05/06/2015 09:04 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Moving Forward Through Ups and Downs

Do you have a goal which seems far away? Are you working toward something but keep hitting obstacles? Are you uncertain you are on the right path? Have you lost your path and are not sure what is next?

Lately, many of my clients have been going through a confusing, frustrating, up and down time. Nothing seems stable any more. What used to be is gone, but what is next has not yet shown up. As our brain loves the familiar, it senses change as a danger knocking us into the blur and cloudiness of stress. Now not only are we dealing with the changing circumstances around us, but we also have to contend with a mind and body which are not functioning at their peak.

How does one more through the unknown?

A few foundational tools will help you to move through the unknown with less stress and more clarity. Here are a few ways to help you through transitional times.

Create a Daily Routine

You may not be able to affect all that is happening around you or the timing of changes. You can, however, control a portion of your day. Uncover grounding tools that work for you. This could be meditation, walking, a bath, knitting, or some other State of Gray™ technique. Make sure you dedicate at least 15 minutes every day to this practice. This time will be your touchstone for keeping you centered. For those Type A's in the group, it is something you can control and check off your list every day. The result is a feeling a centeredness which will help you navigate the rest of your day.

Be Kind to Yourself

When we are stressed and not in control of circumstances around us, it is very easy to reach for our addictions. Soothing our stress with caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, or our security blanket of choice is simply using a bandage. Our comfort foods may feel good in the moment but they often result in issues afterwards. Caffeine to wake us up leads to a drop later in the day. Alcohol at night leads to a restless sleepless night. Be kind to yourself by eating whole foods, getting enough sleep, and moving your body. When the body is fed what it needs, it can be an ally against our stress. Plus, taking time to nurture our body takes us out of our worrisome minds at least for a moment.

Focus on the Known

When we have a goal or when our future is uncertain, our focus is on what is next. We can not control what is next. We can not know how the future will turn out. We can not know how the next step will affect us. Focusing on the future leads to worry and therefore more stress and cloudy thinking. Instead, focus on this moment. What is this moment is great? For instance, you can be grateful you found this article or you can be grateful for having technology allowing this article to come to you. You can be grateful you had breakfast or a car that took you where you needed to go. Whenever the stress of what is next is controlling you, take a moment to write down 10 things for which you are grateful for right now in this moment. It will release you from the stress of the future and turn off your cloudy thinking.

If the next months are like the past few, many more curves, shifts, and U-turns are in our future. Hold yourself strong against the sea of change by centering in a routine, feeding your body what it needs, and focusing on the good in each moment.