How you experience the ride is entirely up to you. Your perspective and attitude will determine whether it’s an exhilarating or miserable experience.
The same can be said for life.
We can’t control the ups and downs or twists and turns of the track, but we can choose what to think and how we feel about each part of the ride. We can scream, bury our heads, close our eyes, and hate the experience. Or we can put a big smile on our faces and yell out joy at the thrill of the ride.
It’s not always easy to remember that you do have a choice, especially when you’re on a steep descent. However, you can use the power of your thoughts to help you stop screaming in fear of a worst-case scenario and start thinking of the infinite positive possibilities that lie ahead.
I hope the following ideas will help you do that.
1. Understand that it will pass.
At some point in their life, most people go through circumstances that they feel will never change. There is an old saying that says, “Winter doesn’t last forever, even if you don’t do very much.” In other words, no matter how scary, painful, or unbearable something may seem, it will eventually pass.
That’s true for everything—whether it’s something that makes you feel good, bad, happy, or sad. Reminding yourself that time goes on is often helpful if you are facing an adverse situation.
By law, eventually, something will happen to turn the tide. Even if you can do nothing directly to change things, you can always change your mind—your attitude and perception of what is happening until the situation changes.
2. Seek to understand.
Life is not personal, yet most people take it that way. Rather than thinking life is happening to you, understand that life is just happening.
Even though you can’t control everything in life, you can control how you experience it learning to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The truth is growth requires you to be uncomfortable.
And instead of trying to suppress your feelings or avoid what’s in front of you, try to look at it objectively instead of from an emotional standpoint—keeping in mind that it’s not personal. This will allow you to get your mind and emotions back to a better place. It will also give you a chance to consciously choose the attitude you will embrace so you can respond rather than merely react.
3. Develop your mind.
To ensure you are shaping your viewpoints rather than allowing negative thoughts to shape them for you, you must actively strengthen your mind to make it easier to maintain a positive attitude in life.
Anything you can do to help you think from the inside out rather than the way we’ve been programmed to think will help you immensely when faced with stressful situations.
Aim for giving yourself at least one hour a day to expand your mind and connect with your spirit. You can accomplish this in many ways, such as reading inspirational books or articles, visualizing, meditating, or doing yoga.
4. Think about solutions.
You’ve likely heard the saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease (or the oil). That is true because energy flows where attention goes.
The problem is undesirable circumstances rarely sit quietly in the back of our mind. Instead, they typically demand our attention, so our energy flows to something we don’t want. But dwelling on a problem only makes it worse and talking about it makes it appear bigger and scarier in our mind’s eye.
If you have a problem or challenge, focus on and brainstorm potential solutions instead of the problem itself. Think of, write down, and talk about solutions and how you can implement or achieve them. Always, always, always focus on what you want.
5. Focus on your goals.
When life throws you a curveball, it is easy to lose sight—at least temporarily—of your goals.
If you find yourself discouraged or distracted by current circumstances, get still, take a couple of deep breaths, and reconnect to your most inspiring goal. That’s what race car drivers must do, regardless of what is happening on the track with their competitors. They can’t take their eyes off the road.
You can take the same approach in life. If you find yourself in a pessimistic frame of mind, close your eyes, picture your goal, look forward, and refuse to let that image slip away.
Having something to focus on helps with your mental health and gives you something to pull you forward with joyful expectation.
6. Count your blessings.
Spending time dwelling on your problems accomplishes one thing: it creates more problems. The same is true for spending time thinking about the things you have in your life to be grateful for. When you do that, you get more things to be thankful for.
And if you take the time to feel the appreciation you have for the people and things you’ve been blessed with—rather than just writing them down, it will create a sense of peace inside, and your mind will shift to a calmer state.
It will be easier and more beneficial to deal with, work on, or solve the negative issues in your life from this state.
7. Practice self-love.
Allow yourself to go through whatever you are going through without blame, guilt, or regrets.
To be human is to fall and make mistakes and to get hurt and even hurt others along the way. And even though you might feel tempted to judge and condemn yourself for not being the perfect being you think you should be, it is best to treat yourself with gentleness, love, and compassion.
Developing self-love takes time, but you feel less stressed when going through difficult events or situations when you love yourself. You’ll also embrace your hardships, become a more optimistic thinker, and you’ll be willing to get creative and try new things.
Embrace your ride
When some people are afraid or feel pressure or stress, they hold on so tight that they are miserable the entire time.
That’s no way to live.
When you remind yourself that sharp curves, ups and downs, and sudden changes in direction are a part of life and your current emotional state is just a temporary part of the journey, you won’t resist the challenging part of the ride. And if you study and love yourself, you may even lean into the discomfort, knowing that it will pass.
So then, how should you ride the roller coaster of life?
Scream, laugh, smile, cry… feel all the emotions the ups and downs and twists and turns bring. And put your hands in the air and use the strategies above to help you enjoy the ride knowing that you are and will always be greater than your environment and the circumstances of your life.
To more and better,