Hold On Gently ~
Have you seen the movie Bucket List? It is pretty inspiring. It’s about a couple of guys who decide to finally do the things they’ve always wanted to do in their lifetime. Lately I’ve been meeting too many people immobilized by what ifs and simply thinking too much. I am aware of the hard times many of us find ourselves facing with this depressed economy, however, I also believe some of us have created a black and white situation – meaning we see ourselves as either finding success or doomed to failure. Not necessarily an accurate perception.
Our minds have great power and can easily run away with our thoughts to the “what ifs” and negatives. I propose that there is a balance that each of us can find in our own mind. What we humans tend to do is panic and overcompensate – when we find ourselves in a stressful situation we hold on for dear life. I would like to suggest alternatives that might relieve some of that anxiety and stress.
First of all, I encourage you to reach for the stars – AND to keep your feet on the ground. That being said – balance is the key. Do your homework, check things out, then go for your “Bucket List” – take a risk. Don’t let fear immobilize you and keep you from taking those risks you’ve only dreamt about. If a storm hits – hold on gently – ride it out. If we hold on tightly – insistent and adamant – we only create greater stress – not resolution.
Life is about speed bumps – hurdles – and amazingly enough they actually allow us to have a greater appreciation of our successes and triumphs!
So I offer you a few strategies when (and before!) the chaos of life slams up against your window:
Picture your mind as an “empty vessel” – let those negative thoughts flow through – do not try to stop them because they will only become more insistent. Acknowledge each thought – “yup, there you are” – then let it flow in and out.
Try keeping a gratitude journal – simply jot down the things in your life you are grateful for: your garden growing, being able to sleep in an extra 15 minutes, seeing a sunset – whatever – the simple things.
Most importantly – before you go to sleep each night – reflect on at least 3 good things in your life that happened that day. These can be as simple as not having to wait in line at the grocery store – to – your neighbor smiling or waving at you today.
It seems as humans we tend to focus on things that go wrong in our lives – the setbacks. That is often a natural reaction so be OK with that – and then – use the strategies suggested here to help yourself out of that slump. Breathe – acknowledge the situation – then step back and assess: is this actually going to trigger the end of my life? 99% of the time the answer will be NO. That is your reality check.
So in closing let me again encourage you to reach for your stars and remind you that in the midst of a crisis or hard time, it is best to take a deep breath and hold on gently. I wish you well and invite you to phone or email me should you or someone you know need some help getting over one of life’s hurdles.
Debbie Bauer, LMFT
~easing life’s journey~