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Have you ever wanted to give up on something?  Maybe you set a personal goal for yourself that you found difficult to attain due to difficulties or obstacles?  Perhaps you’ve been in a relationship that was once going well but has since evolved into a constant challenge?  Have you been working hard and trying with all your might to get ahead in your career, only for it to seem as if your efforts were becoming fruitless and you wonder if you will ever realize the level of success you envisioned?

I can honestly say there have been many times in my life I have been able to answer ‘yes’ to those questions, and as a trained counselor who has been helping people strengthen their mental, physical, emotional and social health for twenty years I can also say I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t struggled in the same way.  Working through the ups and downs of life is part of being human, and it is not what happens to us in life that defines us it is how we choose to respond or react to things that makes us who we are.    

So when things go well, life is good right?  Yes, but as we know life doesn’t always work the way we would like.  Life is a gift but it can be challenging to navigate and when obstacles become too difficult to bear we sometimes think about wanting to quit, give up, throw in the towel…so what can we do when we become tired, overwhelmed, frustrated with things?  How do we stay the course when we want to give up?  Here are a few mindful living tips:

  1. Stop, pause and breathe!  Your fears, frustrations and overwhelming emotions are telling you something – take a step back from the situation and take a couple of deep breaths to calm your physiological fight or flight responses.  Here are a couple of deep breathing recommendations from Harvard Health http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/relaxation-techniques-breath-control-helps-quell-errant-stress-response.
  2. Process what is happening from a wise-minded perspective.  What is wise-mind you ask?  Wise-mind is a basic tenet of Mindfulness which is a psychological concept that is clinically proven to help reduce stress, improve mental focus and strengthen overall health and well-being.  Using wise-mind to process information helps you to consider both the facts (left brain processing) of the situation as well as the emotion (right brain processing) you are experiencing.  It’s important to honor how we feel about things, but keep in mind emotions are not facts and we don’t need to react to them.
  3. Respond vs react.  Responding is guided more by logic than emotion and reacting is purely driven by emotion.  Here is a good illustration:

respond vs react illustration

4.  Ask questions and generate alternative solutions.  Ask yourself if there is another way to look at things.  See if there is something else you can do to try and think or feel in a different way.  Maybe up until now things haven’t been going the way you had originally planned, but we always have options at our disposal to work through the obstacles – re-evaluate, make adjustments, check in with yourself on motivation, flexibility and expectation for goal achievement.

5. Communicate.  Talk to yourself and others from a wise-minded perspective about what is happening – what are you noticing?  How do you think and feel?  What would you like to be different?

Hope you find these tips to be helpful.  Please contact us at 847-497-0524 to learn more about how Foundations Counseling can help you, your family or business improve mental, physical, emotional, social, organizational health and well being.  Best of luck  – Live Mindfully & Prosper (LM&P)!