Is this one of those times?
Are you feeling lost and questioning whether you are taking the right direction? Ponder the wisdom of what you have done?
Maybe you find yourself in deeper trouble, questioning everything in your life. You may have even wondered whether there is any purpose in going on. Is life really worth living?
The Magnitude of It All
Challenging situations are normal over the course of a lifetime. But what can you do when you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all, and wondering how you will ever dig yourself out of the hole you feel yourself in? Wondering if life will ever feel good again?
I have found myself in these situations. I never actively considered suicide, or totally giving up on facing the challenges that lay in front of me. But I did wonder, more than once, what my life was all about, and about my purpose in being here. Had I not had very good friends and family supporting me, I can’t say with certainty what might have happened.
To deal with such situations, I have had to find ways to not only not give up, but to transform those “holes” — challenging situations — into something valuable.
What follows are practical steps that have been valuable for me. We can all make up our own lists. And that is a good starting point if you find yourself feeling discouraged about any situation in your life. Make a list of things you change that will make you feel better about the situation and more importantly, about yourself.
When Feeling Lost
- Exercise. As the old saying goes, a sound mind in a sound body. The body and the mind work together. If you are feeling discouraged or depressed, it affects your body and your energy. Likewise, if your body is run-down and tired, it affects your attitude. So it is important that you take time every day to exercise. Even if time is short, you can start with taking a few minutes to walk every day.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Your body is your temple. You need it to be healthy in order to house yourself for this lifetime. None of us wants to be decrepit as we get older. Your body is fueled and maintained by what you eat and drink. So does it not make sense to put good quality fuel in your body? You can begin with small steps to eat a healthier diet. Cooking with fresh food and eating at home, if you do it with awareness, can be no more costly than buying very unhealthy fast food that so many people consume.
- Find or create work that you enjoy. You spend a large part of your life working, often for someone other than yourself. Perhaps you don’t enjoy the work you are doing, or the particular environment you do it in. Consider the work you would enjoy, and what kind of environment would nourish you. If you aren’t sure what you would like, talk with someone whose business it is to help you find work that will really support you.
- Create supportive relationships for yourself. Positive relationships can make a huge difference for virtually all of us. You may find yourself in difficult or unsatisfying relationships, or may have no close friends. You may even be estranged from your family. If your relationships are not working the way you want them to, be willing to look at them. Consider what you want to change. If you have no friends or are far from family, it may feel like a big challenge to develop supportive and satisfying relationships. The first step may be deciding that you want something different.
- Create the money you need in your life. You may have experienced times in your life when you had financial difficulties. If you think you will never have the money you would like to have, chances are you never will have that money! Your thinking plays a large part in what happens to you. If you want to manifest more money, you need to let go of negative thinking about money – about its scarcity – and learn to think differently about it.
- Change habits that no longer serve you. Most of us are creatures of habit, in one way or another. Some of your habits may do you no harm, while others definitely set you back. You may enjoy a beer or a glass of wine with no harm done, whereas for some, it may become a daily over-indulgence in alcohol and lead to great harm for you and your family. Take a look at your habits, and see if there are some that you want to change.
- Take a few minutes of quiet time for yourself each and every day. No matter how busy your days are, no matter how heavy your agenda, you can take a few minutes for yourself. It could be a few minutes for a short walk in the park or around the block. Take a few minutes at lunch time, during a break from work, to sit quietly. It could be on the subway, or in the shower. Start with a few minutes, and build from there.
- Laughter. Laughter is good for you. Look for opportunities to laugh. That could mean getting together with friends and family more often, or joining a club of like-minded people. It could mean joining a laughter yoga group, or watching movies and TV shows that make you laugh.
- Have a positive attitude and think positively. If your attitude is negative, it will lead to negative thinking and negative results. Monitor yourself, without judgment, and note whenever your attitude is negative, and then, simply switch it. Same goes for your thoughts. When you have negative thoughts, note them, let go of them, and move on.
- Listen to your heart. This is important. I will talk in more detail about this in a later post.
- Ask for assistance. You can ask for assistance when you need it. Some people will help you; others will not. But in asking, you are empowering yourself to receive.
- Learn to meditate. You are more than a body and a mind. Explore that by learning to meditate. Start by learning about the breath, and how you can breathe consciously and learn to go inside.
Take a Small Step
Most important of all, be willing to take a first step – to take action on something that will bring change in your life, however small a step it may be, and however small a difference it may make. The first step is often the hardest step of all, especially if you feel you need to move a mountain in order to have it make a difference in your life.
And the simple truth is, taking a step – any step, no matter how small – is the first step toward moving that mountain. So just be willing to start, and be open to what can happen – not waiting in expectation for huge and immediate change or solutions, but just grateful that you are alive, and able to take whatever steps you can.
It is worth it. I promise you.