Life will always throw us curveballs, and every day we meet all kinds of surprises and unexpected events. Most of them are minor but some of them can be big - maybe even life changing.
Even life’s smaller surprises can shake up our day and learning how to stay calm and not let the stress get the best of us can change our trajectory a great deal.
Below are 5 strategies that will help you stay calm and put your focus in the right place when the unexpected happens.
1. Remind yourself of what is most important
It easy to get frustrated or stressed when things in our life are thrown off course. By looking up and reminding ourselves of what matters most we can get a better perspective. This will allow us to calm down and stay connected to our purpose.
In addition, we’ll be able to access better thinking and find a way forward - instead of getting stuck in frustration where we rarely will find our best solutions.
When the unexpected happens it is always good to reset. Accept that whatever the plan was - it is no longer. Don’t try to adjust it and think you can now get things done in half the time, instead - do a complete reset and start afresh.
3. Make a new plan
Before you make your new plan make sure you are clear on what is your one most important thing. When you have clarity on what this is, focus on making a plan where you get this one thing done! After that, you can look at what else needs to happen and give that the attention it deserves, no more no less.
Do remember to prioritise what is important - the urgent and unimportant stuff should stay where it belongs - further down on your to-do list.
4. Let go of your standards
Unexpected situations call for flexibility and creative solutions, with focus here on solutions. If you have something important that needs to get done and there is no one to look after your children - it is okay to use the tv as a babysitter.
Another example is multitasking - something I normally encourage people to avoid as best they can - but when life goes off the ordinary we may need to let go our standards and simply do what we can. If that means you need to clear emails while the kids have their dinner, so be it.
Your values or years of good parenting will not unravel just because you let go a bit. Instead, it’ll take heaps off your stress barometer och you can regain some sense of control.
If you like some help identifying your standards and strategies to figure out to ease some of them grab our free worksheet here.
5. Stay calm
When the unexpected happens we’re often left feeling angry, frustrated, disheartened or maybe anxious. The underlying feeling here is often stress or feeling out of control.
The deeper we go into this state the less we can access the thinking part of our brain and hence we’ll be less able to come up with the best solution.
Therefore being able to stay calm in this moment is essential.
This does not have to be that difficult, as with most things all it takes is a bit of practice. There are three things you need to do.
Firstly, generate awareness of how you typically react. Look back to a situation when something unexpected happened and take note of what happened, did you freeze? Go into overdrive? Felt angry or something else? Getting an understanding of how you react means you can make a plan to do things differently next time.
Secondly, write down how you would like to react. As basic as it sounds this is a key step where you help your brain to see ‘what can be’. When you are clear on how you would like to react you can then figure out what to do to get there.
Thirdly, identify a technique that will help you in the moment - and start practicing now. Don’t wait for the unexpected to happen, choose a strategy or technique that will help you stay calm and start doing it a few times a day. That means when the unexpected actually happens your brain already knows what to do and you can stay calm and focus on finding the right solution
Just to give you some ideas on techniques that can help you not get tangled up in stress...
There we go, five strategies to help you deal with the unexpected. Now in comments below, let us know which one you will try first.
Setting realistic expectations can be a great way to motivate yourself and give your
life direction. But when your expectations start holding you up to unreachable
standards (whether these are your own or somebody else’s) it can have a terrible
effect on your mind-set and wellbeing.
This is why it’s essential to learn how to manage your expectation, instead of allowing them to manage you.
Managing expectations of yourself.
Ambition is a great motivator, but it’s always important to take time to reflect on the expectations you set for yourself to consider whether they are in fact realistic.
All too often we put unrealistic timelines on our achievements, and when we don’t find success straight away, we’re left with self-criticism and disappointment.
Be mindful of developing a clear timeline for achieving your goals, as well as a realistic plan of action to reach them.
Avoid false expectations
It’s important to consider who has shaped the expectations you have for yourself.
Are these expectations your own, or are they based on what others expect of you, or
at least what you think others expect of you?
All too often we compare ourselves to others and then feel disheartened when we fall short in one way or another.
Make sure you’re living your life according to your own set of rules and you will have a far easier time living up to your expectations.
Adapt to changing circumstances
Life can be unpredictable with situations changing quickly and without warning. Thiscan often trip us up on our race to achieve our goals.
When this happens, it’s important to try your best not to react emotionally and instead take the time to consider your options and adjust your expectations to suit the new situation you find yourself in.
This will help you avoid feelings of failure and despair, so that you’re able to continue along your new path to success.
Dealing with your expectations of others
In life, it’s easy to put high, unspoken expectations onto others. Whether in your
personal or work relationships, this can often lead to disappointments on your side
and uncomfortable feelings on their side of not living up to your standards.
Rather than leaving it unspoken, try to be clear and realistic about your expectations of others, as well as your own goals and plans. That way you can help others manage their expectation of you while developing a clear understanding of how you expect to be treated.
Remember that people can’t read your mind, so you need to tell them what makes you happy so they can adjust their behaviours accordingly.
How are you managing your expectations, come over to the Sisterhood and let us know.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, mindset coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.