If there is one thing that is constant in life it’s that life is always changing. Because of this, it’s important to have the ability to handle unexpected situations. Often times, people respond to these situations with automatic feelings of anger, frustration, or fear (think about how you would feel if you missed a flight because you were stuck changing the baby’s diaper for too long, or if you accidentally deleted a paper you were writing). These emotions can actually cause your brain’s problem-solving areas to function less effectively (yikes!) which is the exact opposite of what we need when faced with the unexpected! Therefore, i have outlined below a few simple methods to help you to effectively and creatively problem solve in situations where you need to the most.
- Oftentimes, in unexpected situations we REACT (usually negatively) to what is going on instead of making a conscientious, thought-out RESPONSE. So, count to ten, take a few deep breaths and let the situation soak in for a few seconds before you begin to respond to it.
- Ask yourself “How can this turn out well?” Seeing a positive end goal in this situation will cause you to choose actions that will help get you there. For example, if you miss your flight, maybe you can get yourself on a flight with a layover in a city you’ve been hoping to see. POSITIVITY IS POWERFUL, FOLKS!
- Do not get stuck in an “if-only” mentality! Rita Watson, author of “The Art of Decision Making: 20 Winning Strategies for Women” put it best:
“’If-only’ [thinking] leads to a counterproductive thought pattern that further victimizes victims. Self-esteem takes a hit. This thinking creates a vulnerability that translates into anger, depression, and guilt – feelings that can immobilize and stifle decisions that must be made in order to move forward.”
- Trust yourself. You have hit bumps in the road before and you have gotten through them. You will get through the bumps ahead as well. Reflecting on how you’ve handled situations in the past can help to boost your confidence and put your stress at bay. Handling unexpected situations can be a great learning experience for you (or your kids if they’re a bit older-ask them what THEY would do in this situation!).
Always remember that you cannot control most situations, but you CAN control how you react to them. Hopefully the next time things take an unexpected turn you can call upon these four simple steps to help yourself get through it. Good luck!
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have thoughts of killing (or otherwise harming) yourself or others;
are gravely disabled (unable to care for yourself);
are abusing substances; or,
are in any danger of harm.