Has life thrown you a curveball? Have you had one today? Yesterday. They happen all the time don’t they? It is just life and they happen to everyone. One minute you may be going through the motions, meeting with team members or hanging out with friends when – whammo – something happens that ruins your day. I don’t mean a devastating, life changing event, but those small misfortunes that ruin your mood and waste your time. I just spent the last day and a half doing paperwork for taxes, accounting, invoices… My least favorite chore to do. And sometimes piecing the financial puzzle together is daunting. I hung in there though and made some progress!
What may come your way may be a minor problem, (especially when you think about the big things that could go wrong) but it still wastes your time and may make you mad or anxious. Here are seven steps to help deal with life when it throws you a curveball:
1. First of all, take time to acknowledge that whatever happened is no fun. Don’t be afraid to say, “This sucks!” You can even throw a temper tantrum! Work out all that negative energy: flail your arms and jump up and down (although if you are in public, I would advise finding a quiet and private place to do this!).
2. Next, take a few deep breaths and count backwards. You will feel your blood pressure jumping. Then take a few more. You can also visualize, meditate or listen to calming music. Try to do something quickly to rest your body’s reaction to the stressful situation.
3. Then, ask yourself: Will this event kill you or anyone you love? Will it bankrupt you or forever change your life? No? Then it is just not that big a deal. You may be annoyed, but you will be fine. My family has experienced some terrible tragedies. Life altering events. Sometimes when I get upset about something, I remind myself – really, no one is in the hospital? You can do this! If you still feel anxious or upset, sit down and make a list of all the good things that happened in the last week or so. Then you will see that whatever happened is really just a minor issue.
4. Don’t waste time sitting there and obsessing about it. To get your mind off things, go on a walk, get together with friends, read a book or watch your favorite television show. Just go out and do something that you enjoy! Obsessing does no good, so every time you catch yourself thinking about it, just redirect your mind. As time goes by, you will laugh about it! Hard to imagine at the moment but it is true. Sometimes I ask myself the question, is this going to matter a month from now? How about a year from now? It is almost always – No, it won’t matter.
5. Always remember to think about it in terms of the big picture. Will this problem matter in the long run? I doubt it. It may take more time out of your day, but in a few months time, you probably won’t even remember what happened. Therefore, there is no point wasting time worrying about it now. When it comes down to it, you just have to let it go. Take time to relax and get a good night’s sleep and start fresh tomorrow. Sometimes I ask myself the question, is this going to matter a month from now? How about a year from now? It is almost always – No, it won’t matter.
6. Be sure to take care of something else that needs to be accomplished. Even if it is minor, as long as you take care of it you won’t feel that the day was a total waste. It will also help you get your mind off it. Exercise is key for me. As long as I exercise, I feel a sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day. Do something on that list that will take your mind off the annoying thing and get that feeling of “I did something today” back.
7. Finally, think about what you can do to change the problem. Then do it! Stop wasting time worrying about what happened and simply move on. As the saying goes, there is no point crying over spilt milk. As long as you do all these steps and deal with the issues, you will be fine. If anything, the more you have to deal with curveballs, the stronger you will be. I read a great article the other day about changing the way we look at stress. Instead of thinking it is hurting us, shift to thinking that some stress actually energizes us, inspires us, even excites us. So stress can actually be a really good thing. The article was written by a Doctor that had researched that just by thinking that stress was more positive, she noticed that peoples internal processes started working better. It is all in our mind. Pretty cool! The truth is, there is so much power in experience and after you handle a few of these with efficiency and maturity, they won’t bother you so much in the future. You will be saying – I’ve got this!
Next time life throws you that curveball, take a deep breath, chill and read these 7 tips. Cheers!