Problems are a part of life. But do they have to be such a big, harrowing and lingering part of life? I’m not so sure. In most cases we can take simple steps to move on from problems and for most day to day problems, we can move on very quickly.
Of course when a problem arises it’s totally normal to have a moment of complaining and maybe even blaming, perhaps we have an angry outburst. Tears and fear may also arise – that’s all OK. But hanging around for too long in those emotions and in that state of mind doesn’t help us. Here’s how to get out of that rut and move on:
Be angry and upset for a few moments if you need to, but then let it go. Fast. What’s done is done. You can’t change it. It’s really that simple. One of the best things we can do in life for our own wellbeing is understand what we can’t control. The past is something we can’t control, so to linger there in your mind is pretty futile. Accept what has happened and move onto step 2.
For most day to day problems such as being late, having a minor argument or the car breaking down ask yourself these questions:
- Did anyone die?
- Did anyone get sick?
- Will this matter in a couple of months time?
- Will it matter in a years time?
- Will it matter in five years time?
In most cases, the answer is no. So why give it such importance?
I recently damaged a hard drive with 1.5 years of my work on it. I still don’t know if it’s recoverable. I could have been upset for days, weeks even! But I didn’t see the point of that so I used these exact four steps to move through it emotionally and mentally. Within one hour of the incident I was feeling great and I got on with my life.
You could also ask yourself: What is the opportunity in this situation? I saw my problem as an opportunity to manage my mental and emotional reactions to life, to build my resilience. It also inspired this blog.
What did I learn from my broken hard drive? To back up my work. I’ll not make this same mistake again.
What can you learn from day to day problems? Some problems teach patience, faith and hope. Some teach practical life skills such as time management, communication or negotiation. There are many pearls at the bottom of the ocean if you’re willing to take the dive and look for them. As soon as you start grabbing those pearls, you’ll feel much better.
As quick as possible, start looking for solutions. You can’t be in problem mode and solution mode at the same time. Which mode you’re in is entirely your own choice. Solution mode not only feels more empowering, but it is of course more productive too.
Once you start finding solutions you immediately feel better. You act better. And you get better results.
We really do have more control over our life experience than we think.
Bigger and more painful problems may require more time to process the above steps. This blog isn’t to belittle your problems or withhold compassion for the sometimes heart breaking challenges we face. But whatever the challenge, the steps of moving on are the same.
The more you practise these steps, the more natural they become and the faster you can get through them. A few years ago I would have sat in problem mode for days about my hard drive. But, because I am consistently working on myself I am able to gain more and more control – not of the outer world, but of how I deal with it.
And that’s really the crux of dealing with life’s challenges. To master our problems, we must first master ourselves.
About the author: To find out more about Pinky Jangra, click here.
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