It starts with a breath. Breathe through the pain you’re feeling today and give yourself a chance to process it. The mind immediately wants all the answers. Why did this happen? What could I have done to prevent this from happening? How will I move forward?
Breathe. While these questions are well-intentioned, they don’t ease the mind. They heighten the energy and make you feel like you need instant information. Slow your mind down and focus on what you can control. Your breath.
Each day brings new challenges and some challenges feel too great to overcome. But if you take these challenges one day at a time, the waves of emotion will become smaller and soon they won’t be knocking you down.
Ask yourself: will this matter in five years? Ten years? Don’t let that answer freak you out. Simply answer that question and don’t jump to conclusions. Comfort yourself and treat yourself with the respect you’d treat a friend going through the same situation.
We all are carrying a weight in life. Some of us are emotional body builders who have been given more and more weight to bare with each and every life experience. But with this weight comes strength and power and tenacity.
When the weight becomes too much to bare, lean on someone close to you. Even if they don’t seem to understand. Even if you can’t bring yourself to say the words. Just be in their presence and let them hold a small piece of your burden. Just the presence of someone in life can help you regardless of the words that accompany the interaction.
Sometimes it feels good to indulge in emotions: sadness, guilt, shame, heartbreak. But too many of us unintentionally indulge in these emotions and end up feeling lower because of the time we spend overthinking them. If only we indulged in happiness this way.
You won’t go from I’m miserable to I’m ecstatic overnight. On day one, start with, “I’m miserable, and that’s okay.” Acknowledging the burden and realizing that it will pass some day will allow you to feel a sense of control. The next day take it a step further and say, “I am working towards feeling better.” Day three: “I am doing my best today.” Day four: “I have the potential to feel better.”
Keep finding replacement statements that don’t feel unrealistic. Spend time on the one that feels relevant, but each day try to find a new statement. Even if it seems to be at the same level of emotion, switching the statement will help you to feel like you are working towards feeling better.
Breathe. You’ve got this. If all you can do today is take a breath, then that’s more than enough.
Excellent post, Jess! This is a great perspective on dealing with bad news.
The instinct for most (myself included) when dealing with bad news is either to try to rationalize what happened to make myself feel better or to try to ignore the negative emotions entirely. I think this method only prolongs the grieving or negative emotion that comes with bad news.
But, what you suggest in this post makes all the sense in the world. We don’t always understand our emotions and trying to control them can be frustrating, especially during a time grief.
I like that you suggest that we instead focus on something else that we can control. Bad news is hard to deal with and the emotions associated with it are out of our control. But there are some things we can still control. By telling ourselves simple statements, like the ones you suggest, we can set ourselves on a path to feeling better. By doing this, we are not trying control our emotions or ignore them, we are simply trying to accept them and make progress towards getting better each day.
I like how inspirational and optimistic this post is. It’s something I will come back to read again when I need a reminder on how to get better after hearing bad news.
Superb job writing this, Jess! You have a lot of great insight and inspiration to offer the world. Keep it up!