Each week, and sometimes each day, we face disappointments. Some of them are smaller, like your coffee shop running out of your favorite blend, but others are much larger. They affect our families, our finances, our health, and our confidence.
Here is a handful of strategies that I've used to more effectively deal with disappointment. May they help you do the same.
When we get disappointing news, we tense up. The shoulders constrict, the face crunches, and our entire body becomes tighter. This physical response should serve as a reminder to breathe. Those of us who do yoga or meditate know just how vital and powerful the breath can be. Use it. Make a point in this moment to slow down and take five deep breaths from the belly. You'll notice an instant flow of oxygen fill your entire body, helping center you so you can find calm.
2. Get into nature.
When I receive bad news, I always try to fit in some outdoor exercise. I live in the mountains, so trail runs and mountain hikes have become like a therapy for me. As soon as I reach the peak, I begin to calm down, noticing the sun and its warmth on my body. If I'm lucky, I stumbled upon animals along the way, and take time to watch them live completely in their element. Doing so reminds me that these critters have it harder than me, stumbling up the steep rocks, trying to find food, dealing with predators and cold nights. I walk away knowing that, even in my problems, I have it easy. Nature is a wise teacher, and connecting to the earth is a great way to calm down and gain some perspective.
3. Talk to a great friend.
Maybe you have a handful of great friends who always have your back, or maybe just one, but that is enough. When you're dealing with frustrations, talking to a friend can serve as an incredible soundboard. Whether you meet your friend in person or just get them on the phone, expressing your feelings to another person will give you a renewed sense of clarity. Often, my best friend doesn't really even say much—he just lets me talk so I can stumble upon my own solution. Be grateful for these types of friends and be sure that you return the favor when they face similar hardships.
4. Take a nap.
Sometimes our frustrations are amplified simply because we are so tired. Our minds don't fire on all cylinders when they are exhausted, so give yourself the love you need and take a nap. A nap is not a sign of laziness—it is a healthy practice that helps up reach our highest potential. Even one as short as 20 minutes can boost your mental clarity and help your body regenerate and get back to a grounded state of strength.
5. Let go.
This is the toughest one: trusting in the Universe and knowing that disappointments often pave the way for successes. Do you believe that there is a reason for everything? Surrender to the Universe and say, "I don't know why this is happening right now, but I trust there is something I need to learn from it and that better things are on the way." As difficult as this is to remember in the moment, train your brain to hold on to the perspective that the sun always comes back out after a storm. That winter is always followed by spring. That better times will follow.
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