It seems like there’s something in the air at the moment, everywhere I look people are having crappy days, facing challenges or just having a tough time.
I myself had a day or two at the beginning of the week where I felt totally out of whack.
Here’s what I’ve learned…
1. All of us are on a journey. Even if we don’t realise it, we’re all moving forwards in our lives and through time. Whether it’s in out careers, businesses, personal relationships, parenthood, health and fitness, whatever.
We’re all moving towards something which means that the odds are, we’re going to be venturing into the unknown at some point which = freak outs!
2. Challenges will ALWAYS crop up. There’s just no other way around it, sh*t happens and these challenges will be frustrating AF. They will have you feeling stuck and hopeless, but ultimately you get to choose the way you react to these challenges.
The stress that we experience comes from our resistance to reality. This is so key!!
What this means is that the main frustration we feel when things aren’t going “right” is that we think they should be different.
What if things are going right and it’s just our perception or ideal version of the situation that contradicts it?
When we feel like our babies shouldn’t cry, or that our partners shouldn't be in a bad mood, or that we should be making more sales in our business we get frustrated.
We feel that we’re either wrong, bad or not good enough. Or that we’re the victim and life is happening too us.
These are super disempowering points of view, they’re normal and natural ways to go, but disempowering nonetheless.
3. When we’re resisting the reality of the situation and the frustration, hopelessness and other emotions that we feel as a result and we try and “fix” it, the frustrations and other emotions just persist even harder.
When we try and fix something by dismissing the cause or ignoring it altogether in the pursuit of feeling good again, we stop ourselves from actually being able to release those emotions.
It’s like papering over the cracks, it doesn't solve anything.
There are times where doing things to improve your mood or energetic state actually does help to solve the issue. Things like exercise, having a nap, going for a walk, reading, talking to a friend etc. These situations tend to just be physiological energetic lows.
In other circumstances we actually need to address what is causing the frustration or the tough times.
Just purely acknowledging it makes a huge difference!
Acknowledging what’s going on for you is super powerful. Even just stating “I feel sad” or “I feel angry/annoyed/frustrated/confused/pissed off” etc, works wonders.
Saying it, owning it, getting it out in the open and giving it the space it needs allows you to take the pressure off yourself and it stops you from feeling “wrong” for feeling this way.
By stating it and owning it you’re showing up authentically without judgement of yourself.
This is huge!
A massive component of stress and frustration is the judgement you have about yourself for feeling it in the first place. It goes back to my earlier point of “it shouldn’t be this way”.
If you believe that your situation should be different to what it is, it’s not a huge jump to land on the conclusion that there’s something wrong with you. You’re not worthy, deserving, good enough etc etc.
Taking that blame and judgement away alleviates a massive part of the frustration.
This really comes with self-awareness and self-love.
The more understanding and kind you can be towards yourself, the easier and more effective it is to tackle any challenge that pops up.
If you’re wasting your time beating yourself up and resisting reality, that’s time that could be spent on actually making progress.
I say this with total love and no judgement on you because I’m saying it as much to myself as I am to you.
4. Once you’ve accepted the situation and taken the resistance away from it. A great way to move forward is to take a deep breath, at least 3 deep breaths.
The reason for this is that when you're in frustration, anxiety, stress etc, you're mind is full of stuff and it’s really difficult to focus and gain clarity on what to do. You’re so overcome by the stress and emotion you’re feeling that everything feels chaotic inside your mind.
By taking 3-5 big deep breaths you focus your mind back to your body and back to your breath. You notice that you are safe and it’s ok.
Taking action or trying to figure out what action to take when you’re mind is chaotic is really frickin hard!
Focus your breath and allow yourself the space to see clearly again.
5. The next thing I have found really helps is to consciously look for anything and everything that you’re grateful for. Anything that makes you happy, brings you joy or adds value to your life in anyway, focus on that. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, consciously decide to think about it and feel the gratitude for it.
When we’re in a state of stress and frustration we’re focussed on what’s not working, lack and fear. The strongest antidote for this is gratitude!
6. Zoom out. Shut your eyes and picture yourself zooming out of your body, lift yourself up and look down upon the situation with a birds eye view. You can see everything better from a birds eye view.
Look at what might be blocking you, what might you need to do to navigate your way around this particular challenge?
When you’re looking at a one centimetre square of a painting, you can’t make out what the whole image is. You need to step back and see the whole thing to be able to appreciate it.
The same is true for your challenges.
7. Think about yourself as already having reached your goal. Remember, we’re all on a journey and we’re all heading towards something. Imagine yourself as having accomplished everything you want, having everything you want, and ask yourself how that version of you would deal with what’s happening right now.
If you can’t imagine yourself in that place, think about someone you really respect and admire, what would they do? How would they think? What would they be focussed on?
This really helps you to get out of your own head about it and see a route forwards.
The ultimate empowering way to view any situation, especially the challenges, is to decide to see it as happening for you.
What is the lesson?
Even when you don’t want to hear it, be open to it being there. Then when you’re ready and you’ve taken the pressure off yourself by allowing yourself to feel and own your emotions, you can start looking for the lessons.
When you see life in this way, it becomes so much sweeter. It’s easy to be happy and grateful when things are going well. But the true measure of inner peace, happiness and fulfilment is the ability to ride the waves, see the lessons and have gratitude for the challenges.
It’s a practice, no one said it would be easy. But if you choose to adopt this mindset you will feel the difference.