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Overcoming a Rough Week

Photo by Carlos Yepez (flickr stream)

We all have bad days, but have you ever had one of those weeks when it seems everything is going wrong?

Monday, your alarm didn’t ring and you were late for work. Tuesday, your car broke down. Wednesday you lost your credit card. Thursday was your annual review and your employer informed you that, due to the economy, the company is not issuing raises this year. By the time Friday arrives and you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, you get a ticket for speeding. How do we handle a series of setbacks and bad news?

I recently had one of those weeks where it seemed that anything that could go wrong – did go wrong. The natural reaction most people have when the walls begin crumbling is to crumble right along with them.

I have developed a habit of not letting outside circumstances consume me. I have learned in the past that the events in your life do not determine the course of your life. Rather, it is your reaction to those events that will determine the quality of your life, and your life direction. In other words, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you.

Most of us can experience certain negative events and dismiss them. But when negative events seem to happen simultaneously – as they often do – they feel suffocating and impossible to overcome. This is when thoughts of giving in to that feeling of helplessness seem to evade the mind.

With the state of the economy and many people losing their jobs and homes, many of us feel powerless. But the truth is that there are many things we can do to help us cope with, and even change a bad situation.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Photo: Akasha Rabut (flickr stream)

Have you ever found yourself in a scenario where you had multiple deadlines, a long list of unfinished tasks, past due bills coming in the mail because you had forgotten to pay them, a rented copy of The Office Season 4 DVD that was due 9 days ago, and family, friends, and bosses asking you to do more? What can we do to gain back control of these chaotic and stressful situations?

We live in a world that is becoming increasingly busier. Things are moving at a faster pace and we are forced to move right along with it. More is required out of the average person than ever before. The benefit of our advancing society is that we are able to reap abundantly more than our grandparents would’ve ever imagined was possible. The downside is that we are often overwhelmed by the number of things that we are responsible for and that are required of us.

Sometimes the feeling of being overwhelmed doesn’t come from the actual tasks and responsibilities we have but from the mental clutter that occupies our minds. For example, if you are at work and you start to mentally run through all of the things that need to get done once you leave the office; you need to get on the phone to reschedule a dentist appointment, pick up your kids from daycare, pay the electric bill, and then take your car to the auto shop, then you’ve already added to the pressure of those events by running them over and over in your head.

Another example would be a person who is nervous about giving a 15 minute presentation. The hours and hours spent anticipating and worrying for days beforehand adds to the stress level, which may inevitably cause the feeling of being overwhelmed.

So, how are we supposed to handle these overpowering situations? I believe that we start by asking ourselves some very important questions, then answering those questions honestly.

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