There are times when all of us feel down, confused or depressed about what to do next with our lives or even how to solve problems or escape situations we find ourselves in. However, there are many ways out and many approaches you can take to move forward, regardless of your current situation. What is important to understand is that almost any situation you find yourself in (e.g. losing a job, ending a relationship, not having enough money, etc.) is a symptom and not an actual problem. You may read books on finding a job or how to start/maintain a good relationship but all of them will be a band-aid solution until you understand that the root cause of all problems lies in human mind – it is where all main action happens, and all the outcomes you get – are simply a result of how you think, your attitude and your understanding of the environment around you and your own abilities and your perception of other people around you and their perception of you – this is what impacts your behaviour. Once you find ways to control your mind and be aware of your emotions, you can really take control of your life.
- Lose your fear: The worst is already behind you. Whatever happened to you has already happened, and you are still here. Everything else that can happen will only bring you up and not down. If you are at the bottom right now, the only way is the way up. Let’s say if before you were afraid of losing your job and that prevented you from sleeping at night, and let’s assume you lost your job – that’s it. You no longer have to fear what will happen if your worst fear comes true. However, it also means that while it was not pleasant, it is not as bad as you have feared. You may have to adjust your lifestyle and begin trying doing different things, and leaving this situation may require more effort than before, but it does not mean it is the end. Also, your failures do not reflect on who you are. You are independent of good/bad things that happen to you. There is you as a person and then there are things that happen to you. There is no justice in the world, and bad things happen to good people all the time. However, being able to ask yourself what this situation teaches you will help you to create a new future that will be created in the way to avoid this situation to happen to you again.
- Control your physical environment: your surroundings do reflect your inner state. Start with your home – if you were seeing this house/place the first time, what can you say about the person living here? Does this person have their life under control?
- Think about the physical environment that will empower you in your new, amazing future life. Would you keep current furniture, layout? If they do not inspire your best and do not make you feel energized when you need to be energized, supported when you need to feel someone is on your side, or safe when you do want to feel comfortable, then it is time to update them! It also applies to what apps you have on your phone, what accounts you follow on Instagram, what blogs and books you read, the people you friend with – think what perfection version of you would surround herself/himself with. What clothes would they wear, what products would they use, who would they quote?
- Physical movements: you do need to move. The more active you are, the better you will feel. You do not have to have a lot of money or to introduce big changes to your lifestyle to achieve it. There are many ways to introduce more physical movements or exercise in your life. For example, I do not like going to the gym but I have discovered how much joy it brings me to dance to Zumba lessons I find on YouTube. You can also get a yoga mat, an exercise ball, weights or a meditation app. There are many things that will fit in a small condo and there are exercises you can do without investing in professional gym equipment or pricey gym membership. You can also go outside more often for a walk or run and notice things around you.
- Address confidence issues through a series of small steps/quick wins: if you are doubting yourself or wish you were more confident, think about small things you can do or fix to feel better. You may not notice them when you think about the big picture, but there is a chance these small things hurt you on occasion. For example, for a long time I did not know how to drive. I was 23 when I took my first driving lesson, and at first it was absolutely scary – I was driving with the speed of 40km/hour and felt like I was on a highway. However, now I drive effortlessly, and in fact, I learned to really enjoy driving and I take any chance I get to be the designated driver. It can be other things too – from a small skill you always wanted to learn, to a chore that you avoided doing for months or years, such as getting the right documents, finally taking your coat to dry cleaners or finishing the 600+pages book. Whatever it is, tackle it and you will feel better when you address it!
- Analyze and reflect: think about your current behaviour, subtract the actions you took and think about the difference. Admit to yourself that you have been in reactive mood. That’s okay. Write down a list of all current assumptions of why the luck may not be on your side. Most of what we consider to be ‘facts’ are actual beliefs or assumptions about how the world works. What someone finds as a ‘barrier’ today that prevents her from achieving her dreams may also be just part of the ‘background’ but she chooses to focus on it and treat it as the barrier, giving it more power than it supposed to have. For example, for a long time I believed that my manager was the barrier that prevented me from getting new ‘shiny’ work assignments I wanted to do. Instead of doing my job better, researching and trying new methods and talking more to my coworkers and getting them to share their work (which they were happy to do), I focused all my efforts and emotions on being upset about my boss who ‘totally hated me’. This did not help my case and just made me feel powerless and upset, and, the boss was not even aware that he was the problem, since all he did was assign the work based on his understanding how much everyone had on their plates & how much they could handle. The fact that I did not speak up about being able to do more and just silently expected him to read my mind also did not help. What is obvious to you is not obvious to another person. Do not waste your energy and emotions on someone you think is the ‘barrier’ to your success. Start doubting your understanding of the problem and potential barriers. Let yourself to be challenged by the evidence.
- Challenge your beliefs: I challenge you to write down your problem and come up with at least 3 ways of how this problem can be solved/addressed/what you can do about it. When you start doing it, the first thoughts you will get are reasons why it will not work. These are your beliefs and they are not real. For example, my friend was convinced that she will not be able to find a new job because she was ‘too old’. She would use it as an argument for not even applying for new jobs, or if she would go to interviews, she would use the same line to prove why she was not getting offers. She kept saying it for 5 years until the situation at her current job became unbearable. Then she found a new job in a week. It did not work out so she found a new job a week later. Than another one, and then another one. Suddenly, the age was no longer an issue, even though she was 5 years older than before. She stopped focusing on the barrier and started focusing on her own wants and needs instead.
- Find your true direction. If for a long time you were not sure what you want in life, what you would accept and what is important for you, it is time to stop and reassess your values. Drop everything you were doing and all your decisions. Think about what is truly important to you. Forget your current circumstances. What are your inner values that will guide you in any circumstance? What do you truly believe in? How do you want to be remembered by? What influence do you think you have to stand behind your beliefs and adjust your actions so that your beliefs can be addressed? For example, if your biggest value is being a moral person, what does it mean? Are you moral/nice/respectful to every single person in your life? How about the ones that are closest to you – your significant other/spouse, your children, your family, your closest friends, your coworkers and people that report to you? How can you change your behaviour so that you live your values? It is also important to think about the values you think other people want you to have and values you actually want to have if there was no influence, no obligations, no duties and no expectations. Do not lie to yourself and act in the way that may go against your own values if is based on the belief to make others like or accept you. At the end of the day, your inner peace is that what allows you to sleep peacefully at night. Always choose what is right FOR YOU. Stay true to yourself.