Coping With Change

bench-forest-trees-path-largeWe are averse to change. As thinking human beings, we strive to keep our worlds the same.

We live in bubbles as we take care of our families, our vehicles, and our homes. A small thing—an inconvenient illness, a flat tire, a burst pipe—can put us into a tailspin. So how can we handle change without turning a situation into a crisis?

We may not have control over things that happen, but we can control how we handle them. We can control our thinking.

pexels-photoThought Control

Sometimes, our minds run rampant and turn the smallest thing into a potential nightmare.  For example, we get a flat tire and realize we will be late for work. What if we get fired? What if we can’t make rent? Our thoughts take on a life of their own, but the reality is that we are just experiencing a temporary setback.

Our thoughts sometimes make our experiences appear more dramatic than they actually are.  So when we find ourselves in a downward spiral, we ought to question whether the thoughts we are thinking are true, or whether we are worrying about something that will probably never happen.

benchphotoLife Can Be Easy

Anything—and we mean anything– that erupts in life is temporary. Whatever we worry about today will surely morph into something else once again.

So it makes sense to put ourselves first, and when an inconvenient situation arises, raise our awareness and decide on an appropriate response. Do we allow that situation to affect our whole day and cause stress, or do we simply take care of it without adding negative emotions so we can feel good about the day?

Whatever we are going through, we ought to eat well, take rest, sleep enough, and sprinkle exercise and sunshine into our days. Plus, carving out some time to fill a soul need can add pleasure to even the most melancholy periods.

Connecting With Your Inner Self

You meditate or do yoga. You may have a daily spiritual practice. Or maybe you do nothing to connect with your higher self, but have been meaning to do so. Here are some great ways to do just that!

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Pay attention to thoughts and belief patterns

Do you think about the same things over and over again? Do you find yourself thinking that your thoughts are re-runs and they only make you angry or sad? These thoughts are attached to beliefs you learned somewhere along the way. Question every thought that goes through your head. Is it accurate? If not, lose that thought and replace it with an affirmation that will make you feel better.

Learn to be and create space

We are often busy and feel we must be doing something or we are wasting time. Well, meditation can help you create space. When you sit and become quiet, you get in touch with your higher self, and this helps to open your mind so you can let go of the angst and the chaos. Doing this clears the slate so you can begin to think more creatively and solve problems rather than letting them fester.

Ask why a situation presents itself

 Many life lessons are not easy experiences, but they can be rewarding when we get to the other side of them. People going through difficult experiences with loss or disappointment may become sad and do not look for the redeeming factors. So the next time something bad happens to you, ask what you are learning about yourself from the situation. How can you grow from the situation?

Go Inside

Connecting with your inner self, or becoming more spiritual, is about self knowledge. It is about questioning your life. It is about looking within and not looking back, because the answers to all of your problems are inside of you.

Ever Wonder Why You Encounter Negative Experiences?

If you are undergoing a negative experience, think of it merely as a life situation. Situations change. Sometimes, it is hard to see what good might come from a negative circumstance—an illness, a death, an injury—but there are things you can do to grow from each and every one, no matter what life dishes out.

Although your beliefs may lead you to a place where it is inconceivable to see the situation in a good light, you can shift your thinking. You can change your mind. Realize that whatever you are going through is temporary and that you can ease the emotional discomfort.

Understand the Purpose of the Circumstance

We encounter challenging situations because we are meant to grow. Without that situation, with everything going well, we would miss the opportunity to learn. Further, some situations force us into action, and without that experience, we would miss out on some of the good things life has to offer. When you are unhappy about a circumstance, ask yourself:  What am I learning about myself at a deep level? Your answer will lead you closer to understanding its purpose.

Assess Your Response

When you confront a negative situation, examine your response. Are you sad? Are you confused? Are you angry? Figure out what you are feeling, and then examine whether your response is desirable. For example, you become angry at your boss because he gave someone else the promotion you wanted, and while you might think your reaction is appropriate, the anger only hurts you, so change your thinking. If you consider that maybe the other guy deserved to be promoted too, and your boss had a tough time making that decision, you will achieve greater clarity. By examining circumstances, and understanding them better, you will be effectively turning down the emotional intensity.

Change Your Focus  

You need not focus on a troubling circumstance, even if it seems important. You can place your attention elsewhere. Our advice may appear rather flippant. After all, we don’t know what you are going through, but we do know that when we are experiencing challenges, we need a shift in perception. We go to the park, or watch an inspirational film, or visit a friend, and we are in a better place emotionally so we can handle the situation with clarity. On the other hand, if we dwell on the situation, it keeps us from enjoying the day, and nothing improves.

Experience the Joy

Finally, think about things that bring you joy and make sure to put more of these activities into your life. While this sounds rather difficult to accomplish when you are confronting a major life issue, making small moves away from negativity can go a long way to provide momentum to create a better life.

Don’t Let Your Ego Get in the Way

Understanding yourself at the core level is knowing yourself as both your inner self and your ego. It is this self-knowledge that allows you to not only make the best decisions for your life, but it provides you permission to laugh at yourself, to make mistakes, and to live with uncertainty. Knowing yourself completely nurtures your confidence so when you go forward with your life, you understand that you are equipped to handle anything that comes your way.

The ego is the part that you recognize as your body and your image and all the concrete identifications you may come up with. It prompts you to feel unique and separate from other people. It creates needs, wants and expectations in relation to the outside world. It reinforces the illusion of the human experience, making you believe that it is all there is. The ego is there to dictate and rule your world, and it will as long as you let it. If you are oblivious to it, your ego will make your life miserable, but it is only a part of you. The other part is the higher self.

The higher self is the part that whispers. It breaks through often unexpectedly in situations where you feel conflicted. The higher self is that quiet voice you will easily miss if you don’t pay attention. Your higher self is also equated with intuition. Sometimes, the higher self manifests as a feeling of peace and love that overtakes your entire being for seemingly no reason. It is the juice of creativity, where you feel alive and passionate about what you are doing. It is that undeniable knowing coming from an unknown source that guides you forward. Its job is to prompt you to recognize the oneness with the world, making you feel connected with everyone, and to nudge a realization that love is the most important thing there is. It infuses you with the desire to give more and act in a loving way towards the people around you. The higher self creates magic, cementing an instant and intrinsic understanding that we are part of one another. Your needs, wants and expectations change because it is not just about you anymore. As a result of this connection, your world expands.

We all have a higher self, but it is hard to connect with that beautiful, spiritual energy all the time. Also, we would not want to be without the ego anyway. The ego manages our outer functioning, prompts us to forge solid experiences in the world, protects us from what it perceives as harm, and directs us to protect our things. It is our shell, the image we project to the world. We don’t want to do away with it. We just want to tame it enough so it will not block us from experiencing our inner selves.

We know who we are, and of course the ego helps define our desires, but the inner world feels so right when we can access it, and it is where we want to be most of the time anyway. So how can you experience your higher self more often? First, you need to know that this part of you functions in opposition to your ego. If the ego reacts, the higher-self shuts down, at least momentarily, but if you allow your higher self to shine through more often, simply by connecting with it purposefully, you will know that nothing is ever really threatening. Your inner self is the peace and strength that when accessed, allows your ego to take a break. When you are able to connect fully in this way, the ego can relax because you no longer need protection.

There is really nothing to fear, not ever. You, as a spiritual being, will live on and nothing can stop that. Living by the light of your higher self fosters this comprehension. Understanding the difference between the ego and the higher self, and learning to recognize the ego in life situations, stifles reactivity. When you are more aware of your higher self, you respond to situations in a more positive way. Think about it. Many people often react to what is in their environment, and they do not tap into the positive energy that will release the grasp of the ego and allow spirit to flood in, or when they do, it is too late. The situation has passed, and they regret their actions.

Many times, situations are caused by our inability to cope with our feelings, but if we can set aside the transient emotions, we will be able to experience a true unearthly connection. This is not easy to do, and no one is able to do this all of the time, but the sooner we recognize that the ego is the trickster that makes us feel as if we are separate in our human condition, the better we can connect to source. When we allow the connection, we regain consciousness and revel in the peace of our higher selves.

Not Enough Time? Maybe You Just Think You Are Too Busy!

Often, stress arises when we feel we do not have enough time to do everything we’d like. The problem is not that things do not get done. The problem is attached to the things we tell ourselves.   Such thoughts are often not very pleasant. These negative thoughts are what creates the stress, not the unfinished task.

The out of control feeling  we have when we walk through the house and realize that not everything is perfectly in place, or the disappointment we experience when we look at our lists of things undone, is tied to perception. We attach meaning to things that are neutral. So someone else might look at the stain on the rug and think “so what,” but every time you walk by, you remember that your neighbor’s kid dropped the grape popsicle and you should have bought the stain resistant carpeting and you wonder about the warranty and whether using shampoo will void it.

That’s one example of a re-run, a thought we have many times per day. Most of our thoughts are re-runs. How often do you have these types of negative thoughts? First, realize that your thinking is creating the stress and chill. Relax because now is all you have, but you needn’t give up on getting things accomplished. Oh no. Not at all! If you are procrastinating and that is causing anxiety, begin by analyzing the tasks.

There may be reasons that lurk behind the procrastination, or maybe it is mere overestimation. You may think about a project and believe that it will take too long to accomplish now, so you wait for a time when you have a gap in your schedule. Of course, such a time never arrives, so you continue to put it off.  What is the answer? You must make time to do it. Realize that we tend to overestimate how long a given task will take.

Get started. Plan to go at it for an hour and revisit the task during another scheduled time next week. If the task includes multiple components, make a list of possible steps. For example, Step 1. Call the carpet manufacturer and find out about the warranty. Step 2.  Research ways to get grape popsicle out of the rug  and so on. The next time you walk by the spot, you will know that you are taking care of business and the mind clutter is gone. Once you get started, you gain momentum and may go beyond the planned hour, or you may realize that the task was not as time-consuming as you thought. And when you accomplish one thing, it is easier to finish other things. What’s next on the list? Yes, that is what you will be thinking as opposed to feeling overwhelmed.

We like Nike’s advice: just do it. When you just start your tasks rather than either over thinking or ignoring them you get the satisfaction of achievement without the mind clutter and without the angst.