When Life Throws More Curve Balls
There are times when life throws more curve balls in my direction than I can handle. Sometimes they are high, sometimes low. Sometimes I think I know the direction they are coming, and then wham! they do just what a curve ball does and changes to a totally different direction than I anticipated.
“If life throws you a curve ball, swing BIG! If you fall down, pick yourself up, learn what you can, forget what you must, and by all means move forward. The journey is best when you keep running the bases. Home plate is just around the next corner.”
This year has been one curve ball after another, but I am learning how to better field them every day by focusing on my self-care, the things that add to my life and well-being. When life gets tough, it is easy to let self-care practices go by the wayside.
However, if you stay focused on your self-care, I believe life’s curve balls can be both a blessing and a learning opportunity. If you can learn to put your self-care tools into practice, I believe you can practice grace under fire every day.
Over the past few months, I have used my self-care tools to remain calm in the midst of the curve balls that have come my way – how to pay the bills when my business was forced to close; how to deal with family situations; understanding why others treat me the way they do; learning why I react the way I do when I feel threatened…the list goes on because life happens.
Here are six steps to putting self-care tools into play so you can practice grace under fire:
- Remain calm. When you first realize a curve ball is headed your way, stop and remain calm. Keep your cool. Best not to worry or fret about the unknown because worry doesn’t add even one second to your life; in fact, it takes away precious seconds. Use positive self-talk to help you remember you can handle this.
- Listen. One of the biggest stumbling blocks to remaining calm is not listening. No matter what direction the curve ball comes from, remember to listen with your ears, heart and head – in that order. It takes discipline to listen and understand rather than assume what you are facing. Ask questions and continue to listen, for listening actually improves your understanding which improves your capacity to remain calm.
- Be present. No matter what is happening, stay in the moment; do not project the situation. When a curve ball comes your way, the tendency is to duck and cover and then think of other things to protect yourself. That’s okay if you are facing harm, but most of life’s curve balls are more subtle. If you stay present and in the moment, you allow your mind to slow and focus which helps you to listen and remain calm. Get the picture?
- Breathe deeply. You can actually change the state of your mind, body, and spirit simply by slowing yourself and focusing on your breathing. This requires you to breathe in slowly from your diaphragm (we call this a deep belly breath) to the count of four, hold the breath to the count of four, and then exhale to the count of eight. Doing this for a minute or longer can greatly decrease anxiety and worry that so often accompanies unexpected curve balls.
- Consider the options. If you have done the first four tips with some success, you are now in a better state and frame of mind to deal with whatever is happening. It’s now time to consider your options for how to handle the situation without raising your stress levels. Getting to this step helps you to see possibilities where before you might not have seen any.
- Think before you speak. As with seeing the option, this step is sometimes difficult for me because my human nature is to react first and think later. As you might imagine, that does not serve my well-being because I usually have to fix whatever I mucked up by reacting and then thinking. If you can listen, think and then respond rather than react, you will begin to see the curve balls don’t have as much curve as you originally thought and your stress levels don’t rise as much in anticipation of what might never be.
It is true that life’s curve balls are not always fun. In fact, they can be devastating at times. But if you learn how to manage your self-care tools, you will always be ready to field the throw and manage the outcome in a more positive, self-preserving manner.
How are you handling the curve balls in your life? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below. Until next time, be well…