Yesterday was a rough day for me. It’s a common response to ask “what happened?” in such situations, expecting a clear event to justify why the day turned sour. But in truth, I realized that I had created a rough day for myself, which led me to ponder a more introspective question: “why?”. As I sat down with my coach this morning, she asked “can you see trigger?”.

Let’s rewind to the circumstances where my turmoil seemed to have emerged. I had to prepare a seminar for an upcoming conference, and self-doubt started creeping in. The idea of guiding the audience with engaging and evidence-based material felt daunting. The hours leading up to the preparation window became a mental checklist of reasons why I wasn’t equipped for the task at hand. Doubts swirled around the promises I had made to myself about delivering an impactful presentation. Imposter syndrome seemed to rear its head.

Looking back now, I realize I missed a crucial step. I failed to acknowledge and process my emotional experience. I didn’t allow the negative emotions to be present, to understand them, and then to let them go.

In times of adversity, it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in wrestling with the unexpected negative emotions and challenging situations that life sometimes delivers.

The truth is as humans, we’re wired to experience both positive and negative emotions. While the goal is to minimize unnecessary negative emotions, there are instances when these emotions are entirely appropriate.

During such challenging moments, the feeling of powerlessness can take over, leading us to lose control. This pattern unfolds when we disconnect from our minds and resort to behaviours like overindulgence, or constant rumination to escape the discomfort. We might find ourselves victimized by our own thoughts, caught in a cycle of negativity.

But there’s a way out of this cycle, a step-by-step process that offers relief and growth:

  1. Acknowledge the Adversity: First, recognize that you’ve been dealt a “blow”, whether it’s triggered by yourself, the universe, or somebody else.

  2. Embrace the Emotion: Open up to the emotion by allowing yourself to feel it. Breathe it in and experience it fully.

  3. Regain Mind Control: Understand that the only thing within your power right now is your mind. Take charge of your thoughts, feelings, and actions deliberately. Don’t let your mind dictate without your consent. This awareness alone brings relief.

  4. The Power of Questions: Pose four significant questions to yourself:
  • How can this experience make me stronger?
  • What can I learn from this situation?
  • How can I harness this experience?
  • What do I want to create from this?

Distract your mind from the negative punch by asking it these questions. Your brain can’t resist answering a question, which shifts its focus.

  1. Focus on Growth and Solutions: Shift your perspective to growth. Recognize that if the problem resides in your mind, the solution must also exist there. Dedicate more time to focusing on solutions than the problem itself.

Handling the hard days or life’s adversity isn’t about erasing them from existence. It’s about gaining the skills to navigate them effectively. If we can learn how to handle tough moments, even the ones that suck the most, we emerge stronger and more resilient on the other side.

In my journey through self-discovery and coaching, I’ve come to appreciate the transformative power of introspection and mindfulness. It’s the process of asking questions, acknowledging emotions, and focusing on growth that enables us to conquer our emotional rollercoasters and turn rough days into opportunities for growth. Let’s get through it together, I can be your coach if you let me 😊

Sincerely yours,

Dr Sophie