Five Choices

Five Choices

These days there is so much change happening, we can get distracted, overwhelmed and stressed.

It is really important during these times to be aware of factors that help us navigate through these times and reduce our negative stress.

Whether you know it or not we are all creating “meaning” right now in every moment. We are creating meaning good or bad through patterns or habits in what we think and what we do.

There are five specific choices that we can be aware of and control that can help us to create the most productive meaning in any situation:

1) When something happens we first can choose what we will focus in on. I always say, “What you perceive you will receive. What you look for you generally find.” Control your focus and you can control your state.

If you look only at the problem you will find it difficult to find the solution. I practice the 20:80 Rule: 20% of my attention on the problem and 80% on the solution.

2) We then are able to decide what questions we use to understand the situation. The worst question to ask yourself in a challenging situation is “Why?” Especially, “Why me? Or Why does this always happen to me? Why can’t I ever get a break?”

I prefer the “How” and “What” questions. What can I learn from this situation so it doesn’t happen again? What can I learn from this situation that will help me to feel stronger? How can I do what I have to do with the least amount of stress? The kind of questions we ask ourselves about any situation can make a huge difference in our ability to cope and move forward. Change your questions and change your life. What am I already doing that lets me know I am coping with this situation?

3) The 3rd factor is what we decide to do; what action we decide to take. The worst thing you can do in the face of adversity is to do nothing or retreat. It’s always important in these situations to DO SOMETHING!! Usually if you have focused on the right things and asked the right questions your action will be appropriately reflective of the process. ie. What action can I take right now that will make one small difference in making this even a little bit better? What am I already hopeful about? What is the opportunity here? What challenges have I overcome in the past that let me know I can do it again? What is it about me that tells me that I can do anything I put my mind to?

4) Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude” – take stock on those things in your life that you are grateful for. We can be incredibly fulfilled by acknowledging even simple gratitude’s such as “Who do I love and who loves me?”

5) Give. Find ways to give something of yourself to help others or someone specifically in need. “What you desire for yourself (ie. peace and comfort), give to another.”
This process has an amazing impact on your spirit which the source and energy for all of us. Giving and compassion for others feeds the spirit so that we feel fulfilled. It is the quickest non-pharmacological way to feel happy – it’s better than Prozac!

Practicing these five simple steps can make a difference in how you cope with change and most importantly regular practice with these tools can help you create more positive meaning in your life NOW.