Life isn’t a box of chocolates- if it were, we’d all be happy. A pretty inaccurate description of life and also a highly misleading one, life isn’t a sweet amalgamation of emotions- it can be quite the opposite.
Whether it’s a string of personal problems you’re going through or a breakdown in your professional relationship at work, life has a funny way of toying with our emotions, but as with anything in life, there are ways to deal with adversity and stress.
In fact, the happiest and most successful people in life often have valuable coping mechanisms that help them deal with the rigours of daily life, so read on as we list 10 of them.
Practising meditation doesn’t need to involve a one-way ticket to Taiwan and a long-term residency in a hillside temple. All you need to do is look up a few meditation videos on YouTube. Better yet, you could inquire about local meditation classes in your area. These are generally great ways to meet people going through similar stresses to yours.
The art of mediation, however, is vital. Training the mind to be clear of thought is one of the hardest mental exercises there is, but once you’ve mastered a few techniques, your problems will resolve themselves more quickly than you once would have imagined.
2. Breathing exercises
Not as complex as meditation but just as valuable a coping resource, a few simple breathing exercises throughout the day can transform your mindset into a palace of tranquillity. The great thing about breathing exercises is how easy they are to incorporate into your day.
For instance, if you’re at work, you could just shut your eyes for a few seconds and inhale before gently releasing the air through your nose. It sounds simplistic, but you’ll feel all your stresses flushed away the more you do it.
How many of us read nowadays? Not many of us. And that’s not to judge. We are merely encouraging you to pick up a book about something you think might help you garner a greater understanding of your life and the problems you often encounter/experience. Just take the global best-seller Eat Pray Love. While many have dismissed it as midlife crisis porn, Gilbert’s spiritual outlook on her crumbling professional and personal life resonated with millions of others and encouraged them to take a different path in life.
Other books which are great for these matters include The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and Jordan J. Peterson's 12 Rules For Life.
4. Talking to close friends and relatives
We all need someone to talk to when we are feeling down. It's a natural human impulse to want to feel wanted and appreciated and most of all; loved. However, many of you might live abroad with not many friends, or even have very little company in your hometown, which is why reaching out and having a shoulder to lean on can be vital in helping you overcome a tough period in your life.
So if you find yourself unable to talk to someone, you should bite the bullet and open up- regardless of how well you know someone- otherwise, your stresses and negative emotions will consume you and overtake elements of your life.
5. Make a list of what you’re grateful for
This point is cliched. We won't deny that. After all, while you can be thankful for having shelter, internet, heating and food, that still doesn't mean your heartbreak is going to hurt any less. Or your redundancy at work will magically be reversed. However, by incorporating a more rounded view of the world in your day to day existence, you'll find adversity less daunting and overpowering.
You could even look in the mirror every morning and say aloud one thing that you feel grateful for. It could be comical, such as a working pair of eyes or a clean bathroom. Whatever it is, make sure you appreciate it, as most people in life aren't as lucky and fortunate as you.
While vanity is very much a topic that seems to dominate headlines for mostly the wrong reasons, taking pride in your appearance isn't a bad thing, and when you feel like the world is caving in on you, there's sometimes nothing better in life than going to the gym and jumping on a treadmill.
Exercise, whether it be pumping iron or cardiovascular activity, also promotes endorphins in our brain, which naturally make us feel better. The gym is a great stress reliever and a communal place that isn't home to only knuckleheads and ex-Bachelor contestants.
7. Go to the movies
Sometimes in life, all we need is a good old bit of escapism to make our worries go away (at least temporarily), and the movies have been helping us do this for years. So next time your boss shouts at you for messing up, or you feel like your relationship with your partner is going south, head to your nearest cinema, and watch a feel-good picture.
Even if you have no one to go with, taking yourself off to the cinema and being by yourself and can be a great way to take a breather from life and relax from the daily grind.
8. Work on a passion project
Passion projects are what makes us get in the morning. At least, they can help. After all, if you're in a job you hate and you're waking up to do that role and nothing else, not only are you miserable, but you are also letting that job defines you.
So take the reigns and think what it is that would most inspire you to get out of bed in the morning. If that's writing, try and set yourself a goal of writing a novel within a year. Or if you're a painter at heart, get into the habit of devoting at least 1 hour after work to a particular piece. All it takes is motivation. Once you start, you won't be able to stop.
9. Get more sleep
Sleep is the cornerstone of a healthy mind. Without it, we become grumpy and irrational. Insomnia is thought to affect 1 in 3 Americans and can gradually ruin your life if you don't get the appropriate help. While sleeping pills are typically the last resort, even they can help put your life back into a healthy routine.
After all, the human condition thrives off routine, and if you find yourself awake until the early hours and then half dead at work, your life is pretty much being dictated by your lack of sleep. In other words, aim to see the world with open eyes, rather than with ones half-closed.
10. Say no
If you let others determine your plans and don't speak your mind, you'll find yourself spending your whole 20s and 30s in bars and clubs with little to show for it other than a succession of severe migraines and glazed eyes as you were too polite to reject the invite.
However, those who realise the importance of their future and general health aren't afraid to miss out on the odd party. Sure, working hard and playing hard is an important mantra, but you'll find that the more time you devote to yourself, the higher your self-satisfaction levels will be. So say no, and don't feel guilty for saying it!