How to Keep Afloat Amidst Changing Tides

Change is hard. But stagnation makes life harder. When the riptide starts to tug at you, give into its pull. Though you may fear the shifting sands beneath you, staying still is no longer an option.  You’re not underwater – you can keep your head above the waves. You may get shaken up, but you can find a safe harbor again.

Let go. There’s no use denying that change is happening if that’s exactly what’s going on. You do not have to like it at first, but embrace the transition without giving it a label of good or bad. They are such normative terms and do little but provide a black and white lens through which one can experience this new adjustment. If you approach it objectively – “X is happening in life right now” instead of “X is happening to me, I don’t deserve this, this is terrible” – you’re more likely to adapt with ease.

Come up for air. If you feel like you’re drowning (when there’s no water to be found), rise up out of the situation and breathe. Take an hour to sketch, listen to an old album, go for a run,  or just sit in silence. Don’t berate yourself for this break. You’re allowed it. Life isn’t about rushing to the next step, it’s about living through each moment.

Use your voice. Whether its talking to a friend/family member/stranger or simply putting pen to paper, push negative thoughts through and out of your head. Allow old grudges and hangups to loosen their hold on the inner chambers of your mind where you’ve made comfortable homes for them. They have been taking up too much space altogether. Do some spring cleaning by voicing that which grieves you.

Make an accomplishment list . When things are new or different, it can be disorienting. We can get caught up in the thought-cycle of “I don’t have this yet,” “I’m so far behind,” etc. Instead of noting each and every thing that your life lacks, start tallying all that you’ve accomplished thus far and realize that your path is entirely unique. Instead of a to-do list at the top of the day, try a accomplishment-list at the end of the day. It can include everything that day that went right (got a 20 minute nap, no rain, read a fantastic article, spoke with a friend).  Sometimes these things are more important than those which we lay out for ourselves on lists that we scurry to check off as quickly as possible.

Mind what you can. If the rest of the world seems to be swirling around you, take authority over that which you do have control. Clean your room, floss, fix those pants you tore a year ago. Even the littlest efforts will help to afford peace of mind. We often think we can control the outcome of  a situation by worrying about it. But worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen to go ahead and happen. So shift ‘worry’ into ‘action,’ as small as it may be.

Photo by Sarah Anne Loreth

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8 thoughts on “How to Keep Afloat Amidst Changing Tides

  1. Pingback: Life thoughts « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

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