What to do when bad things happen
When bad things happen it is so easy to get into a spiral of feeling down, whether its something big like illness, relationship troubles or a relatively minor thing like your car won't start or your best top gets boil washed and comes out small enough for a Barbie...
Feelings of sorrow, sadness, anger and frustration are normal but are they helpful? Focusing on the things that are going wrong in your life feeds the negativity. Try to focus on what you want rather than what you don't want.
Here are ten things to do when bad things happen. Will they make everything better? Probably not, but will they make YOU feel better in that moment, I hope so.
1. Remember that you aren't alone
Whatever your issue, you are not alone. The Internet is a big place and there will always be someone else going through or come through what you are. I blog about my illness so much because when I was sick it helped me to read other peoples experiences. It gave me practical tips and ideas on how I could manage but it stopped me feeling quite so alone.
Talk to family and friends if you can, but if not there is a whole world of support waiting for you online if you just look. Asking for help is not failing; it is being sensible and accepting when you need a hand.
My one caveat to this is that forums can be depressing... people like to write about the bad times but are less likely to write about positive experiences, so if you feel that reading a forum is not helping just switch that shit off!
2. Take a deep breath
I would have titled this 'Meditate' or 'Practice Mindfulness' but those words turn off some people, they thing it’s hippyish or a bit silly. The reality is that focusing solely on your breathing clears your mind. Close your eyes and think about your in breath and your out breath. Are you breathing through your nose or mouth? Control your breathing, inhaling slowly and the gently release that breath...
This simple act WILL calm you down. I try to do this a couple of times a day, I find it really focuses my thoughts and makes my day calmer.
3. Knowledge is Power
I really believe that knowledge is power, it gives you control and allows you to make informed choices and rational decisions. If you feel out of control, everything seems worse. Google it. Go to the library. Ask someone. But learn about what it is you are going through.
4. Be kind to yourself
When life slaps you in the face you need to be kind to yourself. What makes you feel better? Is it a night out with the girls or a movie in with the kids? Do the thing that relaxes you and makes you feel good, whether that is cooking an amazing meal for yourself, going to the library and hiding there reading all afternoon, a deep bath with oils and bubbles or a pamper of painting your nails or having a facial.
I don't know what makes you feel better, you do, so do it.
5. Hide away
It’s ok to feel you need to hide away, as long as it’s only temporary. When things are bad I like to make myself a nest of cushions and duvets, I bring a picnic of foods to the nest that are easy to eat and need no cooking. I climb into my nest with a remote and watch films or TV series... I love Netflix (my friends laugh at me, because I talk about it a lot!) My hideaway means slobbing in a corner and allowing myself to switch off.
6. Things will get better
I saw this quote that said "Everything is ok in the end, if its not ok, then its not the end” Perhaps things won't get better in the way you think they should, but even the darkest night has a sunrise. Be open to new experiences; be positive and grateful for the things you have and things will get better.
7. Look for the love and kindness around you
No matter what the Daily Fail wants you to think, people are generally good. Of course there are arseholes in this life but most people have a heart filled with love and kindness if you just look for it.
Give out love and kindness to others and you will receive it back.
8. Get moving
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that trigger a positive feeling in the body. It is proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety, boost self-esteem and improve sleep. You don't have to go to the gym or run a marathon, but a long walk in the woods with my dog always makes me feel a bit better about the world.
9. Get organised - gain control
You might not be able to control what has happened, but you can control how you react and deal with it. Making lists or having a clear out is a physical way to help your mind feel organised. I know that control is a big thing for me, if I feel out of control I get frustrated, angry and like I’m in free fall. Organise your space, use pinterest, get a notebook, anything that helps you feel organised is going to help.
10. Know that you always have a choice.
No matter what happens, you do have a choice in how you react. Accept responsibility of your own actions, educate yourself, take a deep breath and know that you can face the worst things in the world, your reaction to them is your own doing.
EE Cummings said "Remember one thing only; that it's you - nobody else - who determines your destiny and decides your fate. Nobody else can be alive for you; nor can you be alive for anybody else"