Occasionally in life you will experience a challenge that is so overwhelming and intimidating that it threatens to consume your entire focus. Especially if there are no obvious solutions in sight, you might be tempted to believe that there is nothing you can do to change the situation. As a result, you may find yourself frequently overcome with strong emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, and despair.
During times like these, there are two things that you can do to shift your thoughts and feelings into a better place. The first is to keep reminding yourself that the situation is temporary. Just because you cannot see any solutions from where you stand does not mean that they don’t exist. In fact, the best way to call in some workable solutions is to soften your focus on the problem.
Shift Your Perspective
Say to yourself repeatedly, “This is just a temporary challenge. I have made it through tough challenges before, and I can do it again. This situation is temporary, and things will get better, probably sooner than I realize.” Hopefully this will help your stress level drop a little bit.
At the same time, avoid dwelling too much on the problem at hand, and instead deliberately find positive things to focus on. Even though you may be facing one big challenge, you also probably have dozens or hundreds of things that are going well for you. Focus on some of those things whenever you feel burdened by the negative aspects. In fact, set aside a little time to make a list of everything that is going well for you, and within a few minutes that one problem will seem much less troublesome.
Harness the Power of Hope
Next, use the power of hope to boost your spirits and call-in solutions. Rather than continuing to believe that your current situation is hopeless and unchangeable, challenge that belief by asking questions like these: “What if this situation can turn around easily? What if there are many solutions that would help? What if those solutions are already on the way to me right now? What if this is really a stepping stone that will get me to where I ultimately want to be?”
Allow a feeling of hope to flood through you, no matter how shaky that hope may be at first. Continually practice the belief that things can and will get better for you in the near future. Project your mind to a future time period when you have moved past the challenge and focus on the feelings that you will likely experience at that time, such as relief, happiness, peacefulness, and freedom. Focus on those feelings and try to feel the sense of them now.
Ask yourself, “What does relief feel like? What does peacefulness feel like?” It may take a little practice, but if you keep focusing on those feelings, before long you will actually start feeling that way in the present moment, even before your situation has changed.
Simple techniques like these can be beneficial in two important ways. First, they help you to feel calmer and more optimistic about your situation as you are working through the challenge. Even better, adopting a more positive attitude actually helps you to stay open to solutions and opportunities for improving the situation quicker and easier than you might have done otherwise.