Monday, July 11, 2016

How to Get Through A Bad Week


In the middle of summer can be really hard to stay motivated, especially when a bad week finds it's way into your life. Maybe your car broke down, or your dropped your phone in the deepest of the Great Lakes, or your dissatisfaction with an area or two of your life has peaked.

I can't remember the first time I heard the quote... "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out" from John Wooden (a very famous sportsball coach). But I do remember the profound impact it's had on me in situations where I lament my situation as compared to a somehow better placed friend or peer. This quote has helped me to learn that changing my perspective is the most powerful ability that I have to make my life better.

Let's keep in mind that I'm writing from a very privileged perspective in the first place. I have never experienced being in a position where I had to make tough choices between eating or paying a bill. I have however, experienced some very scary health conditions of my own and of my parents'. This advice is best for those who are generally in a healthy spot. If you are in an unhealthy place and need to seek out professional help you can research therapists through your health insurance company or through the American Psychological Association. This is a helpful piece on how to choose a psychologist.

Here are my tips on how to change your perspective to be more happy with the way things turn out...

1. Remember you are not alone

Reminding yourself that you are not the first and won't be the last person to experience what you are going through is helpful. There is always someone to reach out to in order to find support. Check through your networks and don't be afraid to be a little vulnerable, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the support you find.

2. Silence is your enemy

Silence feeds shame and shame is the enemy of joy and productivity. I believe that shame is one of the ugliest human emotions to experience. It can lead to us accepting so many things that happen to us that are unjust. Don't be afraid to talk about your problems if you are starting to feel shame. 

3. Struggling is different than suffering 

There are a few key differences between struggling and suffering. Struggling creates discomfort and growth. Suffering creates shame and regression. A little bit of struggle can be good for us sometimes, feeling discomfort lets us know that something isn't quite right with what we're doing or with our frame of reference. Viewing struggle and discomfort as the starting point to a positive journey can help you deal in the moment.

4. Pick out the small wins to celebrate

When you're in a negative place it can be really hard to think of things that you are thankful for. Even if you think of big things to be grateful for, they might seem superficial/surface-y if you aren't ready to open yourself up. Picking out a small win can remind you that the little pick-me-ups are what can get you through a tough day. Free donuts in the lounge this morning, SCORE! The flowers outside your office window are blooming, SCORE! Those little things can remind you that all things are temporary and the sadness can fade as fast as electric joy if you let it.

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