7 Practices to Help Yourself in Challenging Times
These are bizarre times we’re experiencing. I can’t think of another time when we’ve gone through something as disruptive as this.
And, yet, we still have to make it through. Day-to-day, finding ways to make it through today, and doing it all over again tomorrow. And it’s been really challenging some days.
All of us. Just. Keep. Going.
We’re living life differently. Right this minute, I wish I could see my family and kids in person, so I can touch them, hug them, and be in their presence. We have four kids in another state, so we’re limited to video chats, text messages, and calls. Ron and I are just kind of hunkered down here at home now in Reno, and it’s challenging.
And I feel very grateful that I really like him so that I can enjoy his company — we’re in this together!
Wherever you are, and however you’re feeling, I wish you some semblance of peace in your day.
I wrote this article for you in April 2020, and if you’re reading this later, these simple practices will still be tremendously helpful during any challenging time. (You might want to save this article for later if you haven’t already).
Today, we’re talking about what you can do in this moment — in any moment, using neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to create shifts in our lives.
This is all going to be a big exercise in focus for you. The only thing we can control right now is how we feel about things. Instead of putting our heads in the sand, we’re acknowledging what’s going on, and are staying present to the experience. We don’t need to get sucked into the negativity, but we can find silver linings throughout in our moment-to-moment experience.
Here are 7 things you can do to shift your focus during any challenging time, especially now:
1. Acknowledge and interrupt negative thoughts and feelings.
First, honor and acknowledge what’s going on and then interrupt it by throwing a wrench in what we’re doing that’s not helping us. In NLP, pattern interrupts are a critical piece of change work because when you think of the things we’re constantly seeing, hearing, and experiencing in the way of emotions — the brain is wired to get us results that match.A pattern interrupt is important to do at the very beginning of the pattern. And a pattern simply means a strategy you’re running — you’re doing that thing you do. It’s inside the neurology, meaning you have a neural network that’s supporting you in doing this. You have neurons that are wiring and firing when this happens.
Let’s say in this moment, you’re experiencing some fear, and you want to feel safe. You’ll acknowledge it, then ask your unconscious mind, “Hey, unconscious mind, I don’t want to feel this fear. Help me identify what I want to feel instead.” You’ll get the impulse immediately, and it will be something like safety, security, certainty, hope, joy, love.
And then you start focusing and say, “So I want to feel safe. So if I want to feel safe, what would feeling safe allow me to do?” And then keep going down the feel-good rabbit hole until you come out on the other side with a smile on your face.
2. Practice gratitude.
There’s always something to be thankful for. Good health, access to food, or you’re with a loved one — whatever it is, write it down. Write down a list of the things you appreciate about the people in your life right now, you’d feel the love all over again. Even if you appreciate the things you have right now — a roof over your head, clothes on your back, and warm sunshine.
3. Practice compassion.
Do this for everyone in your life — people on social media, or TV, and especially for yourself. Others may be saying or doing things that could create negative internal representations in you, where might not enjoy hearing from them. They’re saying things that put you off, and you’re probably saying things that are putting them off.
In this moment, practice compassion and know that everybody is doing the best that they can with the resources and knowledge they have. And that includes you — you’re doing the best that you can.
4. Avoid toxic people and conversation.
This is an exercise in mass focus. You’re going to see people running the gamut between those who feel confident and know they’re going to be fine, those who just want to go back to work, and those who are living in fear — each expressing their points in really negative, unresourceful ways. The more you engage in any of these conversations, you do yourself a disservice because your unconscious mind takes everything personally, and basically thinks you’re talking about you.
5. Focus on self-care.
For your physical and emotional health and well-being. Give yourself some grace, meditate, move, unplug, and indulge in something that feels really good to you. It may mean more sleep, eating differently, or drinking more water. Maybe you’ll switch your phone off in the evening, unplug from social media and enjoy a book.
Whatever it is, please give it to yourself because right now more than ever, we’re sending clear messages to our unconscious minds that are outside of our control.
6. Remember, this isn’t defining you.
This is something that’s happening and that we have to endure. This is not something that’s defining who or what we are. Right this minute, experiencing whatever hardship you’re enduring, your goal is to remind yourself continually that what’s happening isn’t you. What’s happening is what’s happening, that’s all.
7. Be relentless about your focus.
Even if your big goal feels irrelevant right now, trust that by focusing on what you want (and not on what you don’t want), you’ll be able to focus on the feeling you’ll have when you’ve reached your goal. Focus work, in the beginning, is a conscious effort while you’re learning, and you have to repeat that focus work over and over again. You have to constantly remind yourself, “Oh, there I go again. I’m focusing on what I don’t want. What do I want instead?” And then, you focus on that. Focus on the essence and the quality that you want to bring into your life experience.
During any challenging time in your life, maybe what you do isn’t going to change your environment — and maybe it will. What will change — is how you feel about things. Learning to focus will help you get through a difficult time in a way that’s going to serve you much better than if you do nothing and go with the flow.
Going with the flow right now is the least resourceful thing that we can do.
Taking action right now is the most resourceful thing we can do.
Go deeper into each of these 7 practices in episode #59 of The Mind Revolution Podcast: 7 Practices to Help Yourself in Challenging Times.
What practice will you lean into this week? Tell us inside our private community here.
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I'm Brenda Terry. I'm a personal development trainer and master coach who works with go-getters like you who want to achieve big results in your business and personal life.
If you're excited and ready to play bigger in business and kill it in life, I help you identify and change beliefs, patterns, and behaviors that aren't supporting your goals so you can make more money, find more joy, better manage relationships, and communicate more effectively.
I'm here to help you make the powerful, effective shifts you're craving- faster than you ever thought possible.