In the wake of recent domestic and global events and the current economic downturn, more people than ever are reexamining their priorities.
With more people coping with stress from job loss, we are experiencing a massive wake-up call. More and more people have been heard saying, “Suddenly I have a new perspective on what really matters.”
Whenever life throws us off course, it presents an opportunity to pause, reassess and reflect on what we truly want to create. Then we can move forward feeling more on course and avoiding that uneasy feeling that we are just going through the motions with no feelings of accomplishment or satisfaction.
One’s perspective about what’s happening is critical. With a job loss, troubled relationship or unplanned life change, one voice within us whines, “Why is this happening to me?” while another voice may ask, “What’s the lesson in this for me?” or “How do I use this experience to help me grow, and how might I take advantage of this chance for a fresh start?” While it is important to be realistic about the negative aspects of life transitions and to acknowledge feelings of sadness, anger, frustration and fear, your next move is a crucial choice. Do you want to remain stuck in pain and stress, or are you ready to focus your energy forward, looking at what’s possible?
Making life changes can be scary and may leave you feeling overwhelmed. Follow the steps below to get started. It is dangerous to oversimplify the complex nature of any life transition, so tailor these suggestions to your own unique situation.
Acknowledge your feelings: Let yourself feel what you feel, and find a way to release some of the emotion. Physical activity, writing down your thoughts or talking with others can help let this energy out and prevent the distraction of negative thoughts and self-defeating behaviours.
- Reflect and refocus: Take stock of what you still have, and express gratitude, such as, “I still have my ability to think, my special talents and my aspirations. I’m grateful for relationships and for my family.” Take a walk, a bike ride or a longer hot shower than usual, and ask yourself some powerful questions, such as: “How do I want to feel three months from now? What will it take to get there? What does my ideal week look like? What could I do to realize that? Who could help with that?”
- Choose: Entertain the notion that everything is a choice. Decide what you want to choose as the next chapter of your life. Simply choosing doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it, however. The power of your intentions makes a huge difference. Feeling like you have a choice is certainly better than feeling like you have no influence, so why not adopt this philosophy? Choosing what matters most and what you’ll honour as authentic priorities is absolutely up to you. It is about being resilient and truly empowered to choose your life’s course rather than being a victim of circumstance and replaying old thought patterns.
- Get into action: Start by visualizing how you want to feel or where you want to be, perhaps three months from now. Work backwards from this goal until you find something small enough that you can do the next day or the next week. Picking first steps and finding the right people for encouragement and support will help you realize your goal.
Mental Health – Public Health Agency of Canada: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/mh-sm/index-eng.php
Canadian Mental Health Association: http://www.cmha.ca/
Canadian Psychological Association: http://www.cpa.ca/
Contributed by Marian Baker, CPCC, PCC.
© Marian Baker
©2014 ComPsych ® Corporation. All rights reserved. This information is for educational purposes only. It is always important to consult with the appropriate professional on financial, medical, legal, behavioural or other issues. As you read this information, it is your responsibility to make sure that the facts and ideas apply to your situation.