5 Ways To Keep Your Head On Straight — Even During The Toughest Times Of Your Life

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There are a lot of times that life will just hit you like a ton of bricks. Maybe your kid just broke their arm and you don’t have the money to pay for a surgery. Or maybe that promotion you thought was a lock actually went to someone else.

Sometimes the worst things happen and we’re simply just ill-prepared to face them.

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Of course there are the sayings “life is hard,” or “life isn’t fair.” Although those are true, in moments like these, that’s the last thing you want to hear. You already know that. You’re experiencing it right now. You don’t need someone else to tell you what’s obvious.

The problem is making it through the tough times. So often when a major problem in our lives arises, we just go into panic mode. We worry and worry and just sort of hope things work out somehow. But the longer you sit and do nothing, the worse your anxiety and stress gets. You start going into a mental tailspin, down and down until you’ve just completely lost yourself and are so confused on what to do next.

I’ll admit I’ve had a rough go of things in my life plenty of times. It’s always easy for me to just freak out and think nothing will make the situation better. But, that’s a bad way to think. The only thing that line of logic is going to do for you is make you sick to your stomach with worry.

So, along the way I’ve come up with a few tips and tricks that have helped me get through the rough patches. Maybe they’ll work for you, or maybe through these you’ll find your own methods. Either way, it’s time to stop that head of yours from spinning and get it back on straight.

1. Breathe.

Obvious, right? But seriously, you’d be amazed at how often everyone forgets to do this. I’m not talking about literal breathing here. It’s more of a mental breath. Stop, put everything on your mind out of it for a second and just breathe. Maybe even take an actual deep breath as you do this. And then, after you do, tell yourself it’ll be okay.

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2. Don’t overthink it.

A lot of times when we’re faced with a problem we don’t know how to solve, our minds go into overdrive and we go way beyond what the actual solution is. There’s the saying “often the best solution is the simplest.” So if you have to over-simplify that problem in your head so you can figure it out, do that! It’s better than letting your brain run rampant.

3. Talk to someone about it.

You know, sometimes this thing called pride can really get in our way. We’d rather fix our own problems on our own than talk to someone else about it, but that shouldn’t be the case. So much weight can be lifted off your shoulders if you just tell someone what’s on your mind. Whether that be your best friend or a parent or the stranger you see every morning on the subway, it makes a difference. And who knows, maybe they’ll come up with something you didn’t think of.

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4. Have fun.

I know this sounds counter-intuitive. You shouldn’t be out messing around, you should be focusing on the issue, right? The thing is, there’s such a thing as over-focusing. You get so zoned into your problem that you can’t even think clearly about it anymore. Going out with friends, watching a movie, whatever you find entertaining, go and do that for a bit. It’ll help clear your mind so you can come back to the issue with a fresh perspective.

5. Go crazy (temporarily).

Alright, so if none of those work for you, this might. For a brief (and I highly emphasize brief) time, allow yourself to just go nuts. Scream, cry, put your head in the sand like an ostrich. Anything that works for you. After you’ve done that, you’re probably going to feel a little stupid and embarrassed. But, you’ll also find that suddenly things don’t seem as dire as you thought. A build-up of emotions can often be your biggest roadblock. So let loose, but in moderation.

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Jesse Oakley is a writer who writes about love, relationships and self-care.