing the whole picture and not just the bits you want to.
Reflective Listeners – These friends believe you have the answers within and will question you into finding them; they will listen to you first, they will steer clear of advising, telling or agreeing with you and instead ask questions that allow you to explore your own thoughts & feelings more deeply.
Real Friend – True to the title they love you, with all your faults and warts! They may not have a solution for you but they will allow you to lean on them and willingly give you their time. Life without them would seem a whole lot tougher!
5. Remember your thoughts become you
How I wish we would remind ourselves every single day how important our thinking is. We literally become our thoughts (or experience the things we focus on the most). So one of the best things to do when in a challenging situation is dive into some positive thinking. Some quotes, a favourite book, some uplifting music, a friendly chat, a walk in the park or even a fierce workout in the gym. All of these things can help shift you from a negative to a positive state and in turn, impact your thoughts.
It all goes back to that fabulous quote ‘It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters’, Epictetus.
Keep your mind in a positive place and you will find yourself reacting in a more effective way with a winning attitude to boot!
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