July 1, 2011

Tip of the day—Things probably aren’t as bad as they seem

Problems are no fun.  Those challenges that life puts in our path can be absolutely devastating.  Below are a few things that have helped me through tough times and challenges:

  • Ask yourself, “What would my future self say about this?  What would he or she tell me?” 
  • Ask yourself, “Is this going to seem as big to me in another 5 years?”  Sometimes putting things into that perspective helps me to think more logically about a problem.
  • Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience, what do I think I’m meant to learn from this experience?”  On those same lines, “How can this challenge benefit me in some way?”  As tough as it is to do when I’m throwing myself a big giant pity party, this question is one of the most important to me.  The great debate as to whether or not God makes bad things happen to us or allows them to happen to us is moot in my mind.  Either way, I think that through Him we can use those bad things for good in our lives and the lives of others. 
  • Give it some time.  Sometimes we can work through a problem better when we’ve had a little time to digest.  I like to journal about my feelings and thoughts on a problem and then return to the journal a day or so later.  Again, it is all about perspective.  Sometimes we are so close to a problem that we can’t see a way out, and this exercise helps.
  • Talk to someone else. Sometimes talking to someone is helpful.  Yet again, perspective comes into play.  The way we think about a problem effects how we feel about it.  Getting another person’s take or insight can help to alter your thoughts—maybe your friend has a take on the problem that you hadn’t considered before.  As with anything on this blog, I’m not offering professional advice.  If your problem is to the point of affecting your daily life, I hope you will consider seeking the services of a therapist or talking to your doctor.
  • Have a little faith.  I can be a little bit of a worry wart.  Often I realize that God has a sense of humor because I can almost picture Him looking down at me and going, “Gabrielle, have you not learned that I’m in control yet?”  I picture Him with that smile of knowing, almost like when I watch our daughter looking and looking for something and it is right in front of her.  A long time ago, my aunt told me that when you feel a sense of despair to pray to God that He open the curtain just a little bit so that you can see enough of His plan to help you get through the struggle.  Every time I’ve prayed that prayer as soon as I open my eyes I have a realization of the reason I’m going through something. 
  • Keep putting one foot in front of the other.  There are times when I want to stew in a problem.  OK, that is fine for a while, but after a little time goes by it is time to get back up and get moving.  Recently I decided that I was going to give myself a day to throw a pity party, and I knew that if I didn’t get moving again then I would sit there and stew for too long.  Getting going again isn’t fun.  It requires a lot of effort, but just like the ball rolling down the hill, the more you do the more momentum you will have. 
  • Try again tomorrow.  I recently read from Rebecca at Brown House News that they sometimes declare the day a do-over.  I like that idea.  Sometimes you just have to recognize that this day isn’t working out as planned and work to make tomorrow a better one. 

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