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!

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