Life can and will --throw us curve balls, take us on a roll coaster ride of sorts. Some of them we see coming, while others either seem to sneak-up or completely blindside us. No matter what you feel the pressure coming on, sometimes life puts us in situations where all we can do is pray and weather through the storm.
Like all of us, I’ve had my fair share of times where I’ve had to knuckle down and call on shear resilience to get me through and weather through my own storm. Heartbreak, disappointment, dealing with difficult work scenarios and the different politics that come with that. In turn dealing with difficult people, all the while keeping my head up and maintaining my position in my industry.
We feel pressure for so many different reasons. It may be that your job is doing your head in, but you just can’t leave right now. It may be that you or a loved one is ill, and you have to stop your life to care for self or for them. Maybe you feel you feel like there are not enough hours in the day, and your to-do-list keeps getting bigger and bigger. Perhaps you are experiencing a loss of someone you once relied on for support, and or you are just now facing life for the first time independently with thoughts of an uncertain future and or are struggling to stay focused.
We will all face difficult periods in our lives where there is no immediate ‘exit strategy’. Healthy coping is the way we deal with this, feeling that there is no way out, or light at the end of your tunnel.
Here are six practical things to help you cope during this time:
1. Take regular breaks to revive self. Consider taking walks around the block or in nature, brew yourself a cup of tea, take deep breathes often. Try journaling your feelings and events of the day on a daily basis. Try a guided meditation, to help get centered and grounded. Pick a great read on a self help book. Prioritize, make a note, if your body is getting what it needs, sleep, food, hydration, and exercise.
2. Practice positive self talk and affirmations. Everyone talks to themselves, from the moment we wake up, we decide what we want to eat for breakfast, what to where, if we are satisfied with how we look before we walk out our doors for our daily jobs. When we speak in a negative fashion, this creates negative attitudes and negative outcomes. People often notice when you are negative too. Think about a time when you were negative with yourself, and others kept asking you, “What’s wrong?” I am sure it has happened more than not, even if you realize it now or not. Try saying nice things to yourself all day. Affirmations are a great way to start this mindful practice.
State affirmations such as, “I am worthy, I love my body, I love my life, All good things are coming my way!”. This creates more positivity, and also helps you get through rough periods in your life. Positivity is also contagious, and it is a great gift to spread around to others.
3. Acknowledge your strengths. Sit down and make a list of all the great things about you, and what you have achieved thus far in life. Focus on those strengths, and the traits of your personality that are proven to others that ring true. The more positive strengths that are focused on, the more of that will come back to you. Strengthen those abilities that you take pride in.
4. Practice self compassion. Okay so sure we are good at practicing compassion with others, but what about when it comes to yourself?
What is self compassion?
Self- compassion is when you realize that you are suffering and or in pain, and you practice self kindness. It is ‘being gentle with and honoring yourself’. It is practicing less self criticizing, comparing, and more emotional acknowledgment for self. How am I feeling in this moment? How can I honor my feeling?
In my experience with helping others from all generations from millennial to the baby boomer generation. I have concluded that our families and society taught most of us to not express or show others feelings. They wanted all to just show others perfect outwardly lives and personas. If you expressed your feelings in youth to the ones you loved, and with quickness they shut down your feelings. For example, Some fathers told their sons, to toughen up, do not cry and/or I don’t want a cry baby for a son! This is the same with our mothers. “You’ll never be anybody, if you keep on like that!” This is a conditioned societal behavior that they learned from their parents and or peers surrounding them.
Conditioned societal pressures effect each person in a unique way. We are all not built the same, and I am confidently here to tell you that, everyone needs nurturing. We need to feel, to be human, to understand unconditional love, and to not dishonor our feelings.
As a professional I have put much thought into why this type of societal lack of compassion of feelings took a hold onto families. At least in Western history (wars, politics, religions), has shown our families,to focus on getting and maintaining a job, that's it, no emotions, or else no job. They had to harden up to get their needs met, and often did not have the choice of doing what they loved to do. Focus was on our basic needs, shelter, food, and the necessities.
While working with my clients, many have expressed feeling awkward in changing their attitudes towards more positive emotional states and honoring them. I have seen this scenario time and time again, and it helps to realize that your human and have emotional needs too!
By honoring feelings and not harboring them promotes finding your true voice, it strengthens, improves & develops highly positive, emotional intelligent interpersonal relationships with others. It also negates illness, diseases, and promotes healing, due to serotonin and positive emotions, that interact with your brain. It also creates a healthy way of showing others how to honor their own feelings, and how to express themselves back to you, and creates healthy boundaries. There are many outwardly positives that can happen while practicing positive self compassion.
5. Look at all perspectives, different from your own. Think about how you view this situation, and how others might view this situation. What is it that someone needs to know about your situation or not? Is this other person experiencing some suffering perhaps too?
Realize that we are all imperfect human beings, living in an imperfect condition here on earth. Everyone has varying degrees of pain and suffering, some worse than others. We are all forever growing and learning from our suffering and pain. Suffering and pain, is apart of the journeys of our lives. To perceive it is not apart of life, is cause for more immense unduly pain to yourself.
6. Invest in a life mentor or coach. Third party views and ears, are an excellent stress reducer, also can help brain storm with you your blocks and show you other perspectives. It also creates less burdens on your families, friends, and others whom have a different perspective or views that do not align with yours. Most mentors, and coaches are experienced in what they do. They also typically charge you the same or a little bit more than what your co-pay is for insurance provided counselors. The plus side in all of this is that it is ALL confidential, not documented, stored, and not given out for diagnosis, coding or sharing information to the government for billing and medical history. What most do not know is that mental health counselors or social workers have to record each session, by note taking about what was talked about, and they have to update insurance companies on what your mental health status is. This is something as a professional I do not condone, nor will I ever practice.
By Meredith Kindell M.A., Spiritual Life Coach