Sometimes in life we find ourselves faced with obstacles or situations that we don’t agree with but cannot necessarily do much about. It can be a decision someone else has made that affects you in some way or an unfavorable circumstance. If you’re feeling stuck or frustrated in a situation like this and it seems like your world is falling apart, be aware that regardless of what’s happening, you have control over how you choose to react and therefore, how quickly you pull yourself out of the negative feelings. Below are the steps I use to pull myself up and stay calm and happy whatever obstacle comes my way.
First things first, if you’re feeling sad or frustrated, the worst thing you can do is to suppress the strong emotions you are feeling. We live in a society that teaches us that crying or showing emotion is a sign of weakness and vulnerability. The risk this poses is that if you don’t let the emotions out, they start to accumulate inside of you and with time can lead to a serious breakdown or even physical illnesses. So if you need to cry, just cry as much as you need. Let it all out. You will be amazed how relieved you feel afterwards.
If you have a friend that tends to have a positive outlook on life, it might be a good idea to call them and talk with them about the situation. Oftentimes when we are stuck in the middle of a storm, it’s hard to look at the situation objectively. Having someone to look at it from a bystander’s perspective, can help you gain some distance to the situation and perhaps give you ideas of what can be done. Talking things through can also be a powerful way to release the tension, similarly to crying.
Once you let at least the first rush of emotions out, try stepping back from the situation and objectively asses whether there is something you can do about it. If you find yourself not being able to think clearly and find any solutions, it might help to “sleep on it” or at least do something for a bit that is engaging and keeps your mind off the original problem. This helps your brain to put seemingly unrelated ideas that it stores together and come up with more creative solutions.
If you find that there is something you can do, commit to taking action and just do it. If you, however, find that there isn’t, see how you can use the situation to your advantage. Even if you cannot solve the problem to your full satisfaction, there are always ways to turn the situation around to your advantage to some extent. In the very least, you can view the situation as a valuable lesson for the future or something that makes you strong or pushes you to grow. The hardest situations in life can be turned to our advantage if they push us to seek answers, learn and grow. It’s also good to remember that sometimes what feels like a curse in the moment, can put us on a path to much better things coming into our life. Try to look back to other difficulties or inconveniences that happened to you in the past. Chances are that you will find that some of them actually led you to something great happening later on like meeting someone that is special for you or coming across a unique new opportunity.
Last but not least, once you’ve done everything you actively could, make sure to come to terms with what happened – accept it for what it is and just let it go. Realize that recalling what happened over and over again in your mind will not help with anything and will only unnecessarily prolong your suffering. You’ve done all you could so you can choose whether you want to stay in the state of suffering or you prefer to move on and actually allow yourself to feel good. That’s all it takes – awareness that you have a choice and making that choice. Choose to do something that you know makes you feel good – do a fun workout, pick up an engaging book, go outside for a walk, solve some puzzles, watch a comedy or even just take a nap. Soon you will realize that you have more control over your own well-being than you thought you had. The key is learning to disengage from problems and develop a habit of thinking about problems and obstacles in an action-oriented way rather than from a perspective of a victim of circumstance.