4 Keys to Making Things Better

How many moments have you had when your mind has screamed at you that “it’s time?” Whether related to your marriage, relationships, work, family or health, you’ve likely experienced these moments. Your mind is telling you that it’s time. Time to admit where you are in life compared to where you’d hoped to be. Time to admit that you’re miserable and overwhelmed. These moments can feel pretty terrible. Think about this. What happens when your stiff upper lip no longer holds up, when you’re getting teary at work, when you find yourself lashing out at your partner or spouse and engaging in useless, dead-end arguments? Chances are, you feel depressed because you know something has to change, but whatever you’re doing just isn’t helping. You have the power to change things. You can take these terrible moments and use them to make your life better.

Here are 4 key ways to make these moments matter:

  1. Stop reacting to others. Many clients come to see me and share that they’re at their wit’s end in terms of communicating. When you see a pattern of the same problem, the same argument and the same cycle, it’s tempting to lash out. Instead, take the first step and stop doing that. The most important element of making this better is to quiet yourself. Consider what needs to be said before saying anything. Reactivity without thought only makes things worse. What you want to say may be truthful, but lashing out will only set things back. More on this later.
  2. Take some time out. Take a break by stepping into a different physical environment. Walk outside, put your hands in the soil, wash dishes, take a minute to breathe or just slow way down. Give yourself space.
  3. Take a large and loud deep breath. What are you blowing out? Sorrow? Anger? Hurt? Frustration? Just having your feelings is hard enough, but I encourage you to really experience them. Ride the wave of sensation of your feelings – nothing else has to happen. Let them move through you, like a shiver in the cold. It’s only temporary – your emotions will only last a minute or two so long as you don’t add to the story.
  4. Offer self-compassion. What’s that like? It’s the voice of a good mother or a good friend saying, “You are doing the best you can.” “It will be OK.” “Easy does it.” Just notice that you, as an equal to anyone else in the world with problems, need a gentle place to be. This alone may be enough to free up some inner softness and kindness.

And as always, as a wise one once said to me, let every problem be your path. Kindly, Sarah

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