Question: How do you always keep your head "above water" when things get overwhelming?
One of my good friends asked me this recently and it made me think (which y'all know I don't like to do). After talking through some of my made-up-on-the-spot answers, I thought this might be an interesting topic to write about. Here are some of the things I think are most important to remember when faced with a difficult situation in life:
1) No one is "above water" 100% of the time.
The first step here is always recognition. Even I have days where I'm just going through it and that's okay, everyone does. Whether it's a breakup or maybe you dropped your Shake Shack burger on the ground (not sure which is worse), it's important to recognize that and consider why you feel the way you do. Otherwise, things will never improve. Don't ignore yourself.
2) Consider the bigger picture.
This is one that helps me out a lot being a detail-oriented ESTJ. When life throws a minor inconvenience into the mix and my details get sauced, I tend to obsess over the problem and close myself off to potential solutions. It's easy to think about how bad things are in that current moment, but take a step back and think: Is this something that will drastically change my path in life? Is this something that will matter 5 years from now, or even in a week? Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but by taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, you are able to gauge for yourself whether or not the situation is worth being upset over and maybe become aware of some solutions. For instance, if I drop my burger, I'm probably a tornado of anger in that current moment. But if I stop and think about the situation holistically, I'll remember I have six pounds of beef in the freezer ready to go when I am. Life ain't so bad after all.
3) Verbalize your thoughts and listen to yourself.
Our minds move too fast and things can get cloudy quickly, especially when we're upset over something. By talking things out with someone you trust, or even just out loud to yourself, you are forcing yourself to take your time, organize your thoughts, and put them into cohesive statements that make sense. Don't just talk for the sake of talking either. Ensure you are really listening to and comprehending your explanations of your thoughts. This practice will help you understand exactly how you feel and put you in a better position to navigate those feelings and discover answers to unanswered questions.
4) Talk to someone who thinks differently than you.
The ideal follow-up to number three is being able to discuss things with someone who thinks differently than you do. For example, my former roommate is an ENFP, which means we are complete opposites when it comes to how we perceive and interpret information. Whenever we have a conversation, he asks me questions about things I would never have thought of and vice versa. When you talk to someone who thinks the same way you do, chances are their input will just reinforce the things you're saying and thinking rather than offering an alternative viewpoint (and some otherwise unforeseeable solutions). Discourse is important in all aspects of life, but it can play a huge role in how well you are able to understand yourself and some of the situations you might find yourself in. My old roommate and I used to solve all our problems with a quick discussion, what a guy.
5) I am not qualified to address deeper, potentially-ongoing issues in your life, nor are your friends.
What I mean by this is that if you believe your mood or your feelings about something require professional attention, you should find it. Friends (and me, I'm your friend) are a great resource for your everyday advice and support, but chances are none of them are qualified to help with things that might require more than that. There's nothing wrong with seeking help from a professional who has experience with these things and can at least point you in the right direction and help you get to where you want to be. Don't use Pinterest or mattkopyt.com (dumb website anyway) as a be-all-end-all solution to life's complexities.
I hope this was enlightening in some way. I would love to continue this trend where I make up answers to all your questions so please feel free to connect with me and I'll get back to you in a post as soon as possible. As always, thanks for reading!