Some days, the length of the to-do list is completely discouraging, the body is hurting, the kids are squabbling, the parents are helpless, the partner insensitive, the work not progressing, the weather uncooperative, friends are busy with their stuff….and sometimes all of this happens in a single day! You know what I mean??
How do you cope when life presents itself that way to you? Do you slowly sink into the quicksand of stress, helplessness and “poor me” and have trouble extricating yourself?
What is your strategy of lifting yourself up when challenges arise in your life and begin to pile up on top of you?
There are lots of options and when you are choosing, it is crucial to be aware if you want to create a real shift or change. Sometimes all you really want to do is escape from all: from your feelings, from particular people and from challenging situations.
Some of these escapist or distracting behaviors may include watching a lot of TV, reading or being on the Internet without purpose. You may also be drawn to frequently inspecting the fridge to see if something new and enticing appeared on the shelves between visits. Perhaps a drink or two or three will do the trick.
There is nothing wrong with any of these behaviors. However, what usually happens is that they do not create a true feeling of upliftment. As soon as the behavior stops, you are right back where you started. You feel ok while you are distracted, there is some immediate relief, but it does not pay forward. And some of these behaviors can easily become habitual and addictive. When that occurs, you will go there by default and no longer feel the empowerment of consciously choosing your next step.
Another option is to create upliftment from the inside out! This requires your willingness to commit to a change and follow through – and that can be challenging. However, when you do, it is rewarding and will pay forward.
One approach is to engage your physical body and have it interact with your environment. Going for a walk, exercising and dancing are some of the ways that move emotional energy through you and disburse it. Increasing your rate and depth of breathing shifts your energy levels. Physical activities put your attention into the present moment, a place where you are free of the worries and burdens from the past and future. Often physical activity will result in creating an “after glow”, a feeling of lightness and expansion that extends forward in time.
Creative endeavors are another way to lift you up. Being immersed in a creative activity often has the effect of letting you forget time and space. You are present to your task and “out of your mind’, creating a sense of spaciousness that opens the door to ease and peace.
Another simple way of uplifting yourself is to consciously and regularly practice gratitude. Anytime you catch yourself on the downward spiral, stop yourself. Take 3 minutes of connecting with your heart to a person you love and you are grateful to have in your life. From here add your gratitude about other people, things or events and notice yourself beginning to move along an upward moving spiral. This is an easy and effective way to pull yourself out of the quicksand!
Last but not least: notice how an uplifting activity will result in uplifting the corners of you mouth as well, creating a beautiful smile that in turn causes others around you to feel uplifted and turn on their smiles…
Love those chain reactions!