No-one escapes tough days in life, it’s part of the experience. There are hundreds if not thousands of reasons for these challenging days, but there is a common set of events that unite them. We are all built the same way, but it’s not so much the painful or disappointing situations that crop up in our daily lives that give us so much grief, more so, it’s the way we deal with them.
This common event is the body/mind reaction. It’s the way your mind, emotions and body reacts to the difficulty which arises. We can’t end suffering but we can find a way to be with the difficulty without adding to it.
Dwelling, giving in, denial, feeling sorry for the self, guilt, criticism and victim-hood are all approaches which prolong the pain. Whereas acceptance and appropriate action can bring about more peace whilst you deal with sadness, pain and other feelings, which we tend not to like spending much time with.
As a society, we have an aversion to “negative” feelings, but in fact, we can chose to stop seeing these emotions as a threat, and instead, acknowledge them more of a part of life. Trying to avoid unhappiness will only make it more painful when you experience it. It also sets up an in-authenticity and a shallow need for the constant good. Which we all would prefer, I’m sure, but if you realise that life is ultimately about growing, then you can’t grow if you only experience one side of life. What goes up, must come down, at some point!
My hard days are mostly concerned with bodily difficulties and limitations. Even though I should be used to certain unpleasant things that occur in my body for the last five years, I’m not! It doesn’t matter how many times something happens, if it causes pain and suffering it will bring about the feelings of fear and potentially sadness. My job is to be with it when I have a pants day, rather than escape it or panic, like I used to. This helps me to sit in the moment and truly see what I need to do to help myself. It takes practice, not to let my mind take over and become consumed with worry or streams of negative, unhelpful thoughts. Essentially, when our mind does this, it only makes things worse. Also we miss out on the good parts of the day, because the mind can be very quick to make a blanket, black and white judgement. In reality, life is many shades.
In all our difficulties, there is opportunity to find the loving, supportive voice. We have to locate the logical place of detachment and yet still accept the emotions which come. This will offer you a gift. This gift is deeper presence, and greater connection to the core of you and others.
So whatever your particular struggles are, no matter how small or big, you have the opportunity to control your mind, and respect the feelings which move through you, without getting consumed and letting them drag you into unconsciousness. Sit in the boat, and when the waves are coming, let them wash through, until you find yourself in calmer waters again.
I’m sorry for your suffering, and I wish you great love.
Here is a list of things I use in my hard day, or even hard moment, tool-kit. Maybe they will inspire you when you are having a rubbishy time:
Cry if you need
Put on some music to match your mood
Take a walk or sit in your garden, somehow be with nature’s pace
Call someone close and tell them about your tough day / time
Treat yourself to food that feels good
Be mindful of ruminating, negative perseptions, streams of worries
Write down your scared / angry thoughts and bring them into reality
Make an action plan to deal with the things that you don’t like
Accept that it’s a tough time and that it will pass at somepoint
Cuddle a pet, pillow or person you love
Do some light exercise or body movement / stretches
Think about all the other things in your life that are good and going well
Meditate or use a visualisation CD
If you are tired, fed-up, angry, then give yourself rest or a punching bag
Watch some crap on TV
Meditate on death. This helps put things in perspective now.
Try not to focus on other people over yourself, tend to your needs
If you are dealing with grief, get connected to other people going through the same thing
Let the experience deepen you, don’t be afraid of the places it takes you
Keep a toe in reality, I.e do some simple house chores, do one or two things that make you feel accomplished
Ask for the qualities of peace and joy to come and join your sorrow, even in the most difficult or traumatic of times they still exist, so call them up to join in with the pain
Get grounded and focus on breathing
Have a tea and hot water bottle
Get connected to your inner child and reassure him / her
Talk to yourself
Remember that you are not alone in the universe and grand scheme of things!
If you have any other ideas for a tough time tool kit, write them in a comment, I’d love to hear them.