I know it can be hard to stay positive when life’s challenges are overwhelming. It can feel insurmountable and your brain will want to take you to all the worst case scenarios. Keeping yourself in future thinking and buying into cognitive distortions, like all-or-nothing or black and white thinking, can hinder your ability to problem solve and recognize you always have choices.
Let’s look at an example, so you can see how the steps below would play out for your situation.
Your partner recently lost his job and he is depressed. You are worried for him and are trying to support him, but he refuses to communicate with you about what he needs. You are stressed because this has put a financial burden on your family. As the only one bringing in the income, you feel like you are carrying the burden and the weight of the world on your shoulders. Your health is also starting to suffer. You are having difficulty sleeping, your thoughts are racing, you’re worried for what this means for your relationship and ability to make ends meet, and you are irritable and resentful of your partner’s inability to get help and look for another job.
First, look at your situation realistically. What is your responsibility and what is your partner’s or the other person’s responsibility? As in the above example, the depressed partner is responsible for his own well-being. You cannot change or fix whatever is happening for him. You can only provide him love and support. You are solely responsible for your own well-being and needs, and need to ensure these are being met to the best of your ability given your circumstance.
Ask yourself if there is an action step that you need to take or if the situation is beyond your control. If there is nothing for you to do, then you need to challenge your thoughts, stay in the present moment, and let go of anything that is beyond your control. For things that are in your control and ability to change, support your mental, emotional, and physical overwhelm by reaching out to supportive friends and family or a counsellor. Similar to the situation above, ensure you are taking care of yourself and putting yourself first. That means doing small self-care strategies throughout the day. This can include: deep breathing, prayer, meditation, visualization, going for a walk, calling a friend, taking a bath, eating nutritious foods, drinking water.
For things that you can’t do by yourself, don’t stay stuck in worry and fear, reach out to professionals who can support you. As in the example above, if there are financial concerns speak to someone who can help. Can you get a loan from the bank? Can you speak to your boss about getting a much needed raise? Is there an organization in your country, like Money Mentors that can help you consolidate debt or give you some education or resources about becoming more financially solvent? Do you need to downsize or move?
Stay in the present moment and support your body, so you don’t get into survival mode, and can’t think rationally. If you are in fight-flight-freeze, then help bring down your body with breath work and grounding. Then take out a piece a paper and write down all the strategies that could possibly resolve the problem. It’s okay if you don’t come up with a solution. The subconscious part of your brain will keep looking for solutions and they will come to you when you least expect them, like as you are falling asleep, during meditation, or in the shower. The brain needs time to process stressful situations.
Ask for support from God, Creator, or the Universe. Speak out what you need as if it’s already come to fruition. For no more than 5-10 minutes each day, visualize it becoming a reality. Don’t worry how it will happen. Visualize how you will feel when it is resolved and there is an outcome you desire.
I hope this helps you work through anything challenging that presents itself in your life!
Find out more about mindfulness, meditation, and intentions in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.