7 Tips to help you keep your head above water when things go wrong

Life is a series of ups and downs. Sometimes you are on your feet and other times you are on your knees.

I firmly believe that it is how you respond to these moments of defeat that defines the type of person you really are.

If you improve your ability to navigate through the tough times, you will live a happier life. You will also grow as a person.

And since it’s in the tough times that we need a little more support and guidance, here are some of them.

1. Remember to breathe!

I’m not kidding!

When we are stressed, we usually breathe shallowly, with the top of our lungs only.

This is almost like holding our breath constantly. This causes stress and, more importantly, prevents toxins from being released.

Taking long, deep breaths is helpful in allowing your nervous system to relax. There is nothing magical about this, it is a matter of biology and chemistry.

Do this for at least 5 minutes (the longer the better).

After a few minutes you will feel more relaxed and you may start to feel a tingling sensation in your body.

This is a good sign, it means you are getting more oxygen into your body.

2. Do not stand still

When you move your body, you help it burn off excess cortisol (stress hormone).

Whatever type of movement you choose will help. You can go for walks, do yoga or opt for a home fitness session.

For me, the most beneficial is dancing to my favourite music.

So you can feel a bit silly so don’t hesitate to lock yourself in a room if you need to. smile]

Just let your body move the way it wants to, knowing you won’t be disturbed or seen.

It’s really relaxing and fun to dance without restraint and it will help you feel better quickly.

3. Accept the situation

Change is an inevitable part of life and many aspects of the world are beyond your control.

You can’t control the spread of a virus, for example, or the way a crisis is handled by different states or the recovery of the economy.

This may be difficult to recognise but fighting against events or circumstances beyond your control will only drain your energy and leave you feeling anxious and hopeless.

Accepting your situation, on the other hand, can allow you to focus your energy on the things you do have control over.

Focus on those things within your power.

Make a list of all the things you can’t control and give yourself permission to stop worrying about them.

Instead, focus on the actions you can take.

If you are unemployed, you can’t control when the perfect job appears in the classifieds or whether an employer will give you an interview.

But you can control how much time and effort you put into looking for a job or improving your skills.

Similarly, if a loved one is facing a life-threatening illness, you may have to relinquish control to medical experts.

But you can still focus on providing your loved one with as much emotional support as possible.

4. Stop assuming the worst

Accept the situation by looking at your past.

Finding examples where you have already faced uncertainty and change can help you to accept your current situation.

Perhaps you went through a painful break-up in the past and were finally able to get on with your life. Or maybe you lost a job and eventually found a better one.

Looking at your previous successes can also help you to see beyond the current crisis and ensure that you will be able to get through it again.

You are stronger than you think.

5. Question your beliefs

I heard the word “struggle” several times during my childhood. My parents often said it. It was ingrained in their unconscious and therefore in mine as well.

There came a time when I wanted to break this vicious circle of beliefs.

As silly as it sounds, I printed out motivational sentences and hung them in every room of my apartment.

I also read stories about normal people, like me, who transformed their lives.

I signed up for a life coaching and transformation program.

All of these things helped me build confidence so that I could start living a more inspiring life.

You don’t have to do the same things I do, but I invite you to find your own ways to get rid of those beliefs that limit you in life.

6. Stop feeling guilty

Expressing gratitude may seem unnecessary or complicated, especially when you are going through terrible times.

But do it. Try it.

It is possible to find something to be grateful for.

It could be the love of a pet, a beautiful sunset, the smell of rain or a caring friend.

Taking a moment to be grateful for these little things in life can give you a break from stress and really improve your mood.

Be kind to yourself.

We are all going through a lot right now and everyone adapts differently to change and upheaval.

Don’t criticise your coping skills or beat yourself up for every mistake you make.

Self-compassion is an important part of building resilience, so go easy on yourself.

7. Learn to let go

Deal with your problems one step at a time.

If a problem is too big to be dealt with at once, try to break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.

If your problem doesn’t seem to have a solution, you can still take action. Find out more about the issue or ask a trusted person for advice. You can also sleep on it, night is a good time.

Also remember to celebrate small victories.

To stay motivated and positive while you’re in the midst of a storm, take a moment to savour your small successes.

If you are looking for work, getting an interview is not as meaningful as getting a job, but it is still a sign of progress. It is a step in the right direction.

Writing down these small victories can give you a welcome break from all the stress and negativity you are facing and encourage you to keep going.

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