Life is Often a Double Edge Sword!
Life is beautiful in so many ways but it can also bring on “shit storms” that create varying degrees of turbulence for all of us.
And when this turbulence hits, it can shake us and cause us to feel unsettled or completely knock us out of our “seats” and send us tumbling.
In scenarios like this, the stress centers in our central nervous system light up like Christmas trees and can often send us into a vortex of exhaustion, overwhelm, and total freak out mode!
Each Storm Is As Unique As The Person Within It!
One person’s storm may be in the form of ending a 25-year marriage and going through a brutal divorce. For another, it may be walking away from a soul-sucking career that provides a reliable income without much of a plan for what to do next. For another, it may take the form of being derailed in life due to navigating constant severe health challenges. And for another, it may take the form of losing an important person in their life and spiraling into the abyss of intense, long-term grief.
We All Need A Toolbox of Supportive Strategies to Pull From!
Whatever the case may be, when these storms hit, they can wreak havoc on all aspects of our life and wellbeing — which makes it that much more difficult to find our way back to clear skies. Because of this, it is wise to have a toolbox of supportive strategies to pull from that can help us better navigate the challenging trek forward.
My life journey with chronic severe health challenges and the resulting stress brought forth many “shit storms." Some of these storms lasted for years and caused immense financial, relational, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual destruction — of which I continue to dig myself out of the wreckage to this day.
I surely don’t claim to be an expert on navigating the storms the life, though I’ve gained a ton of wisdom in this regard amidst both my personal experiences and my professional studies of the mind-body connection, transformational coaching, and neural rewiring. While I would love to share all of this wisdom with you, it is not feasible to do so in one article. It would also likely be overwhelming to share too much — of which you certainly don’t need that if you are currently amidst turbulence.
Learning to navigate life’s hardships with more grace, ease, and while maintaining a growth mindset is an evolving process that requires a great willingness to shift our perspective and personal patterns. This takes time and patience. Because of this, it is best to begin with small, practical steps that we can easily implement into our daily routine. When we set our intention on what we want to create and then take consistent, small steps in that direction, we empower ourselves to create BIG, sustainable, positive shifts in our life.
Are you ready to shift your current trajectory and head towards clearer skies? If so, GREAT! Here is a 3-step strategy to get you started:
Step #1: Stay in the NOW!
When life goes to hell in a handbag, it is common for most of us to travel to “what-if-ville,” and engage with patterns of the past. In this space, we tend to get caught up in rumination and frantic worry, saying and asking things to ourselves such as “If I did not have such a lousy upbringing this would not be happening,” “Oh my God what am I going to do if x,y, or z happen?”, “What if I fail?”, “What if everyone thinks I’m a failure?”, “What if things don’t get better?”, and more!
As much as it may seem that doing this serves us, it does not. No matter how hard any of us try to argue with and resist reality, reality ALWAYS wins. I’ve learned the best approach is to stay in the here and now. We need to focus on the stair we are standing on versus looking behind us or trying to see up the entire staircase.
An effective way to bring yourself back to the present moment is to connect with your senses and guide your awareness to noticing how your most basic needs at the moment are met. Focus on the consistency of your breath and be grateful for how it breathes itself and supplies you with life-giving oxygen in each moment you’re alive with or without your conscious participation. Take notice of the fact that you have clothing on your back and a roof over your head to protect you from the elements. Become aware of the fact that you are supported by gravity at each moment. And finally, ask yourself, “What are three things I can hear, feel, see, and smell at this moment?”
Step #2: Avoid The Three P’s! Amidst hard times, we humans are notorious for engaging in destructive, painful dialogue with ourselves. In one of the multitudes of amazing books I’ve read on the topic of mindset, this kind of talk was described as the Three P’s. What this means is that when things go awry in our lives, instead of embracing a growth mindset, we paint a bleak picture by engaging in self-talk that promotes the following beliefs:
The situation is permanent and things will never improve! For example: “My life and health are doomed to suck forever.”
The situation is pervasive and because of this ALL aspects of my life suck. For example: “There is nothing in my life that is good or ever works out.”
We make it personal and tell ourselves that we are at fault and flawed in some way. For example: “I can’t do anything right or make a good decision, which is why nothing works out for me.”
When you find yourself amidst a super stressful and overwhelming situation, try shifting your perspective and internal dialogue a bit. For example:
“Ok. Things are crappy right now, but life is dynamic. Change is constant and new solutions can and will emerge! I did my best with the knowledge and resources I had at the time, and I will continue to do so. Although I feel horrible at the moment, I’m able to recognize that there are still good aspects of my life also — no matter how small they might be.”
Step #3: Return to the fundamentals of wellbeing and make self-care a TOP priority! When we find ourselves amidst hard times and stress hormones are pumping through our veins at a high rate, it is common to engage with all sorts of destructive lifestyle habits that only serve to create more issues for us. We tend to comfort ourselves with junk food, stay up way too late surfing the net or worrying, and we either don’t exercise, or as a coping mechanism, we engage in extreme workouts that are too taxing for our bodies.
To find the energy and wherewithal to make it through whatever storm you are currently navigating, it is integral to your success to eat a healthy diet, develop healthy sleep habits, and move your body in supportive ways each day! The fundamental pillars of health and wellness will never fail us and when we are unsure of what to do next. Returning to these pillars is NEVER a bad decision.
There are no words to describe the hardship that I have endured in my life. It has been a long, winding, and very involved process to get to where I am now. Implementing these three simple yet powerful steps has been and continues to be an integral part of my continued success to heal my body, transform my life, and build a successful online Functional Health consulting and Transformational Coaching practice.
I am confident that they will be as powerful for you in shifting the trajectory of your wellbeing and life if you implement them with intention, consistency, and a curious mind. If you do end up implementing them, I would love to hear how they help you.