Saturday, 3 August 2013

How to keep going when the going gets tough!!

Don’t you hate it when life’s just great and all of a sudden you appear to spiral downwards?

It can happen out of the blue for no apparent reason. Nothing has changed except your feelings or perceptions about a person or situation. This can be hard to deal with because at that moment in time you feel low, question yourself and in some instances self- esteem can be affected.

How futile is this?
Actually, it’s not because there is always something to be learnt. When life appears to go wrong on any level we need to ask ourselves two specific questions.

What made me feel good?
Think about the reasons you were feeling good and consider all contributing factors. Usually we have achieved a desired outcome or experienced a significant moment. A project you have been working on has reached a satisfactory conclusion; you have mastered a new skill or completed a piece of work; maybe you went to a fantastic concert. All of these produce the feel-good factor and we need to hold that sense of happiness, joy or achievement strongly in our consciousness.

What is happening now to make me feel bad?
We are human and as a result can be very hard on ourselves. Usually bad thoughts and feelings occur because of past patterns that are well established in our neural pathways.  We learn our behaviours and if we have been unsuccessful/ embarrassed or hurt in the past, start to expect more of the same in a similar new situation.  

The reasons ‘lows’ are not futile is because they are our learning curves. When faced with a difficult situation in life we have to challenge ourselves as to how we will overcome it. Changing our behaviour is never easy. It takes grit determination and we will slip up, but when we slip up we need pick up!

The minute unwanted thoughts enter your head the best action is to replace them with positive thoughts, the thoughts you want to have. If you feel self-aware and afraid tell yourself: ‘I am strong and confident and handle everything well.’  Alternatively, when facing a new situation or relationship, expect it to go well. Kick out the doubts and state what you want but always in the present: ‘ this is a great relationship and we appreciate and respect one another.’ Or,’ I love my job and do it competently.  My co-workers value my opinions.’ Once you start thinking like this and feeling the satisfaction and reality attached to what you are saying, you empower yourself and everything will fall into place.

Everything takes time.

Life is a series of challenges throughout which we grow even more mentally than physically. The mind is far greater than the body and has many more lessons to learn. Not everything can be learnt quickly! Teaching the mind is the same as it is with any new experience. Look at babies learning to feed themselves. They start using their hands, often ‘fisting’ food into their mouths. Iit takes a long while before they can eat cleanly with a knife and fork or chopsticks. Food is often dropped and picked up again during the learning process- which can even happen once the skill is mastered on the odd occasion! So be patient and allow yourself to slip up from time to time.

The key to keeping going is living in each moment. Try and focus on enjoying the now and if you feel unhappy think of something to do or think about  that makes you feel good. Once you feel better you become stronger and your determination to tackle a situation is re-ignited. It might be a good idea to look back and see how far you have come- great for the ego! Another good thing to try Is to be quiet and listen or meditate. Prayer is good for many people as is speaking with the right person who genuinely loves, helps or supports you. This can help you gain understanding.

Finally, as always, we come back to thanks and praise! Give thanks for the good and look for the hidden good in the bad! It might be a simple lesson or a major change, either way if you keep going you will keep on growing and move into a new exciting future rather than slipping backwards into unsatisfying aspects of your past.
Jaz McKenzie
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