|A mighty lighthouse - the beacon in the storm|
We all experience seasons of life that toss us like the boats on a turbulent sea. Some of those seasons are quick and dirty while others are long and arduous.
You never know which will be the case - a short and ugly or a long and painful but equipping yourself either way is key to coming through turbulent times with your peace of mind intact. Here are three strategies I use to keep my peace during crazy times:
Stop Measuring Time
It is very important that you look realistically at time as it relates to the trouble. It's human nature to measure things in days, months, etc. During adverse times - you must push yourself away from this tendency. When it's short acknowledge that and allow yourself the space to feel the discomfort without exaggeration. When troubled times are long, still keep perspective and allow space for the discomfort without wishing it away. My family is currently in a yearlong ordeal that has an another 8 month stretch before we will be "normal" again. Well, framing it has helped. One year versus 15 years of my family's existence is really short and while it be almost 2 years before it normalizes - that is still a short amount of time for discomfort. Don't believe the hype, America. With our sitcom society, we expect complexity to be wrapped in in 22 minutes, 51 tops. Sometimes things wrap up fast but most often they do not. Look realistically as how the timing is impacting you and give yourself real breaks about it. Set small non-time sensitive goals to allow for small wins to build momentum. Stop counting the days. Start living moment to moment and find enjoyment and peace on a minute-by-minute basis. Let go of time as it relates to the trouble so you can make room for the rest of your life.
Take Breaks From Your Trouble
The easiest and simplest of all the strategies - stop thinking and talking about it. Like the time issue, this is another re-framing that goes against natural human nature. We like to discuss stuff. Some of us like to analyze and over analyze stuff again and again with different people. Stop. Resist. Get a therapist and vow to speak only to him/her and MAYBE one other close friend. Being consumed by your trouble robs you of peace. Catch yourself thinking about it and redirect your thoughts - that will stunt your conversation. Make notes and journal about it but don't do so more than once per day. Even writing and thinking about it constantly eats into the mental breaks we need from our trouble. Further, I have noticed that the more time and space I have in between dwelling on my trouble opens me up to more creative solutions for coping. Can't cope with something you never step away from. Step away. Back away slowly. Do whatever you can to take true breaks from your trouble.
Help Another in Trouble
Have you ever noticed that shitty stuff travels in groups? Rarely, are you in a turbulent moment alone. When you stop and listen to those around you, you discover that other people have adversity as well. Open yourself up to being a resource for others and it will do wonders on your own trouble. Why? First, it allows you the break we just discussed. Two, helping someone else troubleshoot their challenges opens your mind to your own trouble but from a different light. You may find better strategies as you speak to others about how they manage. Finally, it helps you feel better about yourself when you hear that others are struggling, too. Especially when they are wildly different challenges. Beware when they are similar challenges - don't fall into the comparison trap. Keep your focus on your friend or co-worker and resist the tendency to bring it back to you.
Peace does not mean that there is no trouble, it merely means that you can be yourself and move forward in spite of it. Employ a few or all of these strategies to keep your peace as you navigate hard times. You will need it to push through to the other side.