How to Deal with Everyday Challenges GracefullyBy Homaira Kabir
There are countless daily challenges in life that drain us of energy and make us react in ways that we dislike or regret. Being caught in traffic can make us go into a rage, receiving a snide comment or being unappreciated can make us ruminate and sulk endlessly, and receiving negative feedback can sometimes throw us into a downward spiral of catastrophizing.
At the deepest level, unknown to us, we're acting out of subconscious fears that are a part of our genetic baggage. And although these fears served us well in the open savannahs where the possibility of being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger was very real, they prevent us from showing up fully in the world today. This is because most of our fears are psychological, based around a sense of self that is largely a construct of our own minds. Yet, the mental maps we build to make sense of our world include other people. No wonder then that rejection, unacceptance and disapproval lie at the core of our fears—they literally shake our self-concept.
We react to these threats by creating walls around our ego that protect and defend ourselves. However, this only alienates us further and creates an unfortunate vicious cycle. What if, instead, we were able to reach out to others and increase our engagement with the world? We'd be able to overcome daily challenges by strengthening our mind-maps, not tearing them down.
There is no doubt that when we're in the throes of negativity, this is no easy feat. Negative emotions hijack our mental capacities and drain us of energy. Ironically enough, even the willpower we use to refrain from behaving in ways that may lead to guilt and remorse, can leave us exhausted.
The good news is that positive psychology has provided us with scientifically proven ways to intervene effectively and rise to the occasion with grace, increasing our connection with ourselves, others and the world, and fuelling our lives with the energy to live fully and happily. Here are 5 strategies to try right now.
When angry or upset, our hearts race, our blood pumps fast and our breath becomes quick and shallow. To calm this fight-or-flight response, we need to connect to our breath and stabilize it by breathing slowly and deeply. In his fascinating new book, The Self Comes To Mind neuroscientist Antonio Damasio talks of the inner world as the lens through which we see the outer world. When our own inner world is in tu