Handling Life Changes
Let’s face it. Life can change on a dime. How will you react? How will you go on? Life changes can be anything from losing a job, to losing a family member. It could be a cancer diagnosis, divorce, the list goes on and on. There are times that we can “prepare” for such events…that is, when we know they are coming. But it’s the events that occur when we least expect it, that cause us the most turmoil.
Especially, in times of drastic change, our thoughts can play a major factor in how we react. We can have healthy thoughts or destructive thoughts. We can accept what is happening to us and try to move forward, or we can choose to let the thoughts take over which can lead us down a darker path. So, what can we do to help keep us going?
Keep a Strong Connection with your Family and Friends..
It is never more important to connect with your family and friends than when times are tough. Since life changes can cause us much anxiety and depression, it becomes easy to separate ourselves from others, and internalize. If we do this for too long, we can become “stuck” in the moment of the change, and it can become harder to move on.
What we have to realize is that life changes every day, and at every moment. T.S. Eliot states, “Every moment is a New Beginning”. This can’t be more true. Things will change, and things DO change. Knowing this alone is the first step to being more ok with YOU, when things take a turn.
Give yourself the time to mourn the event, but then immediately connect with your friends or family. Like everything else in life, “This Shall Pass”… Allow yourself to smile, even laugh, since laughter is proven to be a strong anti-depressant agent.
Get Out into Nature..
There is nothing more reveiling in life than to take a stroll along a lakeside, or a hike in the woods. When you get into nature, there is sense of belonging. Since we are all made from this Earth, there is something calming about allowing yourself to get connected to it. Leaves may fall in the Fall, but then they return beautifully in the Spring. Flowers will bloom, then they will die, but then bloom again in the following season, and sometimes even more drastically. It’s the way life works. We live, we experience, things change. We grow, we experience, things change again. Understanding this concept is another great way to helping us feel less alone.
Get the Energy Out in a Healthy Manner..
Exercise is the best way for us to let go of those inner thoughts, feelings, and aggressions. Go for a bike ride, take a stroll, go for a run, take a class at the gym or yoga studio. These are just a few examples of things we can do. For those, who may have small children and can’t leave the house, you can clean, climb the stairs, scrub the floors, and cook. The idea is to find something you can do, physically, and that you can focus your attention on. Remember that the more you allow the mind to focus on the event, the more the thoughts can come into play.
Allow Quiet Time to Meditate..
There is a difference between “being with your thoughts alone” and “meditating”. Be sure that you understand the difference. When you are alone with your thoughts, you can have the tendency to allow thoughts in, creating more thoughts, which could end up being hurtful. It is in these times that the mind can take over with the questions: “What am I going to do?”, or “How could this happen?”, or “How can I go on?” which can lead into anxiety. So, if the unfortunate event is a lost spouse, then the healthy way to use the question “What am I going to do?”, is to think about what you need to do in the sense of getting material things in order. THAT notion is different from the unhealthy way of creating mental instability by telling yourself “you can’t handle anything without that person.” You need to understand the difference. The truth is you CAN handle life, you just have to understand the changes that need to occur in order to do so. It’s not easy, especially at first, but as with everything else, it will get better over time. Have faith.
So by meditating, I mean allowing yourself time for stillness while not letting any thoughts in. With meditation, it will become clear what is important to think about and what is not. Know that you can’t change the past. What you have is right now. The feelings that you allow yourself to have are YOUR choice. You can allow yourself a smile, or you can allow yourself a frown. Which will you choose? (for more on meditation, see itstartwithyouwellness.com)
Remember that we can’t change the past. It’s over. We can’t worry about the future. It hasn’t happened yet, and things can change even before the future event, so why worry? What is important is the NOW. The present moment. Scan your body…what are you feeling now? Now bring a smile to your face. It was your choice to do that, and notice…
It is our choices that make up who we are. We will have many experiences in our lives, but it is how we will react to them, and how we CHOOSE to react that make us who we are..
Be well my friends..XO
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Michelle has a BS, E-RYT, YACEP, CHN, CLYL, and Y12SRL.