Trials are inevitable, but believe it or not, the pain can be good for you. I am a firm believer that challenges are what exercise our hearts, minds and bodies to build up stamina for the greater things we will encounter and pursue in life. It's all about developing your inner core (no, I don't mean solid abs, though that would be nice too). Your inner core is the person you are in the most difficult times, the values that guide you through the storm.
I'll be the first to admit that it's uncomfortable, frustrating and sometimes discouraging to be stretched and reshaped. Trials often reveal things about yourself that are hard to swallow. But I am so grateful for the obstacles I have experienced over the last ten years that have pushed me to grow and appreciate the infinite possibilities that now lie ahead of me. Here are four good habits that I've honed and that will help to calm the storms in your life:
1. Soften Around a Challenge
When something is stressing us out, we tend to immediately react to the challenge in ways that limit potential positive outcomes and trigger more stress. The next time you freak out, take a massive inhale and exhale that pressure, knowing solutions require space to develop.
2. Realize Obstacles Create Opportunities
Instead of hating yourself and the problem, let your creative instincts take over and guide you towards alternative paths that you wouldn't have initially considered. The benefit of hitting lows is that most directions that follow, point up.
3. Start a New Day with a New Attitude
I know, disaster has hit. You have never been this stressed out in your whole life. Your need for control has you obsessing for a solution that isn't ripe yet... and you're judging yourself for obsessing. The best thing for you in this moment is to hit the hay and realize you have the chance to start over tomorrow. And if you start the new day with a positive attitude, you'll be blown away by the progress you can make.
4. Meditate on Inviting the World Inside
And if you can't shut that mind or worry off, my dear friend and yoga teacher, Susanna Harwood Rubin, says invite the world in if you can't escape it. Rather than the impossible task of emptying your mind, give your mind something specific to meditate on:
Take a comfortable seated position and close your eyes. Begin to draw your attention to everything around you: the sounds in the room, out in the hallway, and in the street. Relax, letting it all in like a complex song that the world is offering to you. Begin to notice the smells, the warmth or coolness of the air, the touch of the chair or the floor against your body, even the texture of your clothing against your skin. Notice how the world around you connects with your body. Then draw your attention from the surface of your skin to the muscles, fluids, and bones of your inner body. Connect with your body's pulse. Feel free to stay here for a while. When you finish, begin to move outward from center, reversing the process, expanding from your inner world back into the world outside. Open your eyes.
Looking back at your experiences, was it the good or tough times that taught you the most? It is when we don't get that promotion, when we lose the deal or when we lack the resources that our inner core develops. The stronger your inner foundation us, the greater potential you have! The remarkable women I've interviewed have each developed their own ways to face adversity head on and rise above it. Take some time to get inspired by their lessons on resilience and develop your own strategy to help you through your next rough patch.
Founder, Girls Who Code
"In 2010 when I lost my Congressional race, I felt this overwhelming sense of failure. I had given something my all and still come up short. I grieved for a few weeks, but then I thought of all the commitments I had made to people on the campaign trail and I knew I had to get back to work... Now I'm gearing up to run for Public Advocate in 2013."
Co-founder & Senior Advisor, Omega Institute
"My divorce was a huge setback for me -- emotionally and financially -- but it was also the greatest learning experience of my life... I went from being a naive and disempowered young woman to a stronger and kinder person who is more willing to take responsibility for her own life, to stop blaming others, to show up fully and fearlessly in all experiences. Every big loss is an invitation to grow, if you say YES to change."
Founder & CEO, Moneyzen Wealth Management LLC
"A while back my mom gave me a weeble wobble... Their tagline was 'weebles wobble but they don't fall down.' That's how I like to think about dealing with setback. You get knocked down and you roll back up again... What I've learned (after years of beating myself up about the nuances of each mistake) is that all that really matters when it comes to setbacks is, what can I learn from this?'"
Trials are the necessary goods that build up our courage muscles and can guide us toward exciting new opportunities if we take the time to respond (not react) to them. Realize a solution already exists within us, we just need to create the space to access it.
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To learn more tips on triumphing in any trial, register for our most transformational event of the year, S.H.E. Summit June 14-15