Life is full of unexpected twists, but they don’t have to be negative. These four experts have given advice on how to put a positive spin on the unexpected twists in life so that you can get the most out of your every day, without being thrown off balance.
Elizabeth Lesser, founder for Omega Institute for Holistic Studies
“It’s human nature to resist change, to run around like 2-year-olds saying ‘No! No! No!’ when things we didn’t order show up. But while unforeseen events are hard to deal with, adding a tantrum makes them harder. My younger sister died recently after a long battle with cancer. Every time I feel the tide of No! rising in my heart, I catch myself. I sit down, close my eyes, put my hand on my chest, breathe, and whisper, ‘Yes.’ Yes, this happened. Yes, I can face it. Yes, I will feel the loss and not fight the grief. Because I’ve found that the changes I feared would ruin me have always become doorways, and on the other side I have found a more courageous and graceful self.”
When it comes to dealing with loss and heartache and pain, trying to run from the feelings is the last thing you should do. As Lesser mentions, it is vital that you learn to accept the event that occurred before you can move forward. Take the time that you need to grieve and feel the emotions coursing through your body, but then pick yourself back up and tell yourself it is time to move forward. Yes, you have experienced pain – but yes, you will also grow strength from that pain.
Paula Davis-Laack, stress and resilience expert and consultant
“When you’re reeling during a big change, get your worst- and best-case scenarios down on paper. Doing so helps you see the situation more clearly and develop a plan. Also, do all you can to preserve hope. What does that mean? Well, hopeful people share four core beliefs: First, they believe their future will be better than their present. Second, they believe they have the power to direct how their life unfolds. Third, they realize there are many paths to their goals. And fourth, hopeful people know there will be obstacles – but they believe in their ability to overcome them.”
Writing your goals down helps to make them tangible. The act of writing them down makes sure that you are thinking about them and thinking them through. When you start to think about your goals, you can start to come up with ideas for achieving those goals. If you have dreams, one of the first steps in achieving them is actually making the decision to set out and achieve them. The world will do wonderful things for you when you open yourself up to the dreams you have – so begin by writing down your goals so you can start focusing on working towards them.
Ellen Langer, PhD, professor of psychology, Harvard University
“We have a tendency to confuse the stability of our mind-sets with the stability of the world. We hold something still with our heads, believing we know it, but it’s changing regardless of how we perceive it. If you can notice things changing, you’ll be less gutted by change. And whether or not you feel gutted by the change won’t alter the outcome – it’s still happening. Stress is a function of the views we take of events, not of the events themselves.”