a special reader question today…..
when in the middle of a crisis (financial, health, marriage, whatever it may be), how do you prevent the crisis from becoming all consuming? i went through something recently and it basically took over my life and my thoughts and it was not pretty. i want to handle it better next time. i did a lot of things right, but it was still on my mind constantly and stressed me out way too much. it didn’t help that i was going thru it WITH someone, so I was feeding off of their energy as well……
can’t you relate to this? you feel like you’re doing really good, staying positive, not letting every little thing derail you, and that’s when you get tested. it’s like the powers that be say “you think you’ve got it all under control? let’s see…..” we only grow in our abilities to handle stress and adversity by handling stress and adversity, both well and fall off the wagon over the cliff not so well.
it’s only natural when something you don’t want to happen happens, to jump at the first emotion (panic, the sky is falling, oh NOOOOO) and run with it. let’s say you’re hanging out at your house with a neighbor and they knock over a beautiful vase, it shatters into a million pieces, you immediately know that no matter how beloved, what’s done is done. it’s already broken and no amount of hand wringing will change it. you might not be happy but you pick it up and move on. however… when it’s an of-the-moment ongoing issue, even though it too is already happening/happened you freeze. no looking ahead, no moving forward, time stops in this spot. the hamster gets on the wheel and runs not a 5k, but an ultra-marathon. sound familiar?
if your child or friend were facing an issue would you tell them to obsess over it? to let it be an all consuming emotion? to drown out all of the evidence supporting that it will be ok and wonder aloud with them why do they have such bad luck? probably not. so when something is happening you don’t love try this.. be proactive, ask yourself if there were any signs along the way that led to this moment (be honest with yourself.. it’s ok to make mistakes, especially when you can learn from them) and if so, could you learn to be more attune in the future to head off the collision at the pass? can you see if decisions/indecision/actions on your part created the situation you’re in and can you make more thoughtful decisions and actions now that sets up a better tomorrow? even if it’s a health issue, one that seems bigger than big, where you realize that smoking for 20 years, or eating only doritos, or whatever, might not have been as balanced as it should have been, you can still start now. eat a salad, take a walk, meditate, clear your head. the biggest question of all is what can i do from here?
what’s done is done. what can you do to move forward? what does obsessing do for you? what will stress do for you? think of a friend or family member (we ALL have one) that when something goes wrong they’re like a broken record, it’s negative this, negative that, it won’t be ok, there’s no hope. have a specific person in mind, one that drives you crazy like a loon with their doom and gloom, do you have a specific person in mind? it’s important. the person that in a million gazillion years you would never ever want to be anything like, got them? now. when the crisis arrives, think about that person and how even if it kills you, you will not be them. it’ll work, i promise. let them be the devil on your shoulder, the one that reminds you don’t do it!!! then start plotting and planning what you can do from the right now that would make a difference, what, even miniscule steps, can you take? and one at a time move forward. and when you start becoming consumed and crazy remember that person and snap yourself back to reality.
and the person you’re going through it with, the one handling it even worse? you can only be the best you can be, you can’t change another, but sometimes through your cool headed actions others become calmer and clearer, and if not, become a bit tunnel visioned with your thoughts and get away for a minute or an hour, strengthen your resolve, be clear that you are looking for solutions, not end of the world scenarios. it’s like when mom is having a bad day and suddenly that’s the day the kids act the worst, they feed off of mom’s bad energy, down mood, fussiness.. and mirror it. partners and wives and husbands all do the same thing. bad moods, bad mojo, bad energy, can be contagious, so your tunnel vision of moving forward and focusing on what to do next will be too, and if all else fails, put on some headphones. in other words, do whatever it takes to keep your mindset pointed in the forward position, and when you need some extra reinforcement, call your best friend and have strength in numbers, a crises is not the time to go it alone.