At the end of 2016, I’ve decided I to spend my 2017 traveling around the world. I cancelled my flat, decided to work online only (no more offline clients), and I bought a one way ticket to Thailand, my first stop.
As the date of my departure got closer and closer, my anxiety and worry got stronger and stronger. (If you also struggle with anxiety or negative emotions, be sure to check the article 5 Steps to Deal with Negative Emotions )
So, passport in pocket, Kindle fully charged, and my notebook close at hand, in case a spark of inspiration strikes and I want to journal.
You know how you plan something and then nothing goes as planned?
You get caught up in small (or not so small) problems that just keep coming and coming?
Nothing seems simple to you anymore?
Well, that’s how it went in my case, too.
The 1st gaffe, and 2nd, and 3rd…
Upon my arrival to the hotel, I realized that I had made the wrong booking. I booked the wrong month, March instead of February, so they didn’t have a room for me.
They gave me some tiny, old room with grey walls; it looked more like a prison cell than a hotel room. It was for one night only; that night, I had to quickly find new accommodations.
The morning after, I booked the wrong flight. As if plane tickets weren’t expensive enough, I had to fix my error – lost almost two hours on the phone with the flight company’s call agent, and my wallet lost some good weight.
Right after that, I made another wrong booking for my next accommodation. Actually, I didn’t book at all, I just thought I did. And when I finally dragged my monstrous 27 kilogram, green, Samsonite suitcase to my newly booked hotel (on a hot steamy 37°), they were surprised to see me there. My name wasn’t on the booking’s list, “Look, no name in the system, miss!” they explained. And the system was right. Of course, the system’s ALWAYS right.
Mind that all this happened within 14 hours, my first day of arrival, 8 thousand kilometers away from home, in the unknown.
That late afternoon, I also lost 100€. Puff, disappeared into the wind.
Whoever found it, I hope it made them really happy.
The best thing about it?
Late that night, I asked myself – what the heck is happening?!
But, you wanna know what surprised me the most?
I didn’t freak out. Not once.
I just laughed. I felt so calm. I even told myself out loud, “Well, you wanted adventure, Matea, so here’s one! Enjoy!”
How we create extra problems
Ever felt like things are getting out of control? Sure you have.
And no matter what you tried to do, it just didn’t work?
When things go wild, our natural response is to either freeze or our minds start racing like crazy; usually, it’s both. We want to react, quickly fix things, but we’re not in the best state to do so. So what do we usually do? We fall into fear and panic, which is a completely unresourceful state.
Unresourceful states like:
Worrying if things will turn out well.
Feeling panicky because we don’t know what to do next.
Asking ourselves, “Oh my God, why is this happening?!”
Sure, you’ve felt this way before. Haven’t we all?
So, whenever you find yourself in these states, I want you to turn things around, but in a more constructive way.
How to make your problems less… problematic
While feeling helpless, caught up, or overwhelmed, we create more drama. That’s why more problems arise. We don’t have the best judgements, nor make the right calls.
What you want to do is to stay in your focus. Stay grounded. Stay calm. Right?
That skill, remaining balanced, is a skill worth practicing.
Here are a few ways (or steps) you can stay calm, and practice your balance. Practice them on a regular basis, and before you know it, you will find yourself calm, sharp, and focused whenever things get out of control.
1. Become an observer
When we get caught in the moment, we’re caught. It’s like we’re surrounded and everything is happening around us, the situation has a grip on us.
Here’s one cool and quick trick you can use to shake out of it, literally free yourself from it. I learned on my NLP training course and it’s so effective!
When you find yourself in a middle of a drama or chaotic situation, press pause for a moment and imagine that situation as a picture. Imagine you freezing this situation, and literally see it as a picture.
Now, step out of that picture.
You are no longer seeing the situation with your own eyes, now you can see yourself in that picture. That means you’ve stepped out of your body and can see yourself in that picture.
Float above the picture. Float around it, view it from different angles and sides.
While the picture is frozen, and you are watching it from a distance, notice what is happening in the picture. Notice how you feel. If there are other people in the picture, notice how they feel.
Stay in the “observer” mode. Notice how you feel differently, now as an observer.
And while you’re up there, as an observer, ask yourself these questions:
- How do I want to feel in this situation?
- How can I resolve this situation in a better way? What would be the best solution here?
- How can I act differently? What would be a better approach in this? Instead of acting like I am, in what other ways can I react?
Once you get your insights, float down, in front of the picture. Stand in front of yourself and then step back into your body.
2. Use Your Breath as a Tool
Ever tried mindfulness meditation?
Here’s something I practice daily. This is the surest, fastest way to turn things for better – quickly and effectively.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re feeling, and whatever you’re thinking, your only goal, your only task is to – focus your attention to your breathing.
If you want to calm your mind, and stop having one thousand thoughts – start noticing how your chest rises and falls while you breathe.
Inhale, and notice your chest rising. Count to four seconds. Exhale, and notice your chest falling.
Repeat again. Do it while you’re reading now:
Inhale. Notice how the air is filling up your body, chest and stomach area.
Count to four seconds.
Exhale. Let the air flow out.
Do this for 60 seconds straight. Focus only on your breath, and I promise you – whatever you were caught in, it will disappear. For that minute, it will be gone. It WILL disappear.
What to do next?
3. Maintain an “All is Well” Mindset
Now that you’ve calmed yourself down, you have two options:
- Go back to your worries and feel the pressure again (It would be a real shame to go into that loop again), or
- Maintain the inner peace and replace those thoughts will more useful ones.
Remember the first exercise? In which you, as an observer, came up with several ways to approach your situation? Use that new knowledge.
Stay in your calmness, focused on your breath, remember all that you had learned in exercise one, and say to yourself, “All is well.”
And all will be well. Believe in yourself. Know that you got this.
Because having a strong attitude, a belief that everything will be okay, is one of the first things that can actually get you to a good place. It all starts from within.
So, if worrying didn’t get you where you wanted to be, why not try this?
One Quick Word to You
I was a real worrier. I use to be anxious every day. I worried about my relationship, about my mother, my brother, the work I did. I replayed horror scenarios in my mind over and over again, imagining all the horrible things that could happen.
Can you picture an anxious worrier, buying a one way ticket to the unknown world, leaving their friends and family behind, but staying calm and peaceful?
I’m having trouble picturing that.
But I did it. I stayed cool, and I know that the only reason I could do this awesome thing in my life was because I did my inner work first. I focused on me, and resolving the things that were pulling me down. No more lousy relationships. No more shallow friendships. No more unfulfilling work. I practiced self love and inner calmness, I had coaching sessions with my coach, I focused on making myself happy.
If you feel you want to do the same for you, book an initial coaching session with me here: Click Here to Book a Call
P.S. Here’s my green Samsonite bag, at the airport, waiting to be shipped.
You know what?
Don’t ever, ever, overload yourself with so much baggage!
Figuratively or literally:)
Just… let go of it, especially if it’s too heavy.
Want to let go of your emotional baggage now, book your freeing session here: Click Here to Select a Day