How to make tricky situations easier to handle
There’s no better way to get to know ourselves than to observe how we react when adversity arises and things get difficult – both in our everyday lives and in those bigger moments.
Both in business and in life, every day we’re facing adversity and having to manage conflicts, people we don’t gel with, and frustrating situations that arise.
For example, do you sit in traffic cursing and wishing you weren’t there? Do you count flight delays as major annoyances? Do you hate on the daily commute? Feel down about the weather? Hate on that annoying person in the office?
When even bigger things pop up, where does your mind go to? What is your immediate reaction?
One of the things I’m working on in myself this year is managing my reactions by CHOOSING how I respond in every situation.
Sure, I am always going to have a reaction, but it’s about how I then choose to respond to that – and whether I chase that reaction down the rabbit hole.
This is definitely not something that comes naturally to me. I am not the most patient person and tend to travel at high speed in my daily life, so I have had to learn mindfulness over a number of years and practice yoga and daily meditation in order to calm my mind and SLOW DOWN – choosing how I react instead of latching onto thought patterns that don’t serve me.
It’s OKAY to feel annoyed when things happen that aren’t exactly ideal. Whatever you feel in that moment, it’s the truth for you and it doesn’t make you a ‘bad’ person to react when things don’t go the way you want them to and the unexpected occurs.
However, it’s what you THEN do with it that matters.
I’ve come up with my own way to handle these types of situations – validating my own feelings about the situation (because I love and respect myself) but then moving on quickly.
Here’s my approach to making tricky situations easier to handle.
Accept and acknowledge the emotion as it arises.
Understand that although you can’t choose or control what happens or how others act, you CAN choose how it makes you feel after that initial reaction.
Let the emotion wash over you like a wave… It peaks, and then recedes. Disappointment, anger, impatience, frustration… Allow yourself to feel it all.
Acknowledge that the only person these feelings are hurting is you – and there’s another way.
If it’s a person that has hurt or upset you, send them love and forgiveness. Understand that they probably have lots going on or things that they’re dealing with personally that you’re not aware of. (Note that in this post I am talking about frustrating everyday situations at work and in your life – if this is an abusive situation, make sure you get in touch with someone that can provide you with support / the authorities).
If it’s an annoying situation that has upset you, ask yourself – where can you see the value or lesson in it? For example, are you in traffic? Is your flight delayed? Flat tyre? These everyday annoying situations are usually teaching us that we need to SLOW DOWN.
Remind yourself of how much there is to be grateful for. If you need to, particularly if you’re new to this process, write down everything that comes to mind that you’re grateful for. Really feel the emotions of having a full heart bursting with gratitude for everything that you have – rather than focusing on what you don’t have, or what’s not working.
Divert your attention onto something better. Once you’re at this phase, you’re pretty much over it – trust me! When you can speed up through the above steps and start getting to this process within minutes (rather than hours / days / weeks), you’ll know you’ve nailed it.