How can you deal when things don’t go your way? Here are a few tried and true methods I have discovered that will stop you from losing it when faced with life’s inevitable diversity.
1. Realize that getting upset won’t change the situation you are in.
I have come to the conclusion after many hair-pulling-out moments that no matter how upset, stressed, or anxious I get, the situation isn’t affected. The situation quite frankly couldn’t give a damn about my emotional state. Does getting an attitude help things along? No. So don’t get one. You will feel a hell of a lot better about it, and will just be able to ride it out.
2. Don’t take it so personally.
Sometimes it is easy for me to jump right to “This happened to me and is because I did x,y,z.” Despite my opinion, the universe is too big and busy to create a sole predicament just to mess with my life. I’m not saying it isn’t my fault sometimes, but frequently the same occurrence is happening to a bunch of other people, too. So-- it will all be okay, just hang in there.
3. Take deep breaths and count to five.
… and closing your eyes is even better. When we get anxious, our body’s response is to increase the intake of oxygen, i.e. start breathing faster. This only serves to get us mentally more revved up (the old fight or flight thing, you know). Counteract this by taking deep breaths. This cues our body to start returning to a static, calm state of being.
4. Enjoy the chaos around you.
If applicable, try to enjoy the chaos of the moment. One of my guilty pleasures when I travel or am in crowded places is to people watch. I learn a lot about myself by watching and hearing others react to situations. I have learned how I don’t want to react to situations, by watching other people’s overt and obnoxious responses. We have all seen those individuals that are so loud and arm-wavingly dramatic that we think, “Dude calm down, it’s fine.” Don’t be that dude. Keep calm and let the chaos rage on.
5. Have a drink… or some kind of indulgence.
Believe you me, I am in no way promoting excessive drinking. But sometimes, when I am all hyped up, there is nothing like a glass of wine or vodka-ginger ale to break the tension. Just the act of sitting down, settling myself, and slowly drinking a beverage is enough to calm me right now. If you are not the drinking type, try savoring a piece of chocolate, a juicy piece of fruit, or some other indulgence that is a treat for you. Don’t inhale it. Taste each bite and feel your panic level start to decrease and dissipate as you enjoy.
As my uncle says: It’s all good. And it is. As I listen to the guffaws of two women at the bar, and the slurred discussion of family and wars from the group next to me, I realize that it is. The sooner you realize it, the better off you are.