Don’t we all want to find a way to handle challenges best? Don’t we all want to avoid the panic, anxiety and stress we feel when life’s challenges suddenly arise? The small ones, when we drop our phone and the display breaks, as well as the big ones when our relationship ends, a big job deal fails or we loose someone we love. But for some reason whenever those situations come up, we react in the same old manner, isn’t it? We are either panicking, hesitating, blaming, numbing or other things, instead of accepting the situation as it is and focus on creating a way to change it, handle it and make the best out of it.
Thankfully those situations don’t arise too often, which also means that we don’t have very much practice and not many chances to create new automatic responses to those type of events. But that is exactly what we would need in order to teach ourselves how to react differently. When we create a new habit, learn a new language or sports, we practice it over and over again. We know, that practice will get us better. It goes without saying that we don’t want to practice how to handle difficult situations over and over again because that would mean we need to live through even more those events.
I found a way to prepare for life’s obstacles and condition my mind and body how to automatically respond with serenity while staying alert and focusing on evaluating the best way to handle the situation for all participants.
The body as well as the mind have their fight or flight reactions to any kind of danger and stress. In our childhood we created our personal way how to respond to stress. Our brains automatically recall what they have learned when we are facing stressful situations.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” – Victor Frankl
Our automatic response will take its time to get displaced by a new one. So the first thing to do in any stressful situation, is to take a long deep breath, preferably three rounds of breath or more, according to the situation. This will help to distance yourself from what just happened and your immediate emotional response. With those rounds of breath, the actual work begins. What do you need to do now, to stay calm and focused on finding a solution?
Maybe you have already been working on this and you have already created a tool like a mantra or breathing technique that will provide you calmness. Or maybe you have never mindfully thought about this. If so, I could give you different ways on how others handle those situations. But I won’t, right now. Why? Because there is not a one-fits-all solution. Depending on your very unique personality and nature, you need an equally unique way to handle stress. How it exactly looks like, is on you to find out and try out until you found it.
Scroll back up and look at the photo above.
It might just look like two women in a seemingly not overly special yoga posture. It is not a handstand, wheel or something of that nature, where most people wonder how to get into something like it. But eagle arms (the way the hands are held in the photo) is not very comfortable, you squeeze your arms tight together, which hinders you from breathing normally and you’re balance is challenged a lot because of the low lunge with the legs.
It’s not one of those fancy looking poses, like I said, but it’s one that will help us to teach ourselves to stay calm when we almost can’t breathe anymore and are not sure if we fall any second.
It might not even look challenging to us. We can’t see the slight panic because breathing is a challenge in this pose. We can’t see all the muscles struggling to keep the balance in order not to fall. We can’t feel and hear the thoughts and heart racing. But I could feel it. And the only thing that helped, was remaining calm, breathing mindfully, telling myself “I can do this, relax, it’s gonna be over. You are here to learn, grow and enjoy this.”. Stay with me! Now it is time to tell you how you can find your unique way of responding to stressful situations and how you can practice this response without being in a stressful situation that you don’t want to be in.
Challenge yourself through physical exercise, everyday for best results.
Why? Because it gives you the chance to practice challenges. It gives you the chance to program your mind how to automatically react to challenges. You can condition your body and mind to stay calm but alert & fully focused in a difficult physical exercise and eventually in any obstacle life has to offer. As you repeat these struggling exercises, you will recognize your current pattern of responding to those situations. Now you can try different ways to change them into something more helpful, focused on a better outcome and a positive mindset.
Just one quick example: I used to be really scared of inversions, like handstand. Even though two people would help me up to do it against the wall, I reacted with panic. I had enough strength, I was just scared of being upside down and losing control and fall. Although I knew the wall and two people would hold me no matter what, I would get out of the pose before I was even i it. Though I kept trying it over and over again. Once I worked on my mindset towards inversions, I would first take a deep breath, as soon as my legs were up I took another couple of breaths as I felt the panic rising until my heart rate relaxed and I could finally stay up there and focus on my form and progress to eventually practice the handstand alone.
Challenge yourself daily. Whenever it is too much, you can stop and try it again tomorrow. But do it regularly! Because life happens. You will face challenges again and again and again in your life, so will I, so will every single person and being on this planet.
You wanna be prepared when something really bad happens. You wanna have a clear mind & act reasonable and helpful, in as much control as you can.
Every challenge will pass eventually. And the more calm & focused you are, the faster it might fade. We can’t change what happens but we always have the power to influence our response to it.
Do it for yourself and the ones you love.