I think I've probably written about this a few times recently, but it's a topic that bears repeating because we never know when a big, unexpected change will strike; a move, a new job, the end of a relationship, or serious health issues...to name few. Whenever I find myself faced with a difficult situation, I try to remember some of the things that my wise teacher, The Dharma Frog, has taught me to. This time is no different. So after sitting quietly, centering myself, and doing a few deep breathing exercises to clear my head, I make a reminder list of why it's always best stay positive during those challenging times in life that we all face from time-to-time.
1. Getting back up on that ol' proverbial horse. Most of us have seen both sides of the fence, either being pessimistic or being optimistic when it comes to change. I struggle with this, as lots of others do. But when you come right down to it, being optimistic about life simply feels better. Optimism leads to hope. And hope leads us to getting back up on that ol' proverbial horse and trying one more time. I know that just because I haven't found a new lily pad to move to doesn't mean that I won't find one today. Hope springs eternal and each day there are always new "horses" to ride.
2. Optimism gives us breadcrumbs to follow. Over the weekend, I watched (for probably the 100th time) The Wizard of Oz. It's one of my favorite films because it teaches so many beautiful life lessons. As I watched Dorothy and Toto start down the yellow brick road out of Munchkinland, walking towards Oz, I realized Dorothy didn't know where she was going either. But she had hope that upon getting to Oz, the great wizard would help her find her way back to Kansas. The yellow brick road was her trail of bread crumbs.
3. List, or least think about, some of those "heroes" who have struggled and gone on to do very well. Perhaps your list will include a sports hero, or two; the "Comeback Kid" who was down and out but managed to come back from adversity and win the game for his team. Or maybe your list will have the name of a family member or friend who's stayed strong while fighting a very serious illness. Or your child who struggles with school but somehow manages to get up each morning and get on that school bus. remember others who persevered through times of challenge by remaining optimistic, gives us the courage to face the struggles in our own life. When I look at my own list, I realize that looking for a new lily pad isn't really so bad. I could be facing much a more difficult challenge.
4. Change the internal dialogue in your head. Instead of going to your default thinking of doom and gloom, teach yourself new though patterns and repeat positive affirmations.
5. Tell yourself that this isn't permanent. Next week, next month, next year...this will all be over and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about. Ehen you look back on challenges you've faced in the past, you found a way to get through those, didn't you> You'll find a way through this one, too. I know that out there, somewhere, the perfect soft lily pad is just waiting for me to find it!
6. Keep moving. Exercising, doing yoga, going for a swim or run...are all good for us both physically as well as mentally. Sitting around and overthinking things isn't good for anyone. When we move, blood starts flowing to important areas like the brain! That provides this most important organ with nutrients and allows it operate at maximum efficiency. Physical movement helps us to feel more energized, too. That energy can lead us to new and creative thinking; thinking out-of-the-box. New and fresh ideas result in new and fresh ways to solve our problem. Physical activity makes us calmer and feel less stressed as well.
Change isn't pervasive. It doesn't happen all the time. That's why, when it does, we are oftentimes caught off-guard. But you can't prepare for these challenges. All you can do is live your life the best you can, knowing that when you're faced with change, you'll have the strength and optimism to push through it. And don't personalize it. We all like to blame ourselves for the "unpleasantness" we encounter. But it is rarely, if ever, always "our fault." Changing your thinking from "Always" and "Never" to "Sometimes" and "Lately" can keep us from falling into the black hole of helplessness. Actions lead us to feeling less helpless and more in control. And Boy Howdy! I know that's true. I spent as much time as I can looking at housing options all over Land of Lily Pad. By keeping busy; moving forward with researching, looking, asking and emailing keeps me focused on the present. I've a long way to go before I've exhausted all of my options. The right place for me WILL turn up. I believe that. Good or bad...actions create consequences. Those consequences signal our brain that we are not helpless which, in turn, reinforces our optimistic dialogue during tough or uncertain times.
Right now, I'm off for a morning swim...and then I'll start tackling the packing I've put off for long enough.