How do you stay positive when the going gets tough? Though I by no means am The Expert on staying positive, but I think that I can say that I have some experience with dealing with personal adversity in life.
Thank you all so very much for your comments and support on my post yesterday. I had originally planned on posting it today, being Thinking Out Loud Thursday and all, but I realized that I just couldn’t wait any longer–I needed to get it out there. I am actually going back to the specialists today. There isn’t much change or improvement physically, but I am getting better mentally. In large part this is thanks to you. So, keeping up with the thankfulness of yesterday, I wanted to only talk about positivity today.
Staying Positive When the Going Gets Tough
This is assuming that you have already gotten confirmation of whatever the bad news may be, and now you are wondering how to move forward.
First: Get Over the Shock, and Feel Your Feels
Don’t bury your emotions; rather, take a good 15 minutes and feel like crap for yourself. Believe me, do it now, or you are going to do it later! Pout, cry, let it the balls out. I am a huge believer in catharsis, though psychological studies have been mixed in the past. (See Robert Baron and Deborah Richardson’s 2004 study “Catharsis: does ‘getting it out of one’s system’ really help?” in Human Aggression for more. For a quick but actually rather decent explication, see this Wikipedia article (focus on the part on modern psychology).
So take that pent up emotion and set it free. You want to start with as clear a mind as you can so that you can make decisions with reason, logic, and objectivity.
Having trouble processing the information that you have just been given? Read this post on Dealing with Diagnosis, it will help you with the process, regardless of the type of news you are dealing with.
Second: Get Your Support System in Place
Your support team is two pronged: experts to help you treat/deal with your problem and the people in your life who are experts on YOU and what you need to get through your recovery/rough patch. You need people who will deal with the objective issues (thus why you needed to get all of those personal emotions out of the way) as well as those who will cater to your subjective needs (thus why you needed to get your emotions out of the way so that you won’t sway them or freak them out). As Marcia so candidly said in a totally unrelated post, get rid of your Inner (and outer) Suck Monkeys.
My mom wrote an excellent post about being the support system.
Third: Take the Power Back
We all know the saying “when life hands you lemons, you make
applesauce lemonade.” Do you know why that ditty has enjoyed such longevity and success? Not because you are repurposing one thing into another but because “making lemonade” focuses on empowerment and putting the ball back in your court. Gets you back to living your life on your terms. Because nobody likes being told what to do, right?
So focus on what you CAN do:
- I can’t run, but I can ride the spin bike (I also covered this talking about cross training through injury).
- I’m scared to move, so I’m going to make Alex even more my minion than ever.
- It doesn’t hurt to stand, so I’m going to cook more!
- I can’t walk that far, so I’m going to take advantage of the Parkwhiz discount (SUZLYFE for 10% off!) and drive!
It doesn’t matter if you can’t do x, as long as you can find a way to do y.
Fourth: Don’t Be Overly Hard On Yourself
No matter how empowered and whatnot you feel, you are going to have bummer moments. You are going to realize that you have more acute limitations than usual. You’ll likely have to change or even cancel some plans that meant a great deal to you. You are going to be reminded of this. That is unavoidable. So don’t hate yourself for the inevitable.
Five: Start Back at Step One
When you feel yourself falling apart, return to step one, get those emotions out, lean on your support system (this is probably a good time for your subjective and emotional health team rather than the doctors), and empower yourself.
And empowering yourself doesn’t have to mean that you take over the world or solve your every problem. It might just mean that you refuse to eat everything in your pantry. Or that you finally organize your closet. What you decide to do may have nothing to do with the original issue at all.
You know what I did? I did something girly: I went and got myself another no chip manicure at Ambra. They did such a good job, I’ve enjoyed having pretty nails so much, I thought, why not?! (Ps, Lata is awesome and hilarious. LOVE HER)
Throughout: Stay Thankful for the Good in Your Life
For every “con” that you are going through, find a corresponding pro (see previous steps) and be thankful for it. Be thankful for the people who surround you in your life. Who are there with you throughout. Who let you unload (catharsis is rarely pretty or sweet in nature), and forgive you for drinking all their wine and eating all their chocolate (yeah, THAT serious). And then being a b***h to them. Replace their wine, replace their chocolate, and give them the biggest hug imaginable.
Staying Positive is about Taking Lemons and Making Applesauce.
And chopping the SH** out of those apples. Chop it. Chop it real good. But practice good knife skills, and if you are crying or shaking, maybe stick with your closet or DVD collections.Take lemons and make applesauce #positivity #runchat #fitfluential Click To Tweet
What are your secrets for taking lemons and making applesauce?