Life provides us with challenges. Sometimes we suffer circumstances that leave us in a bad space. We may have lost a loved one, come to the end of a relationship, lost a job or had a major change.
The only truth is that you cannot control what happens to you, only what you do about it.
Every day we can be exposed to bad experiences. Every day we can suffer minor or major set-backs and traumas. The key to getting beyond these circumstances is to be aware that you can, and apply these five quick lessons from positive psychology to help you get back to your best.
When I am coaching executives, I see that this group are often suffering and stuck, and searching for a path ‘back’ to feeling good and high performance. Here are 5 steps that they can take on this path:
Step 1: Purpose.
Having a purpose or a bigger goal allows you to look forward. Take a breath and decide that regardless of what happened, there are still things to do, goals to achieve, things that you want beyond the setback. The situation may have created the need for new goals, or a new purpose that you can now focus on.
Start by reminding yourself of these goals, of your bigger purpose, and ask yourself “What is the first thing that I need to do to achieve this” and do it. Before you know it, you have moved beyond the issue and back into moving ahead.
Path 2: Reality.
Sometimes it’s so easy to focus on our problems that we can become separated from what else is going on in our lives. There is our problem, and then there is the rest of reality which probably contains lots of great things hidden in everyday life. Looking at reality allows the situation to be put into perspective with everything else.
Path 3: Optimism.
We can focus on the past. We can focus on the future. Optimism is allowing ourselves to see the possibilities for better things in the future. What is important is that a positive outlook and an optimistic view will allow you to ‘see’ the positive things in their lives.
Having a pessimistic outlook encourages people to focus on the negative aspects of experience. Looking for the positive and having an optimistic outlook moves you away from the problem and towards finding the good things that exist in every day life.
Path 4: Social connections.
Often we believe when we are in a problem that we are alone, or that we have to tackle it alone. Connecting to others socially is a powerful thing – so much so that social isolation has the same effect on people’s long term health as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Connecting to people makes you feel cared about, it encourages you to care and can put the situation that happened into a perspective that you couldn’t see.
Path 5: Exercise.
Exercise is a powerful tool that not only improves the body, it improves the mind. 10 minutes of exercise 3 times a week is enough to start impacting anxiety. 3 exercise sessions of 30 minutes starts to impact on depression. Regardless of your level of fitness, increasing your exercise has a positive impact – and gets you moving. It helps you bust stress and have an outlet for your stress and energy.
So if you are feeling that you are suffering from a stressful or upsetting situation, ask yourself these questions:
What do I want to achieve, and what are the first steps I need to get there?
If I looked at my life from outside, how would I see what is going on for me? Compared to others in a variety of situations, what is my reality? What are the good things that I am not seeing about my life?
If I looked at the future through a positive lens, what would I focus on?
Who could I connect with that I haven’t connected to for a while? Can I list three people I can contact this week that I want to reconnect to?
How can I add exercise into my day?
As executives and leaders, as well as in routine life, we are exposed to things every day which can encourage us to generate stress, feel traumatised or make us feel upset. We can move on from these to a happier, healthier life. Use the 5 steps to happiness as a bridge to get you out of your problem and back to moving forward to a better life.
How have you used any of these frames to recover from a bad spot?
Do you have a process that you use to help you get back to the top of your game?
Please add your comments and thoughts below.