A Few Tips for Handling the Unexpected

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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 angerdepression, and guilt – feelings that can immobilize and stifle decisions that must be made in order to move forward.”

  1. 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!


****DISCLAIMER**** is an informational site only. The resources on this site are provided for informational purposes only, and should not be used to replace the specialized training and professional judgment of a physical or mental health care professional with specific knowledge about your situation and needs. My own thoughts, opinions, and research, including materials published, made publically available, by Psychology Today, were utilized to write this post., or any other person or group, cannot be held responsible for the use of the information provided. Please always consult a trained mental health professional before making any decision regarding treatment of yourself or others.
Self-help information and information from the Internet is useful, but it is not a substitute for professional assistance. As I mentioned throughout my post, please seek professional help immediately if you or someone else:
  • 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.
One of the goals of is to offer resources and information to those dealing with mental health issues; however, we cannot, and will not, assume the role of your physician or mental health therapist.
If you are in need of help, please contact a crisis clinic, or a qualified physical, or mental health care provider for direct, specialized advice.
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