Rough day? Week? Month?
Everyone has their days where things just aren’t working out. Let us remember, life is not a bowl of cherries. It’s a bowl of cherries with the occasional caterpillar at the bottom. Some people have juicy cherries, others have an abundance of caterpillars. We are all different. We face different occasions of suffering and we greet and deal with them in different ways. Below are 5 tips that help me get through rough situations. Depending on your personality and style, I hope that at least one of these tips is helpful.
1. Take a ‘chill pill’…
Taking the pill of chill will mean something different for everyone. It could be taking a walk, stopping what you’re doing to close your eyes, taking deep breaths, saying a little prayer, or going to a quiet place to be alone. Whatever the ‘chill pill’ means to you, try and stay there for a while. Removing yourself from whatever is causing you stress can bring you away from the racing anxious thoughts in your mind and replace them with calm ones. Sometimes I imagine myself sitting on a beach and watching a calm ocean. Other times I imagine myself lying in a grassy meadow with the sun setting. By taking the ‘chill pill’ I am removing myself from the situation at hand and allowing myself to calm down. This in turn will clear my mind and enable me to move on, or make a more reasonable decision about what was causing my stress.
2. Go to your happy place
I find that when I’m in the moment of dealing with a rough situation, it sometimes helps to go to my ‘happy place’ in my mind. For example, if you’re trying to work things out with a boyfriend, fiance, friend, or coworker and your first impulse is to get mad and say not-so-nice things, this could work. This is especially good for those moments of silence when nothing is being said and it gets mildly awkward. Going to your happy place just means, going back to a memory, or a time in your life where you were having a good time. It could be a memory of being with a family member who made you laugh, or a memory of a vacation you took that you enjoyed. Any memory that will bring good feelings to yourself in that moment. This in turn is like the previous tip in that it will calm you down, and allow you to say things that are not for the sake of lashing out, but that will help turn your conflict into a conversation.
Tip: One time I went to my happy place and I started to laugh… don’t do this. It will aggravate the other person.
3. Do something nice for someone else
This tip is more for those days when you really need to get over something. It could be that your brother broke up with your best friend and is now going out with a girl that you refuse to get along with. Or this could be for the friend who did you wrong, has apologized and you still can’t forgive them no matter how much you want to. All this does is help the healing. If you do a nice gesture towards that person (make them a cupcake, buy them a case of beer) you may find that your feelings of fustration with them will lessen and eventually cease to exist.
This tip could also be for those days where you need to get your mind off of something that is giving you grief. By taking your mind off of the situation and doing something nice for someone else you are putting your mind at ease for that moment. This could also give you a sense of productivity and accomplishment. By making someone else’s day, this could in turn give you a little happiness in your time of grief.
Journalling has proven to be a great way to ‘get things out’, but also to reflect on past events. I find that journalling helps to clear my head and get my thoughts onto paper. This also allows me to reflect on my thoughts or actions, and make a clear decision on what I need to do next. It could also help to read about other rough events that you have written down, because when you look back you remember that you got out of those situations. This could bring feelings of hope that this time, you will get through it as well.
5. Do something productive
This tip in a sense is like tip #3, except instead of doing something for someone else you are maybe doing something that just needs to get done. When I’m upset and there’s piles of laundry or dishes that need to be done, I get to work. Knowing myself, I get more stressed when I see those things lying around not done. If I’m stressed and I know that I have a ‘to do’ list with 15 tasks written down, my level of stress sky rockets. By completing these tasks, I allow myself to reflect, occupy my mind, and clear my head of other things that will cause me to worry more. In a sense I find it therapeutic. By putting things away and clearing my ‘to do’ list, I am also clearing my mind.
So now what?
Like I said before, EVERYONE is different. These tips are in no way meant for every person. You can take these tips and add your own flavour to them. All in all, I hope that they are useful to the caterpillars that you find in your bowl of cherries. And don’t forget, caterpillars can transform into butterflies.