Seven Ways of Dealing with Life's Ups and Downs

I remember a line in a book I read once that seemed to capture one of life's little mysteries.  It went something like, 'One day you wake up and feel like you could conquer the world and the next day you wake up and are flattened by a spilled cup of coffee.'   It's true.  Something in us seems to shift, sometimes during the night, and we just 'wake up' feeling strong and unshakable or weak and fragile.  We can't always control whatever that is.  However we can still choose our response to it.  You can:

1.  Cut yourself some slack.  Maybe you slayed dragons during the night and need a break.  Maybe your body and psyche are telling you to rest.  Maybe its hormonal.  Maybe it's the position of the moon.  Who knows all the threads in the tapestry of our 'wake up' mood?  We just 'know' that we as human beings have different moods and feelings and some days are better than others.  Be nice to yourself on a 'spilled cup of coffee' day.

2.  Blame no one.  Honestly?  It never helps.  First of all it gets your brain and then your heart all swirling and agitated and angry.  Secondly, if you blame someone/something else, then you are filled with indignation, outrage and offense, but since you are a victim, you feel powerless.  If you blame yourself you are filled with guilt, shame and regret, but since it is 'in' you, you feel powerless.  Remember #1, cut yourself and others some slack, and focus on what would truly help most in the moment.

3.  Allow yourself to Feel.  Maybe the most helpful thing in the moment is to face your feelings.  Maybe you are genuinely disappointed, sad, hurt, angry, remorseful....  Allow it to be real.  Say it out loud.  Hold it carefully for awhile, and then ask yourself, what is the most helpful thing for me to do with these feelings now that I have truly felt them.  Do I need to write it out?  Talk to someone?  Let it go?

4.  Own what you need to own.  If you have participated in creating your 'down', then own it.  This is very different than blaming yourself or beating yourself up.  If you drank too much, ate too much, watched the wrong movie, spent time with the wrong people, worked too late or... indulged the wrong thing... yet again, make it real by saying it out loud to yourself in the mirror.   Pledge to your reflection in the mirror that you will set a new healthier course for yourself.   Remember #1, #2, and #3 as you are doing this.

5.  Seek Growth.  Sometimes it's on the down days that you make new resolutions that end up being life-changing.  Maybe the 'new healthier course' leads to a pivotal decision that takes you someplace awesome.  When things are going smoothly, we sometimes become morally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically a bit lazy.  It's partly why kingdoms won are then later lost.

6.  Don't Believe Everything You Think.  It is true that when you are 'down', you truly cannot remember all the good things in your life.  It's called 'mood-dependent memory'.  However if you know that, you can press over-ride in your brain and remind yourself that your current thoughts are not accurate.  If you have trouble recalling even that, then write a note to remind you and stick it to your bathroom mirror or your dashboard.

7.  This too Shall Pass.  It's a fact. Whatever you are feeling and experiencing today will pass.  It's true about your awesome days as well.   Don't let your identity become so enmeshed in your daily mood that you cannot remind yourself of this time-tested truth.  It will help keep you both humble and empowered.

And... as always...If you are struggling to find the strength or wisdom to respond in this way, call me.  I will help.

Posted on March 2, 2016 .