Tactics To Overcome Adversity
In my case, my accident and diagnosis' were the cause of some serious stress. But in order to live a healthy, happy life, it was important for me to devise strategies to help eliminate the negative emotions before sinking in too far.
Like quick sand, negative emotions and thoughts are hard to get out of. When we're down, it becomes too easy to simply focus on the struggle, kicking and screaming. But unfortunately, that approach often makes the situation worse, sinking you deeper and deeper into your dark mentality.
Wiggling Your Way Out In 5 Steps
It may seem tedious and unecesssary to spend time purposely working your way out of a rut, but it won't always be. Like me, you'll quickly pick up the steps and soon find yourself working through them in your head, allowing you to become effective at regaining positive mental control in seemingly chaotic or stressful situations. If it wasn't for following these kinds of steps personally, I'd probably still be dwelling over some of my personal struggles.
The steps are as follows:
1) Redirect your mind
2) Clarify the solvable problem(s)
3) Refocus with a new plan
4) Share your plan
5) Execute it
Step One: Redirect Your Mind
Firstly, do something to stop thinking about what's eating at you. Try meditating, doing yoga, completing a crossword puzzle, watching a movie or baking to name a few ideas. Ultimately, you want it to be something that you enjoy that will grant you some momentary mental space. It's easy to drown ourselves in thoughts about our problems, so it's important to take a mental detour so that you can start the process of thinking productively.
Step Two: Clarify The Solvable Problems
In a constructive manner, take some time to really think about what the solvable problems are. In the heat of the moment, we often spend time dwelling on things that we cannot change, so it's very important to spend time deciphering what you can control so that you can take a proactive approach.
For instance, maybe you've been shocked by a recent medical diagnosis. While your stress might understandably relate to the actual diagnosis, it's important that you clarify what parts you can control. In this example, you can control your reaction to the diagnosis, you can control your education about the diagnosis, you can control certain aspects of your general health and wellbeing etc. If it helps, spend some time writing down what items you CAN control in the scenario. I personally have had great success with this tactic. It empowered me, making me feel less like a helpless victim.
Step Three: Refocus With A Plan
Now that you know which components of the problem you can change, start blueprinting a plan. In the case of the medical diagnosis, maybe you're planning will look like this:
I'm going to understand my diagnosis better:
- Go to the local library and research
- Research online
- Join online forums and learn from people who share the same diagnosis
I'm going to improve my general health in order to alleviate symptoms & strengthen my body:
- Join a gym
- Drink more water
- Visit a nutrition store and ask for vitamin recommendations
- Eat a nutritional, balanced diet
Step Four: Share Your Plan
In this step, the focus is on bringing loved ones, friends or even strangers, into the loop. By involving other people in your plan it will become easier to execute. Plus, it's always a good idea to be communicative when facing stressful situations. When we begin to isolate ourselves, it can cause us to fall back into the dwelling phase.
In this step, share your struggles with someone or multiple people, talk about your action plan and if you're up for it ask someone to get involved with you. For instance if one of your plan's is to 'join a gym' like in the example above, ask a friend to get involved. Generally, we are much more effective at completing these tasks when someone else tags along.
Step Five: Execute It
Now it's time to put it into gear. You've got the plan, you're in control and now you just have to do it. This is often the hardest part for people. But what's great is that because you followed the steps above you'll likely find that you're already feeling much more calm and collected by the time you get to step five. If you're still struggling to kick it into action though, try turning your plan into specific goals and assigning rewards. This might entice you to complete them.
For instance in the example above where the goal is to 'join a gym'. Maybe your goal might be to go to the gym three days a week for one month and if you complete the goal, you'll splurge on a new workout wardrobe.
Like I said above, these tactics worked very well for me. And while you don't have to write down the steps on paper, it can be helpful for some people. For me, initially, I didn't. I just thought about them. I asked myself, "what can I control in these situations?" and decided to focus on those things instead.