Know the feeling?
From time to time life takes a turn for the more challenging, and I face a situation that I don’t have an obvious answer to. I am a ‘natural’ at living on the edge and that is when the unexpected makes me either ‘jump’ or tempts me to ‘blind panic’. The first is OK, but the second can make matters a lot worse.
At these moments, and I’ve had a good few of them, I’ve learnt a simple procedure that definitely makes a difference…
This is not about running away, but taking one step back for a few minutes and opening myself to higher things. Personally I believe that God is, and likes to be, involved in my life, but evidence shows that even if you don’t believe, prayer and meditation (often called ‘mindfulness’) still has a substantial calming effect on you and will reduce the damaging sense of panic that can ensue from difficult situations. Negative trauma damages your brain, pressuring you to basic fight-or-flight ‘limbic’ behaviour.
Prayer and meditation have been shown to have real and measurable benefits in times of stress. It is handy for me to have some favourite quotes in my memory ready to lean on and recall as I pray. One reason I’ve meditated on verses and stories in the Bible over the years is so that I’m resourced with ancient, proven, calming, wisdom when things go belly up. It’s “in there” and and the bits I have taken onboard come to the surface when needed. It has also provided me with a reliable guide to what I believe to be fundamentally important for us humans, helping me to prioritise action.
Right. Now you’ve prayed, you can smile. You are not your crisis, but the one person who can initiate change within it, so smile – not least at the irony! Smiling, and even laughter, changes the chemistry of your body for the better, stimulating the release of empowering hormones to help you deal with the difficulty. A good reason to smile is that as you look back on this situation in the future you will find all sorts of good in it. The biggest threats to us have within them the biggest lessons – of courage, self-control, and humility. People who look back on some of the most difficult times say they would not swap them for an easier life.
3. PHYSICALLY ACT.
Act towards a solution. In fact ANY action is better than no action. Your sense of panic has been taken out of circulation, and you’re smiling. The next stage involves PHYSICAL ACTION (mental action will not do), for instance, phoning or emailing someone, going to the bank or supermarket, getting your stepladder out of the garage, or going to the hospital, doctor, head teacher or boss. Act towards a solution. Start the invasion and watch what happens.
If you’re facing a serious situation alone, or simply want to move beyond the irritating or confining status quo, that’s what I’m here for. Call me. I’ve got space in my diary for you. We can work on it (in confidence) together.