What To Do When Life Isn’t Going Your Way

At this point in life we, most of us, have experienced some form of mild disappointment. Whether it be from the boy or girl you found on Tinder that didn’t turn out to be what their profile suggested, when you get to the gym and your favorite treadmill is in use by someone else, or when you risk being late to class to grab a coffee but drop it on the way there, none of us are immune.

So what do we do when we feel crushed by that disappointment? 

By hurt, loss, and negative thinking? We have to keep our minds in check and try to lean towards a more positive outlook when that negativity can come crashing down on us.

Step one is to accept that we cannot control the actions of others and understand that there always is a risk when associating yourself closely with any group of people. When we find ourselves hurt or disappointed by the actions of another person, we have to find forgiveness. To feel disappointment in another, especially someone close to us, is a natural part of the friendship cycle. However, strength comes from forgiving our close friends, even our acquaintances, for their hurtful actions and to move on from them.

Step two is to let go of disappointment in ourselves. There is no tougher critic than you. When we assess ourselves we often have the tendency to leave out the aspects that others may find to be the greatest things about ourselves. If you care about something, you should act in a respectable way that still  acknowledges your opinions or justifies your reasoning for those feelings. Remember that you are responsible for your decisions and you have to live with the outcome of every situation.

Step three is to accept the reality of situations. Sometimes when we have a bad thought we can trigger a vicious cycle full of “what if” statements. When we think about the worst possible outcome, we see an exaggerated version of what reality could be. Instead, we should focus on the known realities of the situation. You can’t avoid all stress, because it’s a part of life and it helps you grow. Instead, find ways to help you understand your own feelings and get to the bottom of issues. (Tip: I use pro-con lists or mind maps)

Step four is to find your comfort zone. Do something that makes you feel better, whether it be driving to the nearest body of water to hear the waves, reading a novel for enjoyment, watching your favorite movie,  or making yourself your favorite dinner. This serves as a distraction but also can help your brain to slow down and to confront the situation in a familiar and comforting environment.

Step five is to focus on friends and loved ones. Not everyone is going to be your friend and it is important to consider that when confiding in others. Certain social circles can warp that realities of trust and confidence, while close friends value what you have to say, they also will provide honest, even if critical, feedback and they will keep what you confide in them confident . It is important to find the people in your life that will tell you the truth, not just what you need or want to hear, they can provide you with an alternative perspective but also be willing to help you get out of that rut.

You have to get back out there.

I know, I know, it is easier said than done, but the last thing you have to do when you fall is to get back up again. After the mental processing of your situation after a massive heartbreak or disappointment, you have to put yourself back out there. It is scary and it may take a while, but you will find that this mountain that obstructed your path will only be a molehill when you look back on it. Remember to give yourself time to heal but also to push yourself to be you again.

Combatting stress, negative thinking, or anxiety is never easy, but exploring those feelings and understanding those stresses that are at the root of the problem can aid in the recovery process from hurtful or disappointing situations. At the end of the day,  we are all going to experience some form of negativity that will feel crushing at the time. We can only do the best we can, trust ourselves and explore our feelings in order to get better at facing whatever life throws at us.

Feature Image via Blaire Cohen.

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