You're navigating through life, head held high, making moves, focused on your goals, progressing toward the best version of you...and then WHAM! - CHANGE OF PLANS: a break-up, an illness, a severe loss, or an unexpected career change barrels your way. Whatever it is, you're thrown off your course. Sometimes the universe throws a vicious curveball and before you can even say, "Oh, Snap!," you're dizzy, disoriented, reeling on the floor trying to figure how to get your bearings back.
After surviving my own unfair share of these life twisters, I've discovered a handful of tools that help to adjust perspective, regain balance, and cultivate confidence as I cope. If you too are healing from an unexpected shift in your life, I hope these resources and reminders bring you some grounding as you hop back up and move forward on your merry way.
1. Inhale, Exhale, Repeat.
Breathe. Yep, it's that simple. Take a moment to chill and reset. Until you take a breath and embrace the present moment, you're bound to be stuck on the floor, paralyzed in either past regret or worry for the far future. Deep, intentional breathing shifts us from "fight, flight, or freeze" to a more regulated, rational pre-frontal cortex state of mind.
2. Feel Your Feelings.
When we deny how we feel and try to shut our emotions down, we inevitably build up to a volcanic eruption of anguish and anxiety or a deadening numbness of depression and defeat. Angry? Scream. Find a boxing class. Write feverishly in your journal. Disappointed? Do a necessary mope session. Cry. Then take a bath and treat yourself to a nourishing meal to remember that there are still good things in the world. Whatever you're sensing, be with your feeling so that you can start to more easily tease out what you need to do to move through it (not around it).
3. Trust in Something!
Trusting that you are in your dilemma to learn something valuable can be beneficial to helping you see the problem as a challenge rather than a curse. Unexpected lay-off? Maybe it's time to get back in touch with your photography skills or other creative endeavors. Date went suddenly sour? It might be time to trust that other potential partners are out there waiting for you to take chances or that it is time to feel independent and strong on your own. Trust that there is wisdom held in the curveballs and use this moment as a reminder to trust yourself, your intuition, and the healing power of time.
4. Seek Social Support
You may want to manage your challenges alone, especially if shame and guilt are a part of the equation, but seeking counsel of a therapist, friend, group, or partner aids you to approach the situation and your potential options with new eyes. While others may not be able to alter your situation, their guidance, support, empathetic listening, and care can help you to see you're not alone. Remember, you are never alone.
5. Reframe is the Name of the Game
Our mind is an amazing muscle and the more we practice this tool, the better we get at transforming our outlook. By reframing our curveball, we work to see our obstacle as an opportunity instead. Rather than looking at what we've lost, we begin to bring attention to what we can potentially gain. Imagine putting on glasses with a "positivity prescription." It's not trickery; it's simply learning how to change your current lens. See strengths instead of weaknesses. See possibility instead of fear. See growth instead of loss. Begin to focus on what "could be" instead of what "cannot be." Sure, grief may be a part of this process, and that's ok. If so, refer to step 2. But when you're ready, bring attention back to how you can squeeze those lemons into the sweetest lemonade. While we can't always control what happens in our lives, we do have the amazing gift of shifting our perspective to see the glass full no matter what may be happening to us.