Perspective / Step Back to Realize
Sometimes in life it seems like we were put on this planet to have bad things happen to us. We feel like we are the most unlucky people on the planet. When these types of situations occur, we may ask ourselves “why is everything going wrong in my life?”
The truth of the matter is that often not everything is actually going wrong in your life, we just need to take a step back and realize just how amazing our lives really are. If you find yourself going down a dark path, take a deep breath, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. Do this as long as you need to in order to calm down a little bit.
Now, we need to do our best to see ourselves from a third person view, as to open our eyes to the incredible lives we live. The easiest way that we can do that is to learn to be grateful for what we already have.
In life we go through difficult situations, times, and emotions. However, sometimes we don’t realize just how much we truly have to be grateful for. If you are reading this blog post, you instantly qualify for a long list of things to be grateful for. You have a functioning brain, and are able to see, read, and comprehend. More than a billion people on this planet are unable to read and write, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
You can start by writing in a “gratitude journal” everyday. It is quite simple, at any point throughout your day, write 3 things that you are grateful for. Typically, you write in a gratitude journal in the morning, right after you wake up, or in the evening, right before bed. When we write in a gratitude journal right before bed or right after waking up, our subconscious brains are the most active, and the most “pliable”. This allows our brains to dwell on the fact that we are living a great life, and we shouldn’t be complaining.
They don’t need to be big things to be grateful for either, it could be that you woke up that morning, that you can breathe, or anything else you may take for granted. When you take time every single day to realize how you have so much good going on in your life, you start to have a fresh perspective on your life.
What if Everything is Truly Going Wrong in My Life?
Maybe you read those last few paragraphs and are asking yourself; “Who does this guy think he is?!” I hear you. Sometimes in our lives, we go through periods of time where our resilience and mental toughness is tried.
Perhaps you’ve recently lost a close family member, lost your job, gone through a tough break-up, or any combination of these difficult times. You’re allowed to not feel fantastic at times like these. That’s the first thing you must realize and accept.
How Not to Deal With a Negative Situation
What is debatably more important than how to respond to a difficult time, is how not to respond to a difficult time. If we do not know how to respond when faced with hardship, we can be taken down even more difficult paths, such as addictions, anxiety, or other mental health issues.
Something you must know is that giving into a materialistic desire will never fix a deep rooted issue, so giving into a want of this type is not a good idea when going through a crisis. Let’s say that you lose your job. In the midst of your disbelief and sadness, you get this urge that you want the new pair of Nikes.
If you give in, your brain rewards you with a shot of dopamine. After all, it’s exciting! Within a few days, the novelty has worn off and they just feel like a normal pair of shoes. A few weeks later, your dad passes away.
Your brain hasn’t forgotten about that dopamine shot it got when you bought those Nikes. Now is when you can easily rationalize a bigger purchase; “The Nikes weren’t a very big purchase, what I really need is a new car!”
After buying a new car, your brain is loaded up with even more dopamine, and maybe it lasts longer. For the next week or two, every time you get in your car you can’t believe it. It’s almost as if we are competing with ourselves and our brains. You love it, and you’ve solved your issues, right?
Wrong. Again, the novelty wears off and you’re back to square one, feeling empty and sad. These two purchases may or may not have made you feel more sad directly, but because of these two purchases your finances may be out of whack, which can start a domino effect in your life.
The bottom line; don’t give into big materialistic desires when your emotions are out of whack.
How to Deal Appropriately With a Negative Situation
Once the “shock factor” of these difficult situations has faded, our previous section about stepping back to reflect on your situation and life will become easier. As early as you can, begin writing in a gratitude journal in order to harbour a newfound joy and love for your life.
Now is when you really need to exercise self-discipline. When you feel yourself getting sad, thinking negatively, dwelling on the past, or anything else that is not a productive behaviour, work on rewiring your brain to think positively.
By simply shifting from a first reaction of “why does everything bad happen to me?”, to “I am so fortunate to be living my life”, then you will find yourself enjoying your life much more.
What’s important to note is that your life hasn’t technically changed. That tough situation still took place, the only thing that has changed is the way that you’ve thought about it.
The way to feel better when you’re in a rut isn’t any direct action like buying a new pair of shoes or jumping on a plane, but rewiring your brain to react positively to outside stimuli, good or bad. Again, this doesn’t mean that you can’t spend time mourning, being sad, feeling bad for yourself, or any other negative emotions.
What it does mean is that instead of sitting in these negative emotions, you need to train your brain to react appropriately, and figure out how to come out of the situation a stronger person. This is where true self improvement stems from.
Our Brains and Negativity
So, how do we retrain our brains? This is an incredibly complicated topic, and could be its own blog post, but there are a few great ways to begin this mental process for beginners.
The first is one we touched on earlier, which is gratuity journals. When we put a pen to paper and actively consider the things that we have going for us, it will be easier for us to lift ourselves out of a negative mind state and into an abundance one. What’s not important is how much we have, but feeling grateful for what we do have.
Another popular tool we can use to rewire our brains is positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is when we affirm to ourselves something about our lives, regardless of if we, on a subconscious level, believe it. Here’s an example; if someone sees a few extra pounds around their belly, something they may affirm to themselves is; “I am fit and healthy”.
If they’re successful in retraining their brain to think this way, they subconsciously begin to make real life adjustments to become more fit and healthy, therefore seeing a more fit and healthy person in the mirror. Many people use affirmations right before bed, for the same reason as why people write in a gratitude journal before bed, our brains will be most likely to hear and accept the information.
Many people also use meditation. Simply meditating for 2 minutes every day after you wake up or before you go to bed can help foster a better outlook on your life, without any direct changes made. There are many incredible articles written on meditation that can help you add meditation to your mental toolbox.
To The Journey
When you’re continually finding yourself questioning why bad things keep happening in your life, there’s a process we need to run through in order to self-diagnose our lives. When you think to yourself; “Why is everything going wrong in my life?”, the first thing you need to do is breathe.
Negative emotions have their time and place in our lives, and it is not healthy to avoid them entirely. So, when you find yourself in a difficult situation, do not try to suppress them entirely. Rather, sit in them and recognize the thoughts.
As soon as you can (without feeling overly rushed), begin to use some of the brain rewiring techniques we’ve learnt today—writing about gratuity, positive affirmations, meditation, or anything else that resonates with you.
As we know, self improvement is not a time-defined quest. We are all on a lifelong journey with ourselves and our emotions. When we discover the power of our brains and how we can rewire them, we can essentially learn to respond more positively to negative news.