Life can sometimes be excruciatingly hard. Someone dies, we lose our job or our housing is unexpectedly in jeopardy. We come to terms with the fact that our partner is actually abusive and we make the decision to leave her. Challenges happen and when they do, it's essential that we feel competent and confident as we move through them. Here are three ways to do that:
- Ground yourself. Sometimes when we feel overwhelmed or anxious, we feel suddenly at the whim of the universe or unmoored from our goals and plans. At moments like that, we need to stablilze ourselves. A good way to do this can be to remind ourselves that we are okay. Try this language: "In this moment, I am safe." or "Right now, I am okay." or "I'm doing the best I can." If it feels right, continue on with this self talk by reassuring yourself that you have been through difficult things before and you came through okay. Keep your words short and sweet so they have power and easily remembered.
- Get help. Reach out to a support team person (friend). Check in with your therapist. Call a sibling, your coach or a trusted colleague for a reality check. It's neither healthy nor helpful to go through a moment of crisis or challenge alone. A rational, healthy person is often exactly what you need for reassurance, tender touch and ego boost. You can sometimes do this yourself but it's much more satisfying and the affects, I think. are longer lasting when someone else is giving you the support you need to pull through a crisis.
- Question what you know. Sometimes the things we "know" are actually other people's narratives or their experiences, not even ours. A client recently told me that she had shared an embarrassing story with her mom and when her mother responded with, "you're your own worse enemy," I felt the sting of that hurtful remark across the room. The client and I decided that this was her mom's narrative, it wasn't hers. Since it wasn't hers and she didn't like it, she could decide whether or not she wanted to own it. The client decided to disown that narrative so she created a new truth ("I'm my own best advocate,") to replace the negative "knowledge" that her mom had been telling her since childhood. Questioning the voice you hear, whether spoken aloud or in your head, is often a good counter to anxiety.
What works for you when you're feeling overwhelmed or beaten down? Leave me a comment below. Thanks for reading!