personal growth tips

You Have a Choice

Life can be tough at times, particularly when one problem follows hard on the heels of another.

You’re not feeling very happy, because you’ve just discovered your partner has gone off with someone else. If that wasn’t bad enough, you’ve been passed over for a promotion at work, just when the extra money would have helped pay off some of your debts. Why is it that everything seems to go wrong at the same time?

It may not seem like it, but at this point you have a choice. You can either spend your time going over your worries again and again, and in the process get stuck where you are. Or you can decide to make the best of it and move on.

Don’t Play the Blame Game

If you believe that someone else is responsible for the unhappy situation in which you find yourself, nothing will be gained by blaming them for your misfortunes; in fact it only exacerbates your stressful feelings. When you blame someone else, you’re effectively saying that you’re powerless to do anything about the situation, when in fact you have a choice about how you’re going to respond.

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You will not find a solution to your problem or relief from your stress while your anger and anxiety are running on overdrive. So, rather than blaming the other person, take a few deep breaths or go for a walk round the block to calm your emotions, and then focus on what you can do to resolve the problem.

The only person who suffers when you play the blame game is you.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Words are very powerful, so be careful what you say to yourself.

If you have messed up in some way, then resist the temptation to say I’m useless; I always get things wrong; if only I hadn’t shouted at her or I’ll never make a success of my life. We all make mistakes and do or say things that we later regret; you’re not alone.

When you’re tempted to beat yourself up, you undermine your confidence and self-esteem. What’s important to realize is that making a mistake doesn’t make you a failure; it’s simply one thing you did wrong, and doesn’t cancel out your other qualities or the rest of your life.

Instead, you need to be totally honest with yourself about what happened and why, and then focus on what you can do to improve the situation. If it’s appropriate to apologize, say you’re sorry. If you need to take some remedial action, then do it.

And then you need to forgive yourself, which doesn’t mean pretending that the mistake didn’t happen or endeavoring to forget all about it. Instead, having done what you can to remedy the situation, it means letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on.

Look forward, not back

Another essential aspect of lifting your mood is to look forward, not back.

You may have had unhappy experiences in the past or made a mistake or two. Or perhaps you have had a happy life before and now find yourself down on your luck.

Whatever your current situation, it’s important to come to terms with the fact that you can’t turn the clock back, no matter how much you may want to. You can’t undo unhappy experiences or mistakes made, but you can learn from them.

We all have the opportunity to grow from the difficulties and disappointments we encounter in life. In fact, many opportunities arise from negative situations. Your partner walking out can result in you meeting someone else who becomes the love of your life. Missing out on a promotion may encourage you to look for a better job elsewhere.

As you start to look forward, take some time as well to think about what you really want in life. And make sure it’s what you want and not what someone else expects of you. Then use your dream as a guiding light, something that you can work towards through all the ups and downs, something that always gives you hope.

You Need to Take Action

Whether you’re grappling with a particular problem right now, or planning your future life, once you have decided what you want to do, you must take action. Nothing good will come from all your musings unless you step out to make it happen.

If, at this point, the idea of facing up to a problem just fills you with fear, then think again, because the more you avoid it, the worse your fear – and the associated stress – becomes.

It’s the same with your dreams, if the fear of failure or stepping outside your comfort zone is holding you back, just concentrate on taking that first step. And as you do, you’ll get a shimmer of excitement that lifts your spirits and encourages you to take the next step.

Be Grateful for the Things You Have

Human nature being what it is, it’s easier to slip into the habit of concentrating on what you don’t have rather than what you do have, but this only fuels despondency. Instead, if you can recognize and be truly grateful for the things that are right in your life, irrespective of what’s going on, you will find that life gets easier.

When you think about it, there are probably dozens of things – both material and non-material – to be grateful for. Once you recognize all the good things in your life and start to appreciate them more, you not only feel happier and more content, but also less stressed out.

But I’m a Born Worrier

If you doubt whether you can lift your mood and get your sparkle back, because you’re a born worrier, then look at it like this: negative thoughts and negative actions discourage and demoralize, where positive thoughts and positive actions motivate and give hope. So, these techniques are at least worth trying. You’ve nothing to lose.

Here’s wishing you good health and happiness.

Kay Johnson is the author of Restore Calm and Wellbeing, a proven 5-step method to help you find lasting relief from stress and worry. If you want to find out more or buy the book, you can use this link:

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