People put a great deal of time, effort, and energy into attempting to control their lives. Maybe this is you? You predict what people will say, anticipate certain outcomes, and hope that it will turn out as planned. Despite even your best made plans and contingencies covered, life has a funny way of throwing you curveballs.
Like you, I’ve weathered my share of storms, not the least of which was a catastrophic, hemorrhagic stroke. Through that and other “earth shattering” experiences, I’ve found that following a few steps can make all the difference in how you go through the situation, and how you feel when you get to other side.
1. Take a pause and get centered.
I call these “positivity pauses” (check out my video on how to do them), and they can do wonders when you’re in a difficult spot. Start with getting your breathing under control. If you’ve ever done meditation you’ve probably experienced the power that comes with focusing on your breath. If you find yourself staring down one of life’s fast moving curveballs, see if you can set aside 30 seconds and just take a few deep breaths. Count to five as you slowly inhale, filling your lungs with air. Let the air rest for a brief moment and then slowly count to five as you exhale. Do this a few times and you’ll find yourself relaxing just enough that the stress and anxiety of the moment will recede briefly into the background. A brief positivity pause in the midst of chaos, can create the space that helps you see all the options.
2. Reflect on what’s happening.
After the initial shock of that curveball starts to quiet, and before you jump into a knee-jerk reaction, you should spend a little time reflecting on what is actually happening. Taking this time to reflect will help you get clarity that will set you up to make choices that will serve you best, in the short and long run. Here are a couple questions I recommend to my clients that can help you with this reflective exploration. I encourage you to write your answers in a journal so you can track your progress dealing with tough situations.
- Is the way I’m feeling about this experience from the present moment, or are my feelings being triggered from my past?
- What has this experience come to teach me?
- What do I have to be grateful for in the midst of this experience?
3. Move forward toward your best option.
Now that you’re past the initial shock, and you’ve given yourself time to breathe and reflect, you’re better positioned to choose a course of action. It’s imperative at this point that you are focusing on what you want, not on what you don’t want. It’s okay to notice the contrast that’s apparent in the situation, and then, plan your course of action based on your heart’s desires. Questions you can ask yourself that can help guide you through this stage are:
- How do I give myself peace amidst what feels like chaos?
- What do I really want most and how do I give it to myself?
- What is mine to do in this moment?
You may not be able to control when life throws you a curveball, or what kind of situation the curveball brings with it. Regardless, you don’t need to let a curveball situation get the best of you. You can always get ‘superiority’ over what’s happening by using these three simple yet powerful steps. Use them on smaller challenging situations so you’re practiced at them when the bigger ones come.
This is self-mastery…mastering you in your life, so you can master whatever your life brings your way.
Stay well and BE happy!