As much as I love to express my opinion on global issues, I like to stay in my lane when it comes to expressing them publicly unless they are directly related to something I know well, and practice often. Given the fact that I am in the health and wellness sphere, I will focus my attention on supporting you all in finding positivity, within crisis, as that is something I am particularly skilled at!
Finding silver linings to seemingly negative and hopeless situations is one of my favourite things to do, and something I have done hundreds (if not thousands) of times throughout my life whilst dealing with depression and anxiety growing up. It is really all about attitude, resilience, and where you choose to direct your attention.
When facing stress, or feeling blue, you need to do two things; the first is to change your state, meaning, you need to snap your body out of whatever funky energy it is ‘sitting’ in. The second is to find a silver lining, something that brings positive opportunity to a negative situation, so you can move forward.
So in the spirit of contributing something to this weird and stressful time, I’ve compiled a few of my favourite ways to uncover that silver lining, change your perspective, and your physical state, so you can continue on thriving in times of stress.
Perspective shifts are all about flipping a negative into a positive, moving from self-defeating mindset to a constructive one. It’s not an easy task, and sometimes you need to keep yourself accountable and snap out of victim mode in order to make it happen. It all depends on how ‘stuck’ you are.
STEP 1: Write down a list of all the benefits to your situation
You probably rolled your eyes when you read that. What positives!? In order to do this, you need to dig deep, as when you’re not in a good place these things don’t just jump to the surface. If you lost your job, did you actually like it? If you have no money, were you out of control with your spending? If you just went through a breakup, was that relationship really serving your highest good? Think outside the box a little and answer with honesty.
STEP 2: Write down a plan as to how you will make the most of the situation
A plan is where you take that benefitfrom the stressful situation that you uncovered in the previous point, and write down actionable steps to make something happen. This may be something like;
- The problem might be; I lost my job, but I didn’t like it anyways. The actionable step might be; reflect on what I would actually want to do. Apply for jobs in a more desirable field. Seek out further education to bridge the gap between what I can do, and what I want to do.
- The problem might be; I have no money, but I was overspending before. The actionable step might be; Make a budget; what can you afford, what do you need in your life, and what can go? When you do have money again, how are you going to hold onto it? What better way to reel in your spending when you actually have no money to spend anyways?
There is always a silver lining, you just need to look for it. Resilience comes along with stronger foundations after every ‘fall’, as when approached constructively, you climb out stronger than before.
STEP 3: Write down everything you have, that you are grateful for
Write a list and stick it on your fridge if you have to. When the coronavirus shutdown first occurred, I was pretty angry as gyms closed so now I am working from home, my income down, my business in limbo and to be honest I was feeling pretty apathetic for a day or two. Then a quote popped up in my feed, which I reposted, that put things way back into perspective;
“Ok, but honestly, how privileged are so many of us that during a global pandemic, we can just stay warm at home, reading, working, still being educated, creating, talking to our loved ones, with little worries and a fridge stocked with food?”
I have no idea who wrote the quote but what a reality check for us westerners who are complaining about lack of toilet paper and (these next two were me) closed gyms and the fact that it took me three hours and 4 grocery shops to find and purchase meat to fit my specific macro requirements??
Reality check. There is always something to be grateful for.
CHANGING YOUR PHYSICAL STATE
Sometimes, this one needs to come before the first if you can’t seem to get past your negative thinking cycle, or victimhood. We’ve all been there, where we have a problem and are not even slightly open to solutions to those problems, whether being offered by friends, family, coworkers, psychologists, etc.
When you’re stuck, you need to do something to change your state before you go ahead trying to be grateful. And fun fact, you probably won’t want to change your state, because you don’t feel like it. Oftentimes, in order to surpass out limited selves, we have to do things we don’t feel like doing. So to change your state, here are some of my favourite suggestions;
Create a go-to playlist, with all those songs that light you up
I mean lights you up, from the inside. You know those songs you hear that bring you such joy and make you just want to dance around like a crazy person? I have a playlist of those; it’s called ‘Wake-up/Inspirational’. I put it on when I feel crappy and eventually, you get back to feeling good
Get out into nature
Nature changes your state, something to do with the negative ions and the sounds it makes. Whether your jam is the beach, rainforest, up on a hill somewhere, or the local lake, force yourself to get out there and sit still, in your fave place, until you change your state.
Express yourself through whichever means possible
Whether it be dancing around the house like a crazy person, singing at the top of your lungs, playing an instrument, drawing, reading, writing, do something that brings your soul to the surface. You don’t need to be skilled or talented at it, you just need an outlet. Having a go-to outlet is an easy way to change your state. Mine is singing, as I find it relaxing, or I have tribal music that I love to play loudly while dancing around in the lounge room. Weird, I know.
If you know how, this is a good one. Breathing, mindfulness, sound mediation, or walking meditation are all ways of changing your state and bringing about inner stillness.
Physical movement is crucial for releasing stored energy and reinvigorating your body. Whether for you this is running, walking, cycling, going to the gym, and whether or not you feel like doing it, just get it done. This will change your state.
So there you have it, I hope you find these suggestions useful! Once you change your state, you can return back to your original task of finding a silver lining to your challenging situation. There is one there, always, you just need to dig down a little deeper, and find it.
Note that I have steered away from focusing on more obvious things such as eating a healthful diet, getting plenty of sleep, avoiding the narratives of the mainstream media, though it is my belief that these things are crucial for physical and emotional resilience as well.