As I write this, bushfires are raging across Victoria and New South Wales, and floods are inundating North Queensland for the second time in a week. Hundreds of people have been killed by the ferocity of the events, thousands of homes have been destroyed, and many thousands of people have been left homeless, many with only the clothes they’re standing up in.
Events like these do cause us to count our blessings and be grateful for all the abundance we have in our lives. Some of my clients have echoed what many people are saying at the moment: it puts your own troubles into perspective.
Yes it does.
And at the same time, let’s not minimise the real trauma that our own issues cause in our lives. Whatever the challenge, accidental, financial, or relationship, these events cause stress and frustration which negatively impact your physical, mental and emotional health.
Learning how to better cope with events you can’t control will help keep you in a positive frame of mind and alleviate your stress.
What Can You Control?
I had a car accident when I was about 32, and battled a whiplash injury for the next three years. I never knew that a pain could cause so much chaos in life. Friends gradually became less supportive because I looked fine and was “being lazy”, doing simple lifting like my laundry, shopping, or small children put me on my back for three days. Trying to keep the pain under control felt like a losing battle, and that’s when I first learned that control is a myth.
I learned that the best you can hope for ever in your life is to choose your own thoughts and feelings. Youc an’t control other people’s responses, you can’t control the events around you, you can only control your own responses to your life; and thereby control the shape and feeling of your own life.
Worrying about the people or events in your life that you can’t control can cause all kinds of stress-related health problems, such as angina, high blood pressure, and sleeping difficulties.
Choose Your Companions
Who you decide to accept as your friends and spend your time with is something you can definitely control.
- Being around negative people can drag your attitude down, since you adopt the mood of people around you. ?
- If you have people in your life who aren’t encouraging you to fulfill your potential, find other people to surround yourself with. ?
- Having the support of people who believe in you will propel you toward reaching your lifelong goals.
Live One Day at a Time
When you intentionally consider each day a gift, your struggles don’t seem as dire. While life does deal some bad hands, when you delibarately choose to feel gratitude for the good moments in each day, you genuinely start to accept your struggles as a path to a new beginning.
Coping with Financial Difficulties
One of the most stressful situations is coping with financial difficulties. Loss of a job can mean you’ll have to give up things you’ve worked hard to acquire.
- If you’re having a difficult time accepting that you have to cut expenses and give up the comfortable things in life, even temporarily, it helps to remember that it could be worse.?
- Be grateful for having your home and your health because there are many people in the world who have neither.?
- Once you know you can be happy with less, you can focus again on achieving your goals.
By accepting that you can’t change some things, you’ll become more powerful in changing the things that you do have control over. You’ll free yourself from the negative thoughts and emotions that can stifle you into sad complacence.