How It Is
Consider how you feel when things don’t turn out as well as you expect. How do you feel? More importantly, how do you cope?
There are lots of times like that. When you plan on something special, only to find that it’s going to be anything but. Then what?
Well, you can have a hissy fit and draw everyone into your churning calamity. Alternatively, you can sit through it serene and unfazed by the situation. Or, you can pick one of any number of permutations in between.
As for me, well I consider myself a pretty steady fellow. But that doesn’t mean difficult situations don’t faze me. Instead, what I do is use a number of steps to help me handle being slapped in the face with a cold wet fish. Some won’t apply to you, and there will be others you could recommend that I’m not using. Yet, the important thing is that we have a few cards up our sleeve to deal with the odd blow and have on hand a few worthwhile ways to recover.
At first, when I asked myself what I do when demanding situations appear, I experienced an immediate brain freeze. Then, gradually, I realized that at times I use some or all of the following:
1. Nothing – as weird as it first seems, biding time to process bad news helps to give you a chance to regain your internal composure. So, while it might look insignificant, cribbing time is well worthwhile.
2. Go walking – It’s a great way to wash away all those stress hormones and reset your pressure button. Whether you walk solo or with someone lovely, it doesn’t matter. But I highly recommend walking to help you process the significance of the change you are facing.
3. Tell yourself something helpful – How we “talk” to ourselves about situations steers outcomes and influences whether we are going to cope or fall apart. In my case, I like to remind myself that the change I face is part of how life is. Whereas, what I’d like life to be is all about wishful thinking. The wider the gap, the bigger the shock. So, I deliberately remind myself that it’s good to be able to adapt.
4.Talk – speaking with selected people can be genuinely helpful if they are wise enough to handle your news in confidence and really listen. By talking it out loud, you utilize a different part of your brain, allowing you to think through the situation in new ways too.
5. Have bigger fish to fry – if you have small to medium difficulties to face, having bigger matters to capture your attention gives you breathing space and takes you out of the stress of the situation. And that’s good, because it’s always easier to think when your head is clearer.
Finally: a caveat. I don’t mean to make light of intensely distressing situations. There are certainly times when it’s fitting to fall apart and tips are nothing if not inappropriate (given the life you are living, you are best to decide for yourself when and where that is).
How we live and how we handle dramas varies from person to person. Yet, if we apply some strategies to cope with unexpectedly unpleasant situations, our resilience increases. And that, in turn, leads to feeling less like being tossed around by the whims of the wind and feeling like you are more capable. Which, of course, you are.
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