Three Steps to Take When Life Isn’t a Bowl Full of Cherries

Published by Kathy Magnusson M.Ed. on

It is a bright sunny day and you’re going about your daily business, going to work, washing clothes, sweeping the floor, making supper, and then boom!

A bomb drops!

Maybe the bomb is that your teen is involved with drugs, your friend’s mother has died, or your close friend is in an accident. Something that stops you in your tracks and shakes you to your core. You know you will step up to the plate and do your best, but how do you take care of yourself when life is anything but normal?

How do you react?
Where do you turn?
What do you do?

How do you react?

First, you react in a panic, milling around like a bug that has been swished by the big shoe of life! Or is your reaction sadness and crying, where you feel the pain and have empathy for your people involved, or for yourself. Your reaction might be to go into planning mode? Well, next I have to do this, and then I need to do that….

In reality, it could be all of these, and the reactions could all happen within seconds. Shock can take a toll on your physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Finding ways to calm yourself down and make an assessment of what is happening is hard at times when life is less than brilliant.

Breathing is the first step to calming down your reaction to the situation. Deep breaths that go in through your nose and out through your mouth. Automatically humans take over 23,000 breaths a day. Mindful deep breathing is an action we don’t usually focus on in our lives. Yet by taking several deep breaths, you can get your racing heart and mind under control. Continue breathing deeply until you can lower your pulse and arrange the next steps in your mind.

Where do you turn?

After your mind is cleared, you might ask, “What is next? Who do I turn to? Please place people in my life to help me.”

As you breathe, say to yourself, “May I be safe, may I be happy, may I be healthy and may I live with ease.” Next, say this for the other people involved in the situation. Send out encouraging energy and an intention of loving-kindness. Then think of people you can contact for support and start contacting them. You can find support from your partner, spiritual leader, or a trusted friend. Be willing to seek out trained professionals such as a therapist, counselor, or doctor in a time of crisis.

What do you do?

When turning to others, you will receive an assortment of advice, however, listening carefully to your heart, ask yourself some key questions.

  • What do I want?
  • What’s important about that?
  • What is my intention in the situation?
  • What or who am I overlooking that can help me?
  • What am I committed to doing?
  • What am I committed to not doing?

Working through these questions alone, with a trusted friend, or with a professional assures that moving ahead based on first reactions won’t produce actions that you will later regret.

So let’s be honest, the unexpected will happen in your life. It’s inevitable that upsetting events will occur. In situations where life is not a bowl full of cherries, remember to breathe through your reaction, turn to others and ask for help, and do work through the tough questions about the problem. The problem remains and needs to be dealt with in the best way possible. Dealing with the difficulty using these steps will help you address almost anything with a clearer mind and a thoughtful plan.

 

Photo by silviannnm on Unsplash


Kathy Magnusson M.Ed.

Kathy Magnusson, M. Ed., owner of Wildewood Learning, has over 25 years of experience working with adults and youth. She develops tailored made professional development opportunities for teachers and youth professionals that will support them in designing positive learning environments for their students. Kathy is in her “calm place” when serenely kayaking or relaxing with a good book at the family lake cabin.