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Had a Bad Day? Read This First and Keep Moving Forward.
Written by Kathy McGinnis | Staff Writer for www.goombaytally.com | Mental Wellness
Regardless of how beautiful and dreamy you think your life is right now, we all will invariably, and inevitably encounter some (seemingly) insurmountable challenges and trying times in the future.
Whether you completely tanked a speech right in front of your demanding and critical boss today–and that speech was suppose to help propel your career right into the stratosphere; not to mention that corner office with a window. Your wife of 13 years just told you that she wants a divorce. You just lost your job and don’t know how you’re going to keep the house and support your family. Last night you received a phone call from your brother that one of your parents is sick and only have a few months left. And the horrifying list continues. We’ve all been there in the past–or maybe you’re going through one of these crisis situations right now.
Many motivational speakers and mental health specialists may tell you: it’s not your existing situation or crisis that really matters right now, it’s how you deal with the situation that counts in the long run. I certainly agree. We also know the quintessentially debilitating aspect of a crisis is often that the person going through these events feels completely hopeless with little to no enlightenment or remedy in the near future. Essentially, we just don’t see an immediate or long-term way out of trouble.
“Life Isn’t Always Sunshine and Rainbows – At Times it Can Beat You to Your Knees…”
Life is not like a glossy, star studded Hollywood movie where the world’s problems are neatly diffused and resolved within two hours and the hero walks off into the sunset. Roll credits. Toss your empty popcorn bag and coke into the can as you leave. That certainly would be awesome … but typically not likely. In reality, a crisis cycle will probably look something like this instead:
- A horrible event happens.
- We experience the shock of the event.
- We deal with the event the best way we can given the coping mechanisms that we are personally equipped with (or lack).
- Those who lack effective coping mechanisms may do harmful things to themselves or others that initiates secondary and tertiary impacts which compel a negative spiral and unrecoverable state of dysfunctional behavior.
- Those with healthier coping mechanisms begin the recovery process and initiate positive–rehabilitative actions.
- The situation begins to improve either at a slow or advanced rate accordingly.
- We recover, to some extent, or at least move on with our lives.
…life is not like a glossy, star studded Hollywood movie where the world’s problems are neatly resolved and normalized within two hours and the hero walks off into the sunset.
People who are in crisis often find it hard enough just to crawl out of bed and stumble into the shower everyday, much less get themselves pumped up and motivated to face their problems and seek resolution. Depression will steal your appetite, obliterate your sleep cycle, make you lose interest in things that your are normally passionate about, and compel you to abandon your friends, family, and existing support system.
Some of Life’s Issues May Require Professional Help – Go See Them Now!
I will be the first to admit that I don’t have the credentials to pull you out of the funk you may be in right now, but I can share with you some quick, guerrilla strategies and tips that helped me wade through some certifiably cringe-worthy situations and crisis in my life.
First, if you are dealing with a problem that you don’t seem to be able to functionally and effectively manage, please stop reading this article and seek professional help from a clinician who is trained to provide you with the right level and degree of behavioral and psychological assistance. There are resources available to you right now, contact the following numbers if you need help:
- US Suicide Hotline – 800-784-2433
- NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group – 800-826-3632
- Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline – 630-482-9696
- Crisis Help Line – 800-233-4357
(Source: psychcentral.com, John M. Grohol, Psy.D.)
I’ve simply listed some quick, actionable strategies that at times may seem superficial or even silly, but have helped me muster through some tough times. That said, the absolute best advice I can give you when you’re dealing with hard times, is to talk to someone…don’t hide from it and don’t pretend everything is O.K.
Here we go:
1. Starbucks and a Buddy.
Call a family member or friend right now and go have coffee. This is a great opportunity to talk about your issues. Additionally, he or she may have valuable and insightful perspectives on your issue that you’ve never even thought of. Conversely, hiding in your apartment with the curtains drawn and the lights turned off will probably lower your electric bill next month, but won’t do anything for your mental and emotional well-being right now. Moreover, dealing with your demons alone or drowning yourself in alcohol or drugs is the last thing you need.
2. Read the “Good Book” and Pray.
O.K., this is not the part in the post where we debate the existence of God or whether Christianity or Islam is the path to true happiness and enlightenment. I’m just sharing helpful tips that worked for me. If Buddhism is your spiritual remedy during tough times…more power to you. In addition, praying or meditating does wonderful things for your mental well-being and mood. Sometimes we just need to slow the brain down just long enough to catch up cognitively and spiritually. Again, regardless of your religious affiliation, the Bible and prayer presents incredibly comforting words of encouragement and hope that will help change your immediate perspective on life. Here’s a few passages that have helped me:
- Psalm 46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and mountains quake with their surging.
- Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
If you don’t actually own a Bible, “there is an app for that.” Just download “Bible” app from the Apple App Store or any number of other Bible apps for your particular device.
3. Listen to Awesome Inspirational Speeches.
Love it or hate it, You Tube can serve as an incredibly helpful resource for motivational speeches or excerpts from world renown speakers like Les Brown, Tony Robbins, Linda Larsen, Colette Carlson, Joel Osteen, Dr. Eric Thomas (The Hip Hop Preacher), and many more. A number of these speeches are set to dramatic orchestral music and will stir your soul and ignite your spirit during rough patches in your life. Listening to these inspiring speakers will get you pumped up and ready to fight.
4. Be Grateful. Write Down 10 Things You’re Thankful For.
Yes, it sounds stupid, but when I found myself in a bad situation some years ago, my mentor at the time told me to sit down with a sheet of paper and write 10 things that I’m grateful for in my life right now. Obviously this can be a daunting task when you feel like your world is literally collapsing around you. Yep, initially, this will feel counter-intuitive, and frankly, counterproductive. However, if you actually do this simple task, you will soon discover that regardless of your current situation, God has given you infinitely more in the form of family, friends, health, and spiritual wealth than life appears to be “stealing” from you right now. Your perspective will begin to right-size itself. In a few weeks, you will find that your list will grow exponentially as your fears begin to diminish.
5. Watch The “Rocky Balboa” Motivational Speech Every Morning.
Yes, I admit that I’m that cheesy guy who watches hours of Rocky reruns during Christmas break. I love the enduring story of the underdog overcoming incredible odds and a lack of God-given talent to ultimately succeed in life. To many, Rocky symbolizes the common person coming from humble beginnings and a limiting and disadvantaged environment to prove that shear determination and grit will inevitably shatter the odds and ultimately level life’s playing field.
I invite you to listen to Rocky’s powerful interchange with his son in the movie Rocky Balboa (2006), where his son tries desperately to convince his father not to go through with his upcoming and ill-advised boxing match. I dare you not to walk away feeling ready to take on the world. It still gives me chills every time I hear it today.
6. Run Forest, Run.
No…you’re probably thinking I mean get “out of dodge”, move to Mexico, and run away from your problems. Instead, I’m referring to (literally) grabbing your Reebok or Nike running shoes and stepping on the treadmill or running trail. Why? Specialists believe that running, or exercise in general, promotes the release of the feel-good chemicals called endorphins.
Much like a natural antidepressant, running assists your brain in holding on to mood-boosting neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. In fact, Runnersworld.com recommends “running in quiet green spaces instead of on crowded streets…” trust me, you will feel 100 times better and running will help dissipate some of the fog and help provide you with some emotional clarity when you need it most.
7. Study How High-Achievers Overcame Debilitating Adversity.
Abraham Lincoln, arguably one of our greatest presidents, was born into poverty, lost eight elections, experienced two failed businesses, and literally suffered a nervous break down before ultimately winning the Presidency. Famous inventor Thomas Edison was known for saying “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Imagine if Edison gave up on his telephone invention after his third or fourth failure. Heck, you wouldn’t be reading this post on your iPhone 7 right now would you?
There was a time when hugely successful motivational speaker Dr. Eric Thomas was broke, homeless and eating out of trash cans for three years before he turned his life around. Now he probably makes more in a month than the Goombay Tally staff makes in a year. More importantly, “E.T.” is motivating people all over the world to be better, and achieve more In life.
Bottom-line: failure and mediocrity is not an experience just reserved for unknowns like you and I. Some of the planet’s most inspiring and talented geniuses have been to “hell and back” in their unrelenting pursuit of greatness. Remember, the problem that you are going through right now is only temporary. However, your reaction to this challenge will greatly impact the trajectory that your life will take starting today…starting right now. Get up. Move forward. Do the same thing again tomorrow morning. Things will get better, and you will be shaped and molded into a better version of yourself because of your tested resiliency and perseverance.