Ever wondered why certain people just seem lucky and always come up smelling of roses? Why good things come in abundance to some, while others seem to lurch from one negative experience to the other? Is it that they are born that way, or have they learned some secret that most people don’t know? The answer is the latter. The answer is the Law of Attraction. But specifically, there are important coping strategies for dealing with challenges that some people have learned, which enable them to ‘pivot’ from every negative experience. To flip it from a negative to a positive one. You can learn skills for dealing with challenges below.
By dealing with challenges quickly, and making peace with them – you drive the momentum of your attracting faster than if you had never faced a challenge in the first place. You also learn to deal with stress and anxiety in your life as it occurs, rather than letting it build up. What’s more, you get a hit of feelgood dopamine because you’ve responded to the challenge in a controlled and measured way.
Face the challenge and make peace with it
Life is full of challenges but it’s how you react to those challenges that determines the quality of your life. When something stressful or difficult happens that makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t just ‘park’ it to worry about it later. Confront the issue in your mind as soon as you can. Look at the emotions it’s bringing up. Understand it fully, then choose your best path of remedial action. The path that feels best to you. Then you can make peace with it. You can use the 12 coping strategies for dealing with challenges, listed below.
You will find your stress will start to lift as soon as you’ve started your remedial action plan. If you’re unable to take action straight away, make a note of it to do as soon as you can. If there is no action you can take, then accept the fact and let it go. Then you’ll be able to feel calmer and focus on other goals. Don’t dwell on the difficulties of the challenge, or any uncomfortable emotions it brought up. Don’t let it lead you into a spiral of negative thinking. As soon as you can, get back to focusing your attention on the good things in your life and appreciating what you have already. This will boost your Emotional Set Point which may have been affected by the challenge.
Why does it push your buttons?
It helps to consider why you are having a strong reaction when dealing with challenges. Does it remind you of a past event that was traumatic? Consider the emotions it’s bringing up and be curious about them, rather than resistant. If you notice an oversensitivity to certain behaviours or experiences, ask yourself when was the first time you felt that way. This will help you understand your triggers better.
You can train your mind to be at peace, regardless of the emotions you are experiencing. If you become aware of issues that trigger you often, relating to past traumatic experiences, a session of the Blast Technique® will help you release the trauma from the past event so it no longer bothers you.
12 coping strategies for dealing with challenges
1. Past experiences
Remind yourself that you’ve dealt with similar difficult situations many times before. This situation won’t last forever. Think how past challenges helped you grow and made you more resilient.
2. Coping thought
If a negative self-critical thought comes to mind when dealing with challenges, replace it with a coping thought. For example, ‘my teenage son never talks to me – I must be a bad parent’. The coping thought would be, ‘teenagers are often moody – it has nothing to do with my parenting skills’.
3. Don’t over-react
When you over-react or respond impulsively to a situation, you’re more likely to make a bad decision. When dealing with challenges, pay attention to your emotions and calm yourself first so you can make smarter decisions.
4. Don’t worry
When a worry pops into your thoughts, your mind is inviting you to find a solution to a situation. If it’s something you can do something about, then take the necessary action. Or make a plan to do it as soon as you are able. Then you can let go of worrying.
Worry doesn’t solve tomorrow’s problems – it just takes away today’s peace of mind. When you worry about a situation, you may fall into a vicious circle of negative thinking. When you’ve done all you can to help the situation, far better to ‘pivot’ away from worry. Change it to sending positive energy instead to the outcome you want to see happen. See it and feel it as if it’s already happened and feel gratitude for it. Gratitude is a very powerful tool to attract a future event that you want.
5. Deal with guilt
The purpose of guilt is to get you to evaluate whether you would do something differently if you had the time again. If you would, lesson learned. Store that learning for future use and you can let go of beating yourself up. If you feel bad about something you said or did, wherever possible make amends with the person then you can let it go. Even when you feel regret for your actions regarding a person who is no longer alive, you can still make your peace by saying out loud the things you would want to say to them. Or write it all down then destroy it.
6. Learn from criticism
If you are sure the criticism is unjust, deal with the situation wherever possible by explaining your reasoning. However, consider first whether the criticism might be valid and you are actually being oversensitive. Acknowledge that criticism can be actually valuable feedback, offering you the opportunity to improve yourself. Avoid diving into counter-criticism. You can decide on a coping phrase to use whenever you notice yourself being oversensitive to criticism. Such as “feedback from others helps me see a new perspective”.
7. Accept change
Sometimes change can be challenging if it takes you out of your comfort zone. But it’s only through change that we grow. Learning sometimes involves getting things wrong and may require some struggle and discomfort. It may involve facing some fear. Growth and learning only come from stepping outside that comfort zone. Then you create a bigger comfort zone for yourself and overcome limiting fears. A crab has to shed its old shell to allow a new bigger and stronger one to grow.
8. Develop detachment
When you can detach from the need to have specific outcomes when dealing with challenges, you free yourself up and release your anxiety.
9. Self-worth when coping with challenges
When things happen that make you feel bad about yourself, remember that other people act and speak from their own fears and insecurities. When you value and appreciate yourself, and know you’ve done your best, then what other people might think of you doesn’t matter. If you wish you had acted differently in a situation, rather than beating yourself up, look upon it as a valuable learning experience for the future. Cultivate self-compassion, rather than self-pity.
10. Find the Silver Lining
Rather than dwell on the things you don’t like about any challenge, look for the bright side of the situation. When you make a mistake, rather than beating yourself up, look on it as an opportunity to learn. Use hopeful thinking to consider what you might do differently in the future. Consider what new perspectives you’ve gained. Did you develop any new strengths as a result of the situation?
11. Come to terms with problems you cannot solve
Pivoting is when you analyse a difficult issue and choose your best solution – your happiest path through the challenging thing. Making the best of a bad job. Sometimes it might not be possible to make a happy path, because you know that you have absolutely no control or influence over it. Then, if you’ve done everything it’s in your power to do, accept that challenging thing is in your life. So you make your peace with it and let it go.
12. Don’t play the blame game
There are very few things that we don’t have some power to influence in some way. Most things you can influence to some degree. When you choose the happiest path possible through a difficult thing, it empowers you. If the best remedial path appears hard, it can be tempting to stay stuck and feel a victim of circumstance.
When you blame others and tell yourself you are powerless to change things and have no influence at all, you disempower yourself and fail to pivot. You start to trap yourself in victimhood. So you will start to attract other experiences that match that feeling. Again, cultivate self-compassion, rather than self-pity. When you look for and follow your own solutions, you empower yourself and attract more positive future experiences. Doing so releases feelgood hormones, so you also start to feel better too.
One step at a time
Difficult challenges are often complex and take many steps to arrive at chosen destination/outcome. So here, pivoting is a case of making a decision and taking the first step towards that new goal, then the next step, then the next. Often you’ll pivot again and change to a slightly different “happy path” because of the changes you’ve already made.
You can keep on applying the coping strategies for dealing with challenges. Then your constant pivoting helps you to evolve, but at each pivot you’ve taken control of the issue so it’s no longer going to be keeping you awake at night. Pivoting isn’t about trying to brush unwanted s..t under the rug – that’s impossible. It’s about choosing your best route forward and taking that first step. That step forward gives you joy and releases feel-good dopamine in the body. So you start to feel better. And when you start taking action, your monkey-mind doesn’t need to keep bringing the worry to your attention to find a solution, so your stress reduces.
Once you’ve taken that first step on your new ‘happy path’, focus on the good things in your life, the things you love and make you feel good. This way you keep your emotional set point positive. So then you’ll attract more things to help you on your journey.
If you find negative thoughts and difficult emotions around the challenge keep leaping back into your mind, just repeat the steps above. Keep taking small steps in the right direction, challenging any negative thoughts and replacing them with more positive ones as above. Then you reduce your anxiety and train your mind to be at peace, regardless of what is happening.
Dealing with challenges helps you sleep better
When you’re in the habit of properly processing and closing each difficult issue as and when it arises, your mind won’t present you with a load of issues that need to be addressed at bedtime.
It’s those issues you haven’t looked at and resolved during the day that keep you awake at night. Your ‘monkey mind’* (the limbic system which is responsible for assessing potential threats) will not let you drift off into peaceful sleep until you’ve ascertained whether there is any threat to your safety in the problem.
What happens when you don’t pivot when dealing with challenges?
Ongoing stress and insomnia are the result of prolonged periods where the person gets into the habit of not immediately dealing with issues as they arise. When you ‘park’ an issue during the day, the ‘monkey’ will force it to your attention when you’re trying to sleep. It needs it to be properly considered so the ‘monkey’ can file it away while you sleep. Far easier to deal with it when it occurs.
Stress is caused when there is a prolonged “norm” of not immediately analysing and making peace with each issue as it arises. The monkey mind becomes heightened and keeps the person in an anxious state all the time. Because this has happened over a prolonged period, the person usually isn’t aware of the change and just accepts the anxiety as normal. But it’s a vicious cycle – because the higher the anxiety, the more the person buries each new issue. That’s because they’ve taught themselves that they cannot deal with it, so burying it is the only option to carry on functioning through the day.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?
Is this really true? The answer is, it’s true when you’ve learned to pivot. So when you think someone has had a charmed life, very often they appear ‘lucky’ exactly because they have faced many challenges and stresses in life. The key difference is that they have found ways to pivot and overcome them to the best of their ability.
It’s in those pivot situations that we grow – we become more than we were before. The people who suffer most from stress are sometimes those who have had few challenges in life. So they’ve not learned how to pivot. Often, people who lead very stressful lives don’t suffer from stress because they’ve learned to pivot, so they cope.
Sometimes, you might only have a small possible influence on a challenging situation. So you can accept the unwelcome thing knowing that you’ve taken whatever steps you can and now it’s up to others to take their steps too. One person didn’t bring down the Berlin Wall – thousands did it, each doing their own little bit.
[*The Limbic system includes many components including: Cingulate gyrus – cognitive functions and attention and autonomic functions eg regulating heart rate, blood pressure; Amygdala – fear, flight or fight response; Hippocampus – memory; Orbitofrontal cortex – decision making; Hypothalamus – metabolic processes eg body temperature, sleep, hunger]
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