How to Deal Powerfully with Crappy Circumstances

Have you ever wondered why some people are able to deal so well with terrible life circumstances and grow from them, whilst others are heavily weighed down by their problems to the point where they can’t even get out of bed in the morning?

Life can be tough and certainly isn’t perfect for many of us. Whether you have a sick relative, are struggling with your work or feel lonely, each of us is dealing with our own unique challenges.

Unless you’ve lived a completely sheltered life, it’s highly likely that you’ve had moments when you received some challenging news that knocked you about a bit.

No matter how positive and upbeat you usually are, bad news can send you into a state of paralysis where all you want to do is lay in bed.

Unfortunately, worrying in bed all day doesn’t result in much getting done. In fact, usually it only makes matters worse.

So how does one remain powerful in the face of crappy circumstances?

I believe asking yourself the following question can make a huge difference-

“What’s the smallest action step I can take to move my situation forward?”

For example, if you’re laying in bed you may decide that you need to have a shower, but that may still seem like a mammoth task. Too hard. Too overwhelming. No thanks.

If this is the case, break the task down into even smaller action steps. For example, say to yourself –

“Just lift your head off the pillow”.

Then you want to be like a broken record. Just keep asking yourself the question all day long – “What is the next little action step I can take?”

This strategy works a treat. When I recently received some crappy news, I asked myself this question over and over.

What was the result?

Phone calls were made. Emails were sent. My desk got tidied.

Sure, my crappy circumstances didn’t miraculously disappear, but at least I was in action and as a result, I felt much better about things.

As Eric Jenson states –

“One cannot always choose every aspect of their circumstances, job, relationships or family. What we can choose, every single waking moment of our lives, is our RESPONSE to those things. And it is our response that determines the quality of life, not our circumstances.”

So next time your life dishes you up something not so flash, you have a choice – you can stay in bed and worry all day or you can take the next little action step. It’s up to you. But whatever you decide will influence how your day and life plays out.

4 thoughts on “How to Deal Powerfully with Crappy Circumstances

  1. For depressed people, those who focus all the time selectively on bad sides , this strategy could be very helpful . One lady wrote : while depressed, I used to cope by commanding to myself every single step I should do , saying to myself something like : “well, get out now from the bed ” , “write one page of that report ” , if the task seemed ovewhelming , I fragment it : “write one paragraph” , and finally, by following this strategy, I found that things get done, and that depression didn’t cause a lot of damage.

    1. These articles have helped me tremendously. I was interested in mind mapping, then I was like that cartoon, where I fall into the hole called “Internet”.
      What’s the next small thing I can do?
      What can I do in the next 5 seconds to 5 minutes?
      Start small and build on my successes.
      It is big stuff to me, I have a Major Depressive Disorder, which sometimes feels like being trapped in molasses.
      One small thing. like taking a break from my laptop.
      Thank you.

      1. Hi Beth

        I’m so glad to hear that you have benefited from the blogs.
        The idea of working in really small action steps is something that has helped me a lot too (that’s why I blog and speak about the idea quite often!)
        You wrote “start small and build on my successes” – exactly, that’s all we can really do!
        I was reading a book this morning (The unwritten rules of PhD research) and the author wrote “A life’s work takes a lifetime, but it’s achieved one step at a time”.

        If we all just focused on the next very small action step we need to take, we’d all be a lot calmer and productive!

        Kind regards,

        Jane Genovese

  2. This article has really changed my way of thinking when it comes to circumstances. I am not really a depressed person but most times i like to take things so high at a time that i do not think of breaking then into smaller tasks. Now that i know what to do and how to do it i am once again very grateful. Thank you.

Comments are closed.