How to deal with a crisis when traveling (or not) ?
Who ever said life could be a long quiet river was definitely not living in my world. I would even say that, when life is too quiet for a while, it's probably because it's preparing something, and it would be smart to watch out. Just like a toddler that is too quiet for a long time is very probably drawing on the white walls of their room, or making their very own recipe of chocolate moisturizing hair mask for the family dog…
I actually think this is a good thing. Life never stops pushing us to grow, to learn, to move forward, and it keeps us constantly on the edge.
The trick is not to hope that life will become easy and uneventful, on the contrary. The trick is to develop a way to deal with obstacles, (unpleasant) surprises and unexpected setbacks so that they don't destroy our own peace of mind.
As William James said “It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome.”
If you are currently traveling and have to fly back home, or took the decision to stay, or you were going to travel and now... what? You planned your trip for so long and you are feeling a mix of feelings from being mad, sad, desperate, scared?
The following process helps me prepare to deal with difficult situations. While traveling, or not. It's no miracle potion, but you'd be surprised at the results you get when you actually follow the steps to deal with any type of crisis, small or big.
Yes, that's the very first step. Observe the emotions that the situation is creating in your body.
But watch out, don't focus on the situation that is creating the emotion, that would only nourish them and make them worse.
Instead, focus on observing the sensations in your body: what effects does the emotion have on your heartbeat, on your breathing, on your general level of energy, on your skin, on your limbs, etc.
When a negative event happens, we generally have 1 of 2 tendencies:
A) We focus on it so much, repeatedly that we amplify the emotions. They end up sitting with us for much longer than they're supposed to. An emotion is supposed to last about 90sec or so, anything longer than that is very probably an emotion that was nourished by our dwelling upon it.
B) We directly discard our feelings without any consideration. Instead of allowing the emotion to live and then go away, we just put a mask on it, and its negative energy will sit with us just as long, in our subconscious mind and body.
Acceptation is a very powerful tool, but it's also a very hard one.
First, you need to accept where you are:
Take a moment to accept the situation as your current reality, as negative or disagreeable as it is.
Then, accept that things that can change:
Accept that you are in a transition period towards a better future, that will come once you have properly dealt with the present moment.
Finally, accept that YOU can change (some) things:
Yes, you, not somebody else. It's often very uncomfortable, mainly when the negative situation is about a relationship or an event that we feel is out of our reach.
And yet, you are in charge of your life, and the key is to focus on the behaviours that you can adopt to influence what actually is in your reach. Once you accept that, you'll get the control back over your life and you'll realize that there are much more opportunities than you first imagined.
3. Pause & Pose
When confronted to a difficult situation, we need to be prepared to react. For that, we need to feel both confident and calm.
Our mind of course, needs to be ready, but so does our body. And our body responds to our hormones levels: serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine, cortisol, etc. that need to be well balanced to maximize your impact.
On top of eating right, exercising often, exposing your skin to bright light, there is one easy thing I love to do: taking the pose. The power pose in this case, that has a great impact on stress level and confidence.
Adopt the Wonder Woman posture, fists on the hips, legs appart, chest forward, chin up.
While staying in this pose for a few minutes, allow your mind to calm down, bringing your attention to your breathing. When you feel calm and quiet, it's time to activate my last super power exercise: visualisation.
Keep the power pose a little longer, and while you close your eyes, imagine the situation that you want. Imagine that you have already solved the problem, jumped the obstacle. Imagine that everything is back to normal or even better. What would that situation be like? Visualize all the details: how would the relationship be, what would the results be and more important: how would that make you feel. Really take time to let those feelings in: the joy, the pride, the excitement, the serenity…
5. Plan & Act
It's now time to think about solutions, to plan your actions, and start implementing them one after the other.
It's easier said than done, but at this stage you prepared your mind and your body to face the challenge that is in front of you, and you know how to.
Whenever you loose courage or you feel lost, go back to the whole process to build up confidence again.
"Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success."
Once things have gone back to normal, or at least when the heat of the moment is behind you, it's very important to go back one last time to the situation that created the crisis and ask yourself what you can learn from it. What brought that situation to you in the first place? How could you have overcome it? What would you do differently? What will you change in your behaviours?
Remember to take the learnings about yourself and your own behaviours, and to always focus on what you have an impact on. Even in times when you feel nothing is about us specifically, like during this current Covid-19 crisis, we can still take some responsibilities. There is always something to learn for the future, like making sure we have saved enough money on our bank account for unexpected expenses, like listening to our intuition when it tells us to do something, you name it.
I wish you lots of constructive challenges that make you grow, learn and know yourself better.
Take good care of yourself.