What To Do When Things Aren’t Going Your Way
Sometimes, life happens. Things happen that we don’t want to happen, and sometimes it seems like the hits just won’t stop coming.
I had an experience like this recently when I was having a series of unfortunate events happen one after the other over a few weeks.
When these situations happen (which they do to ALL of us at some point), it can be hard to keep your mindset positive and keep moving forward.
As an MD Psychotherapist + Women’s Mental Health Expert (and the owner of a virtual mental health clinic Eunoia Medical), I talk to women every single day who are struggling to maintain positive amidst uncertainty and disappointment.
I have come up with a variety of different mindset shifts that I focus on when these situations happen, and I want to share them with you today in this post. These mindset shifts can help you get through tough times without making you suffer unnecessarily.
You can also hear what to do when things aren’t going your way by listening to this week’s episode of Mind Over Motherhood. Listen through Apple Podcasts or wherever you stream podcasts!
Are you looking for more support in managing your anxiety?
If you struggle with anxiety and are looking for ways to manage it better, you also might want to pick up my new book You Are Not Your Anxiety: How To Stop Being An Anxious People-Pleasing Mess. It’s my no-bullshit approach to finally getting your anxiety under control and kicking people-pleasing to the curb. You can get your copy by clicking here.
First, Recognize + Honour Your Feelings
When things are not going your way in life, it is important to recognize and honour how you are feeling.
Too often women have a tendency of suppressing their emotions or forcing them away. They will shame themselves or criticize themselves for feeling disappointed or sad about something.
The truth is: if something isn’t going the way you expected it to, or if the hits just keep on coming, it is totally NORMAL and human to feel sad, defeated, angry, disappointed or any version of these emotions.
Emotions provide us with clues, and while they are not comfortable to feel all the time, they are important to acknowledge and feel.
If you’re feeling sad, feel sad. Set aside some time for you to cry about and feel upset about the situation.
If you’re feeling disappointed, recognize that is happening and tell yourself that it is a valid emotion to be feeling in this situation.
Care For Yourself Deeply
When things aren’t going the way you had hoped, it feels like crap.
You are feeling all sorts of uncomfortable emotions and life is hard. What you’re going through is hard enough, you deserve some TLC!
There is no point in treating yourself badly when you’re already going through hard things.
Instead, focus on caring for yourself deeply.
Sometimes I ask my clients to consider if their best friend was in the same situation that they are. If your best friend was going through what you were going through, how would you care for her? What would you tell her? What would you encourage her to do?
You’d likely tell her to take her time, love herself deeply, do things that she loves and treat herself with compassion.
When things aren’t going your way, this is not the time to force things and try to make yourself into something you’re not. It’s the time to accept, surrender and give yourself as much love and care as you can muster.
Consider That Obstacles Are Detours In The Right Direction
Think back to the last time something was really going opposite to what you wanted, but then when you looked back after the fact, it all made sense?
How many times has something gone terribly wrong, but then you realized that it was actually exactly what you needed to be where you are today?
I have had this experience happen to me multiple times. Enough times in fact, I now work really hard at remembering that obstacles are detours in the right direction.
Didn’t get that job you were dreaming of? That sucks. Is it possible it is because there is a better job on the way for you?
Your offer on the house wasn’t accepted? Maybe it’s not the right house for you after all, you just don’t know it yet.
Although it can be hard to remember, sometimes the things that aren’t going our way are because there is a greater plan than we are aware of.
I remind myself that when things are not going my way, it’s most likely that the Universe (or God, etc) has a plan that I’m not in on, and I have to trust that the right things are happening in divine timing.
Focus On The Learning
We learn more from struggles than we do when things are easy and going smoothly.
When things are not going your way, it can be helpful to reflect on what you might be learning from this situation.
Having a fight with your partner? Perhaps it’s teaching you how to communicate more effectively.
Constantly struggling with nagging debt, and just got yet another over due bill? Is it possible you need to learn better money management and this is how you do it?
Focusing on the learning in the situation doesn’t make the situation go away, but it does help you shift your mindset to one of meaning in the situation. If you can see what you might be learning through this experience, it can provide meaning to the experience and hardship you’re going through.
Focus On What You Can Control
Sometimes when things are not going our way, they are completely out of our control.
This is incredibly defeating and frustrating.
In these situations, I encourage you to focus on what you can control.
While you may not be able to control what is happening, you CAN control how you react to it.
You CAN control how you care for yourself through it.
You CAN control how you reduce what is on your plate already.
You CAN control how much energy and time you spend resisting what is.
By focusing on what you CAN control, rather than trying to control things you can’t, you help yourself feel more effective and less frustrated.
Frustrated energy is the energy of resistance. Let’s dive into that now.
Practice Radical Acceptance
Our most common reaction when things are not going our way is to resist what is happening.
When we resist reality, we create all sorts of negative energy in ourselves – emotions of frustration, anger, resentment, etc.
And when we resist reality, we don’t change reality.
In fact, when we resist reality, we don’t do anything really other than make ourselves feel bad.
So if things are not going your way, it’s important to consider how you can shift towards accepting what is. This is called radical acceptance.
Radical acceptance doesn’t mean that you are OK with what happens.
It doesn’t mean you like what is happening, or that you support or endorse what is happening.
Radical acceptance simply means that you see what is happening and accept that it is what it is.
We cannot do anything to change or feel better about a situation unless we first accept the situation.
How can you work to accept what is happening, rather than resist it?
Be Grateful For After The Fact
When you’re going through a rough patch, it can be hard to remember that it will eventually get better.
It’s even harder to remember that when things get easier, you will feel even better than you did before.
In fact, after we’ve been through a rough patch for a few weeks, it can seem like life gets infinitely better once we’re through the rough patch.
For example, when I recently started a new locum tenens job in a new community, I was SO anxious about working my 24 hour call shift in the ER. (I usually am anxious about this.)
And then on my first shift, my own daughter came in with a broken arm. 🤯
Suffice to say, things were not going my way.
We then had to go to the nearest city to see a surgeon (6.5 hours away.) I had to change my work schedule, we had to spend extra money we hadn’t budgeted and lost valuable time. It was frustrating, but there was nothing we could do about it.
When we came back and life went back “to normal,” I wasn’t anxious about working my ER shift anymore.
When we go through a rougher patch for a while, it’s like our anxiety “resets” itself and what typically made us anxious before (or stressed), doesn’t seem as stressful anymore.
So while it feels stressful and painful at times to go through life when things aren’t going our way, it’s important to remember that after we’re through it, things are going to seem a whole lot easier.
If you want to learn more about how to change your mindset about things that happen in your life, you should pick up my book, You Are Not Your Anxiety: How To Stop Being An Anxious People-Pleasing Mess today!
This book is my honest no-bullshit approach to anxiety management – it’s all of the experience and knowledge I have learned from working with hundreds of women and managing my own anxiety – compiled into one handbook for women who are ready to finally get a handle on their minds. Get yours today!
THIS EPISODE DIGS INTO:
What To Do When Things Aren’t Going Your Way
- How to shift your mindset to be more positive when you feel like the hits won’t stop coming
- What I focus on to make rough patches seem a little easier
- How to reframe negative things in your life so you can feel more ease
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AUTHOR: DR. CARLY CREWE, MD
Dr. Carly Crewe is a mom to twin toddlers, a modern day nomad and MD Psychotherapist specializing in women's mental health.
Carly believes that when women are well, they have the power to heal and change the world.
Her mission is to revolutionize the women’s mental health care, from fragmented and haphazard to a holistic, comprehensive and integrated approach that meets every woman where she is and addresses the multidimensional reality of mental health.
Dr. Crewe is the founder of Eunoia Medical, a speciality mental health clinic for women in pursuit of a well mind. Carly runs a revolutionary mental health membership for women, The Eunoia Collective.
Carly is the host of the Mind Over Motherhood Podcast and is an Amazon best-selling author. Her newest book You Are Not Your Anxiety: How to Stop Being An Anxious, People-Pleasing Mess will be launching for presale on International Women’s Day March 8th, 2021.