12 Hacks for Saving Your Sanity in the Face of Adversity
Life is all about change and coping with the unexpected. Nothing ever stays the same, nor should it, really. It is through change and adversity that new desires are born. We learn what we want every time we experience discomfort or something we don’t want. That discomfort provides us with the greatest opportunity to expand our horizons and become better in every way. Coping with challenges doesn’t have to be stressful. After all, stress and worry are not even based on real things. These emotions are actually a by-product of the stuff you tell yourself that hasn’t even happened. In other words, they are nothing more than manufactured baloney based on an imagined outcome. It’s true, yet we humans fall into that trap all the time!
How you manage troublesome events, change and life in general is really all about your perspective. Your thinking around situations will determine how well you cope. I’ve gotten quite good at facing life’s challenges and between reading, observing and making a few discoveries of my own, I’ve gained a fair amount of wisdom. In this blog, I would like to share a few ideas for coping with all types of challenges so you can keep your sanity in check and live a joyful life.
1. Avoid focusing on the problem and be eager to find solutions. Anything you think about will grow in some way. Negative situations can really gain a lot of momentum and screw up your life (or at least your day) if you focus your attention on what is going wrong. Try to take a step back from a negative situation and look toward the results you would rather see and how they could possibly come about. Moving your thinking toward more positive thoughts will allow you to be more productive.
2. Search for better feeling thoughts. One of the best ways to turn your mood around and stop focusing on a negative situation is to try to think of slightly better feeling thoughts. Let’s face it, if you are in a rotten mood, you cannot suddenly get happy any more than you can leap across the ocean, so do it in tiny increments. For example, you may have a neighbour who is really annoying. Focussing on how much of a jerk he is won’t help you deal with the reality of his existence, and maybe moving isn’t really an option for you, so all you can really do is focus on the neighbours you do like. Perhaps you can comfort yourself with the idea that your home is your castle and inside is your sanctuary. Nobody disturbs your peace until you give them permission to enter your imagination. Get the picture? This technique works in every type of situation.
3. Allow yourself to follow what feels good. Whether change is thrust upon you, or you are being forced to make a difficult decision, it is important to do things that feel good and right to you. Sorry, vengeance is not an option. If you think about it, vengeance is not actually a good feeling state of mind. It is born of anger and contempt which is a very bad head space to spend time in. Hateful behaviours beget more hateful behaviours and add misery to your life. Assholes are truly miserable people, so don’t complicate your life by being one. The whole point of this exercise is to find ways to alleviate misery and increase your joy. If you feel joyful or light hearted in a situation, then take it as a sign that you are doing something right. If all you feel is neutral, then know that you are not making anything worse.
4. Avoid trying to please others. Do you find yourself worrying about how your actions might affect people’s opinion of you, or how others will react to your decisions? In keeping with doing what feels good to you, you must remember to guard your personal happiness. Trying to please others will deplete your joy, so avoid getting sucked into that vacuum. Your life will move forward with greater ease if you give up the notion of having to take responsibility for the happiness of other people. Free yourself from being controlled by those who try to make their lack of joy your problem. If your eagerness to please others over yourself is born of a desire to find unconditional love, I’ve got news for you. The only person who is truly capable of loving you unconditionally is you. Give yourself all the love and approval you need and most others will be automatically drawn to you. No effort is required to lure anyone into loving and appreciating you, once you fully love and appreciate yourself. People incapable of giving you any appreciation have issues with their own inner being and should not be allowed to take up your mental energy (even if they are related to you). Choose peace of mind and focus on being in harmony with your inner being instead. The relationship you have with yourself is the most important one of all because it will dictate the quality of all other relationships you have.
5. Embrace possibility. Possibility is exciting. When you are convinced that anything good is possible, there is plenty to be excited about.
6. Don’t let the what-ifs get in your way. In the spirit of embracing possibility, we must focus on not allowing ourselves to worry about what obstacles might surface during the course of our journey. I always say, if you let the what-ifs in life stop you, you wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning. What if you tripped and broke your leg? It is important to remember that while anything good or bad is possible at any given time, solutions have a way of presenting themselves and helping us avert disaster. Don’t create worry for yourself. Be open to discovering wonderful outcomes.
7. Find things to be happy about. Even in the most miserable circumstances there are great things to look forward to or appreciate. For example, a dying relative brings sadness to the family, but may also bring people together, and that is a nice thing. Maybe there are other areas of your life that are going well and bring you joy. Focus on those things. If you can’t find a pleasant thought in the present, then find one from the past to focus on. Think of a joke that made you laugh, the memory of a baby, look at a picture or video of your pet or go have some great sex. The last item on that list usually works very well. Try anything healthy to help you change your frame of mind and then hold onto that feeling for as long as possible.
8. Be mindful of your general mood. The things that show up in your life are often a barometer for your general mood, so be sure to guard your happiness. Guard it by looking after your own thoughts and by avoiding the company of miserable people. You can’t help them. They will only drag you down. People who are perpetually negative unwittingly bring a sequence of misery into their lives and by extension, the lives of those around them. Don’t get swept into the sea of someone else’s despair and perpetual complaining. Be positive, be inspiring, but don’t be an ear to someone who thrives on the drama of unhappiness. They will suck the life out of you and you will never be able to breathe the joy of life into them.
9. Don’t pressure yourself to have it all figured out. One of the toughest things about adversity is that it comes with great uncertainty. There are many unanswered questions, and the path forward can seem rather dimly lit, but plod on. You don’t need to have all the answers in place in order to be successful. You just need to commit to making decisions and have faith that your actions will take you where you need to go. Nothing needs to be perfect in order to be right. Solutions always come to the surface and things do work out eventually.
10. Enjoy the process. Try to be lighthearted in your daily life and enjoy the process of discovering new things and new ways of getting to new places. Ask yourself, “What can I be happy about today?” “Who will I speak to and laugh with today?” “What will inspire me?” Tell yourself, “I like the feeling of knowing things always turn out for me.” “I like being surprised by good news.” Hold onto those joyful feelings as much as possible. Remember, you don’t need to know the answers or have a checklist of things to do. You just need to show up with the right attitude and things will fall into place for you quite miraculously. Trust me when I tell you this. I know from experience.
11. Meditate. Meditation is good for your mind and soul and it doesn’t have to take up a lot of your time or occur at a special time of day. Go to a quiet place and sit comfortably. Turn the ringer off on your phone and set the timer to 15 minutes and 15 seconds (15 seconds for fidgeting). Close your eyes and simply focus on your breathing. Try to empty your mind as you listen to the sound of your breath. Don’t worry about thoughts as they come into your mind. Simply refocus on your breathing and continue to do so until the timer goes off. You can use an app on your phone to guide you through a meditation as well. There are many available.
Meditation helps you find clarity, relax and connect to your inner being. It is the best way to clear the airwaves to your inner guidance system. Think of yourself driving in a car trying to hear directions from the GPS while three passengers are laughing and talking loudly. Meditation is a way of muting the voices that distract you while on route to your destination. A friend of mine who teaches meditation told me it is not what happens during the meditation that is important, but rather what happens between meditations. Over time, with daily practice, you should find yourself feeling calm, clear minded and feeling a greater sense of well-being. Try to engage in meditation every day for at least 15 minutes. If you can do more, then do so. I am an advocate of committing to what you can do consistently and then as the habit forms and you begin to crave meditation, you will be able to easily add more time.
12. Look after your health. Exercise regularly, eat healthy food, drink lots of water. Even 30 minutes of daily exercise (two 15-minute walks, or some yoga, or weight training) can help you improve your focus and relieve feelings of stress. Start by doing whatever you can do consistently and then challenge yourself to do more as you increase your level of fitness. Health and fitness is as much about nurturing your relationship with your inner being as it is about keeping yourself out of the doctor’s office. Look after your whole self. Respect your body by giving it the best treatment possible.
You don’t have to be in crisis to practice these hacks. In fact, I would suggest you simply embrace an attitude of love, joy and perpetual well-being and let it carry you to wonderful places every day of your life.
Renée Cormier is a certified coach and facilitator on a mission to show people how changing their thinking changes their lives. Contact Renée to learn how to quickly move forward and achieve growth in business and all other areas of life. Renée happily shares her business and personal development expertise through a variety of training and coaching programs that create unsurpassed value for her clientele.
Are you tired of wanting things to be different? Do you accept that your thoughts sometimes hold you back? Would it help you to have an accountability partner? Would you like some help setting goals and getting things done? Ask about my new flat fee accelerated coaching program. For a flat fee of just $997 you can access unlimited one-on-one coaching for a full year. My Action Focused Express Coaching program is revolutionary and guaranteed to get results!
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