Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What to do when life gets you down

What to do when life gets you down???

Everyone, at some point in their life, will hit a "low."  They will face a situation, a person, or a weakness that seems unmanageable and yes -- even hopeless -- and will be forced to make the choice to keep on keeping on, or to give up.

Now, I think, in our heart of hearts, we ALL want to succeed.  I've yet to meet a person who wakes up and starts their day with the thought, "Today I will face an insurmountable problem and I will FAIL.  I determine NOT to keep on keeping on, instead, I will give up!"  Sure, some folks choose to see the glass half empty rather than half full. But the "lows" in life seem to be much stronger than the usual dose of pessimism.

So, my question is, how does one successfully deal when life gets one down?  Here are a few things I've been contemplating as of late that either 1) have helped me cope in the past or 2) have been on my list of things to fall back on to help me cope and come out okay on the other side of any future lows.

1) Music. It seems there is nothing in this world quite like music.  It has the power to heal, to tear down or anger, to rile up, to sadden, to gladden, to invigorate, to relax, all under one heading: MUSIC.  It is truly its one language, and a fine, intricate language at that.  I can't count how many times in my life music helped me through a rough spot!

2) Exercise. Be it walking, basketball, tennis or bicycling or something unique like Zumba or ballroom dancing, exercise has been studied over and over for its benefits and stress relief and the energy to cope successfully are definitely a couple of them!  When you exercise, your body releases "feel-good hormones" that can lift your mood, clear your mind, and let's face it -- make you feel better about you and your self-image because you KNOW you're doing something to give back to that body you work so hard!  I still use exercise as much as I possibly can schedule in, because I have found there is nothing like it. So, get going and find yourself some physical activity that brings you up! Get out there and move! :) 

3) Journalling.  Some folks cower at the word.  But truthfully, this has been one standby that I've used since before I even reached the middle-school years.  There is something innately therapeutic about writing out your thoughts, uninhibited (under the rightful assumption that NO ONE but you will read those thoughts), on a piece of paper. For me, it seems to lift a weight off my shoulders, most of all, in times of stress. But I journal in good times, too.  I like to look back at the record of my life, and seeing the good things I've experienced and choosing to be grateful for those, helps me to keep an optimistic, thankful attitude!  Regardless, journalling can be super therapeutic. If this means you want to type it out instead, go right ahead.  For me, there is just something tactile and comforting about actually, physically writing.

4) Time spent with others.  When I say others, I don't mean the co-worker who drives you batty no matter how many times you smile and try to be on your best behavior, or the family member you are sure was given to you to develop that wonderful virtue, patience.  There is a time and a place for working hard to "win people over."  I'm referring to time spent with people who care about you, and people you enjoy being around.  Spending time around folks who share mutual respect, friendship, interests, even values can be so therapeutic, so encouraging, so enlightening.  And let's face it: don't you just love the satisfaction of a great, full belly laugh shared with another person?  It's so much more fun to laugh and enjoy yourself in the company of another person!

The list could go on . . . . but this is already a mega-post I think! So, I will stop here.  It has been fun.  Fun sharing.  And I hope my little list of coping strategies that I have utilized and will utilize again to successfully come out on the other side of "awful" will help you somehow! Have a great day!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I have been away for far too long . . . long post to follow!

Hello dear friends,

I find it is time again for me to post . . . . something.  It seems ironic to me that the times I feel most inspired are also (more often than I'd like) the times when I am not able to share my inspiration, whether because of time constraints, or other responsibilities.  So I'm attempting a few moments here to catch and gather my thoughts again and see how I can share them.  If I ramble some, please forgive me and know I'm happy to be back here!

I've been reading the posts of a couple of very, very good friends of mine.  They inspire me to think more than most of us tend to think -- I think.  That was way too many thinks!  Anyhow, more deeply I should say.  I have always enjoyed thinking deeply . . . . "profoundly."  It's too much for some, I've gathered, through conversations in which I confess that I think "a lot" and "intensely" and they confess that they prefer not to think so much or so intensely.  I don't mind their choice to think less, so long as it doesn't hurt them or endanger anyone else. But I'm not even referring to thinking as a means of protection, or of "common sense."  I'm referring to thinking more as a means to understanding, enlightenment, musing.  I like to think simply to think -- although once in a while, I wish I didn't think so much or so hard.  :)   Part of the package, I suppose.

Anyhow, I was thinking yesterday, yet again, of how life can take such a turn.  For most, a turn for the best is always appreciated.  But sometimes, it seems it takes a turn for the worst.  People lose jobs, lose money, or worst of all, lose someone they love. It is one thing to lose someone you care about or at least, once cared about, through no fault of your own.  Yet some people choose to "lose" a loved one through their own actions, their own spite, their own selfishness, their own greed.  It is entirely possible to "lose" a person through means beside the death of the natural body.  You can lose a person by choosing your own way all the time, by treating them in a rude and inconsiderate manner, by neglecting them, or even, most simply and yet profoundly, by never admitting you could be wrong, never saying "I'm sorry."  I think it's a fact we all have been wrong at least once in our lifetime.  I know I have been. And I've been at fault for not seeing the light and apologizing promptly and authentically.

But would I want to lose someone I love simply through pride and stubborness? Absolutely not.  I seek every day to look inwardly, and to check the state of my heart and my attitude.  Some days I feel I make leaps and bounds toward positive growth and positive state of mind, heart, and attitude.  Some days, I feel like a rotten scoundrel that doesn't deserve to be loved.  It's on those days that I have to gently and yet firmly remind myself, the truth is, not one person "deserves" to be loved. We have all trespassed against each other and, I believe, against God. If we were to love anyone -- including our own selves -- based upon how "good" or how "just" or how "compliant to man's rules" one is -- we would all sink before we'd swim. It's a fact.

All to say, next time someone does you wrong, speaks ill of you, offends you, neglects you, or outright abandons or betrays you  . . . . hard as it is (and yes, it is VERY VERY hard), try to remember that you were once -- or will at sometime in your life be -- that same person. The one who didn't apologize, didn't forgive, didn't put themselves in the others' place, abandoned or betrayed the one who loved them so.  And do all you can to forgive them. Forgive, yes forgive, even your own self. Learn and move on. Because forgiveness, my friends, albeit the most difficult thing to do sometimes, is the key to true healing.  If you forgive, somehow, almost magically I suppose, the power of evil to control you or to harm you is suddenly deflected.  You may still experience hurt at times.  But you will not be controlled by those who harm you -- intentionally and unintentionally.  And you will be free.

Have a blessed day!