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“The most courageous decision that you can make each day is to be in a good mood.” ~ Voltaire
Let’s admit that life is not always easy.
We all have our own kinds of struggles. Some days are easy to navigate and some can be really difficult to get by.
Amidst the conflict, chaos, and unhappiness, it can get really difficult to keep your hopes up, head high, and keep going on.
On those days, you just want to find some corner, simply hide, and secretly wish that when you get out, the world will be different. Maybe you do hide. But when you do come out, you know that nothing has changed. The world is exactly the way you left it a few hours or even days ago.
And then so much of your time just goes by in trying to run away from all the chaos and conflict that you find yourself in.
At a certain level, that’s all that you can do and would want to do. I mean, it’s only human to run away from pain and anguish.
Sadly, most of us get lost in this running away. Our focus remains on pushing away those difficult feelings that come up as a natural response when we’re troubled. We get so caught up in trying to “fix” those feelings and move away from them that we lose sight of other things.
When bad moments, days, or phases hit, it’s important to drop the pursuit of running away and learn to run toward something.
Imagine something that you really enjoy doing or at least like and then think about being in that space. Wouldn’t your energy be different if you were to think about doing more of that thing as opposed to avoiding something that you don’t like?
Avoidance will always keep you amped up. You will be alert, cautious, anxious, and uncomfortable. Even though you will be trying to distract yourself using some or other means, your subconscious focus will always be on that very thing that you’re so desperately trying to avoid.
So, purpose defeated, right?
Hence, when you find yourself in the middle of a bad day, situation, or perhaps are trying to navigate a difficult situation, it’s important to:
1. Slow down your monkey mind by taking some time and space for yourself to think about your own thoughts about what’s happening.
2. Sit with those difficult feelings instead of pushing them away by saying “I don’t want to feel them!” because they will show up as a tsunami later. So, actually allow yourself to experience your emotions as completely as you can.
3. Think of something that you can turn to which could be of some support. Even if it puts half a smile on your face and gives you some relief, it’s worth the effort.
We all have moments where we want to quit. We think to ourselves, what’s the point of all this? What if all this were to end?
The quintessential existential crisis hits everyone at some point or another. We find ourselves completely helpless and clueless.
Those are the times when we don’t push for anything to happen. We simply step back, slow down, and create pockets for ourselves where we can disconnect from the chaos, lean into our emotions, flow with our thoughts, and breathe a little. This gives us the much needed time and space to come back to ourselves, gather our wits, and take the next step forward.
Here are some small things that we can do for ourselves that can help us to feel a tad bit better without turning away from our emotions. Rather, they will allow us to tune into the wisdom that they have to offer.
Ten small things that you can do to uplift your spirit and shift your perspective:
1. Go for a walk or sit quietly in a garden or park. Connect with nature and just be.
2. Listen to music. In fact, listening to music that aligns with your mood also serves as some validation for your emotions. And you always have the option of mindfully listening to something that is the opposite of what you’re feeling.
3. Write down your thoughts and feelings, and you don’t need a journal for that. Just vent whatever it is that you’re feeling without trying to analyse or find any logic to it.
4. Talk to a friend about how you’re feeling or have a random lighthearted chit-chat. Heart-to-hearts are not needed at all times, you know!
5. Play with your pet (if you have one!).
6. Eat or cook something that you enjoy.
7. Put on music and dance. Let your hair down and allow that stuck energy to move out of your body.
8. Watch something according to or contrary to your mood.
9. Take a warm water bath to relax your mind and body.
10. Visit a new place even if it’s just a coffee shop. A new place brings in new energy and space for a new perspective on the same thing.
And amidst all of this, remember that when you find yourself in the grip of such strong and intense experiences repeatedly, it’s time to clean up your lens and change perspective. It’s important to carve out some space in your life to come to terms with what you can actually improve and change and what you can’t.
Acceptance of what is going to stay the same and what has the potential of being different is important. Until and unless we take stock of our life in the larger sense, we will always be hit by an existential crisis every now and then.
Sometimes, it will be about changing something on the outside to feel good from within, and at other times, it will be about changing something on the inside, irrespective of what’s happening outside.
It’s in those transitions that life happens.
“Sometimes a change in perspective is all that it takes to see the light.” ~ Dan Brown