November 22, 2014

The Key to Getting Through Tough Times.

How do you react when something bad happens to you?

Do you find yourself getting extremely down or angry? Do you feel you spend more of your life in a bad mood than a good one?

The problem is we’re giving our control over to external events.

We can learn how to steady our inner resilience like an expert captain sails his boat—not only when the water is calm but also when there are choppy waters ahead.

Did you know the happiest 10% of people are not always happy?

I had an expectation that things should always be great, all of the time. I thought that when something bad happened to me, there was something terribly wrong. Surely I should never have to feel pain, right?

I needed a reality check.

To expect things to be grand 100% of the time—that’s a pretty lofty ideal to attain.

The problem was, when I thought situations were not working in my favor, sometimes I would get very depressed.

For example, if something wasn’t going well at work or in my relationships, I thought it should’t be like this.

You know the saying “seeing the world through rose-colored glasses?” Well, I saw the world through “poop-colored glasses”. Everything and everyone sucked.

No one experiences happiness all the time but some people handle their “downs” better than others.

I knew I couldn’t continue on this way and let myself be subject to such uncontrollable variables.

It wasn’t fun.

I learned how to navigate myself better through tough times and this is how I did it.

First, I had to change my expectations.

The world isn’t perfect; you are going to have good and bad times.

Once I developed this mindset, I was not so disappointed when I experienced something “negative.”

People are going to reject you. They will say mean things to you. You’re going to have bad days at work. The messy stuff is part of life too.

Next, I made a list of all the things that were bothering me.

I went down the list and separated the items into things I could control and things I couldn’t control.

With the items that were out of my control, I had to accept them. We create pain for ourselves when there is a divide between what is and what we want. If we align the two, our pain goes away. We accomplish this through acceptance of what “is.”

Then, I took a look at the items I could control.

I began to takes steps to change them. Is started with the smallest tasks and worked my way to the larger ones.

For example, I had a stack of laundry piling up in my room. Every time I would walk past the ever-growing pile, it would nag at me.

A little spark of negative energy would be set off every time I saw the mound of clothes and told myself: “I should really get that done, I’ll do it eventually.”

Clearly the answer was simple: just do the laundry!

However, many times we let something that has a relatively easy solution, drive us crazy.

We can put an end to the madness.

Once I did it, it wasn’t that bad and the relief afterward was the big payoff.

Eventually, I was able to accomplish harder tasks, such as telling someone what they were doing really bothered me so my resentment didn’t build. I repeated this process until everything on the list of “problems I could control” was resolved.

Some tips to remember.

Our challenging times are not forever. Everything is temporary (both good and bad ones).

We can’t always see the big picture. Sometimes something bad may turn out to be a good thing in the greater scheme of things (and vice-versa).

Discomfort equals growth.

Once I realized I could put an end to my suffering through either acceptance or by actively addressing what troubled me, my life got much easier.

Not because what happened to me changed but because I could control the way things affected me.

See how this works for you. If you can learn how to stay the course when it’s not always smooth sailing, you’ll be able to weather the inevitable storms of life much better.


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Author: Amanda Rex

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr

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