By Guest Blogger Sharanya
It was halfway through my second semester at University, on a day when things fell apart that I finally grew up.
Having led a sheltered life for eighteen years, at home with a loving family and having always had good friends, I’d grown accustomed to turning to my support system for help in time of crises. But that day, mired in tears and self-pity, I realized that constantly reaching out to others to cope (as I had done) had over time, rendered me habitually weak and incapable of sustaining that happy equilibrium simply because reaching out only made me feel better without addressing the issues per se that were the cause of my disappointment . A lot of women, I’ve noticed, followed the same ineffective strategy only to find themselves in an endless, unfulfilled loop.
Forcing myself to draw strength from within myself, I found a wonderful way of dealing with stress and I must share it with you. Its tangible because it will help correct the messed up situation(s) while also making you feel great about it, however bad things might seem at the beginning. I now use it whenever necessary.
It helps if I write my way through the following steps, but you can sing it out loud, ponder over it in silence or modify it any way you choose. Here goes!
1. List out every single thing that’s wrong with your life right now, no matter how trivial or upsetting or embarrassing. List it!
2. Go problem by problem. Pick out the first one and ask yourself the following questions and answer each question immediately after you ask it:
· “What is the problem here?”
· “What caused it?” (You or something outside of you? Be honest, either way.)
· “How would I rather this situation be, in future, if not now?”
· “What is it like now?”
· “What have I been doing to make things better? Have these strategies worked? Why or why not? What could I be doing differently?”
3. Go to Source-Of-Stress #2. Repeat. Do the same all the way till Source-Of-Stress # N
4. Check out all the solutions you’ve come up with. See what works best.
The cool thing about this entire process is that it gets you to view the problems as little projects to be executed- it gets you to see each problem for what it is- no more and certainly no less- its gets you to explore creatively novel (or often obvious) solutions that may not strike you when you’re “busy” stressing and ultimately, it puts things in perspective. Believe me, the kick you’ll get out of taking control of a seemingly messed up situation will far outstrip any momentary comfort you might derive from running home to Mom or ranting with girlfriends over coffee and Kleenex.
Life, even for the Alpha Female, can often get challenging. While there needn’t be any second guessing about choosing Fight over flight, one needn’t make that choice semi-snivelling.
Guest Blogger Sharanya is currently enrolled in a Masters program studying humanities and social sciences in India.