1. Realize you rarely have control over your thoughts and feelings, therefore, learn to accept when they’re uncomfortable. Look, you probably didn’t create that terrible thought that jumped into your head and made you feel like North Korea. Next time that screwed up thought pops in your disgusting head (kidding, I am not judging you), the thought that you try to bury and hide from even your closest of confidants, give yourself some compassion and realize that thoughts just pop up. You didn’t wake up and say to the universe that you wished the universe would send you some muffed up thoughts that will in turn make you feel terrible. Learn to get comfortable with uncomfortable thoughts and feelings and you will be able to handle your fears with a calmer approach. Try to see these thoughts and feelings for what they are, that is, they’re thoughts and feelings, and not necessarily reality. Label these thoughts as thoughts and nothing more. So don’t get caught up on something that isn’t necessarily reality.
2. Pause when you begin to feel overwhelmed. Sit and befriend the reactions your fears drop on your doorstep. For me, I will sit and notice what fear does to me physically. I will notice how I react, feeling butterflies in my stomach, pressure in my head, my heart beating faster, and breathing patterns speeding up. I observe what my body is doing and I don’t try to control these bodily reactions. Similarly, mentally, I notice my racing thoughts. Some thoughts are so awesomely nuts. These thoughts used to scare me, until I knew that we all have super screwed up thoughts. Instead of attaching weight to these thoughts, I acknowledge that thoughts aren’t necessarily my reality. I attempt to embrace these reactions and let them know they’re welcomed to stay for as long as they want. The less I fight my responses to fear, the less likely these responses stay. I don’t know the science behind it, but it just works. Trust me. Next time you start to flip out, try observing your reactions. Start defining what is going on with your body and mind. Approach this process as a scientist. Separate yourself from your body and mind and take the observer’s seat and log what your body and mind are doing. I bet you begin to feel less overwhelmed (I will go into greater depth in another post at some point).
3. Say this mantra, “just because this minute sucks, doesn’t mean the next minute will suck.” You can keep going onward if necessary, for instance, “just because today sucks, doesn’t mean tomorrow will suck, just because this week sucks, doesn’t mean next week will suck, just because this year sucks, doesn’t mean next year will suck…” Your present moment doesn’t necessarily dictate what the future will look like. If you take an approach that it’s possible things can improve in the minute, hour, day, month, year, whatever, then you can be more open to the idea of a positive future.