Whatever your circumstances, there will come a time in your life when things start to become overwhelming. This may result in physical or mental symptoms, exacerbated by any of the following:
- Dramatic changes e.g. menopause, retirement
- Personal crises e.g. midlife crises, debt, job loss
- Falling ill e.g. anxiety, phobias, depression, chronic pain
- Feeling haunted by the past.
Whether you tick one or all of these boxes, the first step to managing difficulties is decide what to manage. So, when we look at the examples above, we could consider adapting our lifestyle for changes, turning to others or talk about our problems.
Understanding what ‘managing’ looks like
We can associate the term ‘managing’ with many synonyms, for example to organise, direct, govern, lead or handle. But what unites all of these problems is the need to master them. We must master our negative thoughts, master our finances, master our pain management.
Harnessing this mastery takes skills, knowledge and expertise.
Step 1: Awareness
When working with our clients, whether managing depression or personal circumstances, we start by ‘demystifying the unknown’. We might ask questions about what your symptoms teach us. Rather than classing them as a weakness, we discover how they can empower us.
For example, depression and anxiety might lead us to picture the worst-case ‘what-if’ scenario. But what if we turned this on its head, and imagined the best-case scenario?
Step 2: Exploring the symptoms
Now we know how we can empower ourselves; we must explore how much we know about our problems. For example, have we read up on the physical and mental effects of depression? Do we know what triggers pain flare-ups? Have we recorded how we behave when unbearable emotions strike?
By brushing up on our knowledge, not only can we identify when the next ‘attack’ might hit; we can learn to manage it better.
Step 3: Taking the power away
Asking yourself the abovementioned questions might make you feel a little vulnerable. That is totally normal – do not berate yourself for feeling this way. By acknowledging that there is a problem, we can better arm ourselves to fight it.
Again, we return to the notion of mastery. These symptoms may make us feel overwhelmed, and as though they have power over us. We need to take back that mastery and tell these feelings that we are the boss of them, not the other way around.
Talk. Acknowledge. Manage.
Everybody will have their own unique methods of embracing these three methods. Some may use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques, for example, while others may practise affirmations.
What’s key to remember is that we must:
- Talk: put the spotlight on the problem – discussing it diminishes its power.
- Acknowledge: understand when to spot it, and acknowledge how it makes you feel.
- Manage: build your own personal defence system to put yourself back in charge.
We can go through a series of techniques to help you manage circumstantial difficulties in life. Book your consultation to find out more.