There are aspects of life which we cannot control. Things which will happen anyway, whether at work or at home and, despite our best efforts, we can have no influence over them. In such situations, what we CAN control is our own response. The key is to position yourself to look for the positives in your path.
‘There is only pressure when there is resistance’
The more we resist the inevitable changes in life, the more pressure we put upon ourselves, which leads to undue stress, mental health issues and can even manifest in debilitating physical ailments such as IBS and migraines.
Just take a simple unavoidable change like the onset of winter. We can’t stop the cold, wind and rain but we can look for the positives. As I recently commented on LinkedIn, there’s no simpler joy than kicking through the leaves on a crisp autumn day. Without the coming of winter, the leaves wouldn’t fall and provide us with this wonderful opportunity to recapture a moment of childhood.
So, rather than resisting the arrival of winter, dig out your favourite woolly hat and look for the positives. Prepare as best you can for the changes you know are coming but don’t try to resist the inevitable.
‘The problem is never the problem; it’s the reaction to the problem that’s the real problem’
As we recently explored in this blog, learning how to deal with problems is such an important skill, to ensure that our reaction to a problem doesn’t become the actual problem. If we look for the positives when faced with difficulty, there is much less chance of our reaction making things worse.
I like to think of life as a flowing river, passing effortlessly by. By accepting that sometimes bad or difficult things will fall into the stream but allowing them to just flow past us, we are positioning ourselves for the path of least resistance and reduced pressure.
Elsie Spittle talks of the concept of accepting that ‘everything is exactly as it should be’. When we do this, it creates an incredible feeling of serenity and ease. In such circumstances, the chances of developing ‘dis-ease’ are much diminished (for tips on avoiding dis-ease, have a look at this blog).
Three simple tools to help
We understand that learning to look for the positives during challenging times can feel daunting. Changing – and training – your mindset requires practice. Here are three simple tools you could try, which we call 10/10/10:
- Ten minutes of meditation each day
I like Calm but there are plenty of other apps you can choose from, or you can learn to meditate without using technology. Taking the time each day to be with your thoughts, let go of tension and to metaphorically let the river flow past you as you sit on the bank is incredibly beneficial.
- Ten minutes of journaling
The idea for this blog came out of the daily journal that I write every morning. The practice of putting thoughts on paper can help to put them in perspective, spark new ideas and also help you to process your feelings effectively.
- Ten minutes of reading
It doesn’t matter what you read, but the act of reading in itself can improve your mental health and ability to think positively. Research by The University of Sussex has shown that reading for as little as six minutes a day can reduce stress levels by 68%, lowering your heart rate, easing muscle tension and altering your state of mind.
When you next encounter a situation you can’t influence, take a deep breath, picture that river running by and remind yourself that everything is exactly as it should be.