Crisis Recovery - 8 Things I Do to De-Stress And Make The Most Out of a Crisis
We cannot always control the events that happen to us in life, but we can always control how we react to those events. It’s important to realize that we can and should prepare ourselves for the events that will shake us. Of course we cannot foresee the exact circumstances, or their magnitude, but if we train our minds we will be prepared mentally for the event or situation when it comes.
Seneca said that “misfortune has a way of choosing some unprecedented means or other of impressing its power upon those who might be said to have forgotten it.” Never forget that misfortune is always around the corner.
In this writing I would like to offer some strategies that I employ every time I am faced with a crisis or struggle. These actions all contribute to my ability to make the most out of any crisis, and if you’ll try them I know that you will be better prepared mentally for the next life trial that you face.
Strategy One: Consider that things may have been worse.
It is always helpful to understand that no matter what happens, things could have been much worse. I am always comforted when I employ a healthy perspective about the situation. If you will develop your perspective and realize that your problems are probably not as bad as you may think then your burden will immediately be lightened. To read more about the usefulness of a healthy perspective you can go to my other blog post entitled The Power of Perspective.
Strategy Two: Write a list of possible opportunities or benefits.
Napoleon Hill wrote that “every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.” When I am faced with a crisis it is very helpful to take a few moments to contemplate the possible benefits or opportunities in the situation. No circumstance is so dire that it possesses no upsides or opportunities. Take a pen and paper and think clearly about the situation; if you have the right attitude and there is an upside then you will find it.
I was once preparing to leave a cruise gig with my band, and I had expected that I would only have a month back home before moving to another ship. When I received the offer for the next contract I was surprised to find out that the next gig left me with over five months at home! With nothing planned and no way of making money back home yet I began to stress out. The most helpful thing that I did was to write down all of the things that I could achieve in my time back home. I wrote down everything from skills I wished to develop to ideas for businesses I could start. This gave me a sense of surety and I knew that the months would not be wasted. As a result, I had the best few months of my life, and I made more money than I had ever made before!
Strategy Three: Take massive action.
Nothing kills fear or diminishes a crisis as much as massive action. If there is something that you could do to make your circumstance better then you should do it. Action is the engine of growth and progression. Nothing is too burdensome for the man who will devote his energy towards massive action in light of a crisis.
Even if there’s nothing you can do for yourself, why not help others? The greatest thing that a community can do in the midst of a disaster is to come together and help each other. This is the best way to get your mind off your own losses; by helping other people recover from theirs.
For more reading on the power of action you can read my post entitled Action - The Great Engine of Growth.
Strategy Four: Write
I have found that often the best way to calm my nerves, kill my fears, and understand the situation better, is to sit down and write. Nothing to my knowledge can better help a person to understand himself than the activity of writing. Often the reason why I write is not to teach but to learn. If you will write down all of your thoughts and emotions on any particular trial or situation then you will be in a much better position to understand the belief systems that you hold and the potentially harmful perspectives you are believing that could be contributing to your pain.
Strategy Five: Take responsibility.
In my post entitled Personal Responsibility - The Great Liberator I outline how taking full responsibility for everything in your life can be one of the most empowering decisions you ever make. Nothing will free you or give you more courage than to admit responsibility for every situation in your life. Even if this current crisis was not your fault, if you take responsibility you will immediately be empowered to fix the issue. There is absolutely nothing helpful about blaming others for your troubles, and so once we have taken responsibility it is within our power to do what is necessary to fix things. The only thing that we can control and change is ourselves, so it is far better for us to accept our role in events in stead of sitting back and pointing at others.
Strategy Six: Solitude and meditation
When I have faced trials or critical decisions in my life I have found that meditation and solitude are completely essential. Contemplative meditation opens your mind and frees the soul so that you can understand everything more clearly. If you are searching for answers I would highly recommend that you find some quiet time; even a simple walk in nature or along a road can be extremely helpful. Any activity on your own that allows you to think clearly will be beneficial for the mind. Solitude and meditation will allow your mind to be emptied so that more can be poured in.
Strategy Seven: Surround yourself with quality people.
In contrast to the previous strategy, if you will surround yourself with encouraging and uplifting people who will help you through the crisis, you will fare much better than those who walk alone. Seneca wrote that “personal converse, though, and daily intimacy with someone will be of more benefit to you than any other discourse.” Find friends and family who will support you and your stress levels will surely drop.
Strategy Eight: Personal development.
The final strategy that I use to remove stress and face trials is to work on myself. Exercise, reading, planning, and learning new skills all help to calm my nerves in the midst of a stressful time. As I have said, the only thing you can control is yourself, so going to work on yourself will give you a feeling of control and purpose amidst chaos. If you can, work on things that will help you be more prepared for the next crisis. Sun-Tzu said “know your enemy, know yourself, and victory is never in doubt, not in a hundred battles.” If you will work on yourself and your own skills then you will not only strengthen your courage throughout the current situation, but you will also be prepared for the next big battle that you have to face.
David J. Schwartz, Ph.D. said “how you think when you lose determines how long it will be until you win.” You should always be prepared with a battle plan for the next crisis or misfortune that comes before you. This battle plan doesn't need to stop what happens, but it must put you in a position to act in an empowering and courageous way when the storms of life come.
These are the strategies that have worked for me, and I hope that you may also benefit from their use. The person who expects and is prepared for calamity will never be surprised or off-guard when misfortune strikes. I challenge you to face life with vigor and strength. Don’t let life find you unprepared or unfit for hard and stressful times. You are stronger than that, and you can face anything that comes your way, if you will use the right tools.