QUICK UPDATE: Marc and I are teaming up with Joshua Becker of Becoming Minimalist to host The Live Well Tour. Come see us in Houston, TX along with special guest Preston Smiles on Feb. 25, 2023. Tap here for more info.
Today, let’s begin with a timeless reminder: The goal in the weeks and months ahead is to gradually grow stronger on the inside, so that almost nothing on the outside can affect your inner wellness without your conscious permission.
How you cope with unexpected stress and frustration can easily be the difference between living a good life and living an unhealthy one. If you choose unhealthy coping mechanisms like avoidance or denial, for example, you can quickly turn a tough situation into a tragic one. And sadly, this is a common mistake many people make.
When you find yourself facing a disheartening reality, your first reaction might be to deny the situation, or to avoid dealing with it altogether. But by doing so you’re inadvertently holding on even tighter to the pain that you wish to let go of — you’re, in effect, sealing it up inside you.
Let’s imagine someone close to you has grown ill, and supporting this person through his or her illness is incredibly painful. You might not want to deal with the pain, so you cope by avoiding it, by finding ways to numb yourself with alcohol and unhealthy eating. And consequently, you grow physically ill too while the pain continues to fester inside you.
Obviously that’s not good.
If you notice yourself doing something similar, it’s time to pause, admit to yourself that you’re coping by avoiding, and then shift your focus to a healthier coping mechanism, like using the quotes listed later in this post (several of which are excerpts from our books) to help you open your mind.
When you face struggles with an attitude of openness — open to the painful feelings and emotions you have — you find out that it’s not comfortable, but you can still be fine and you can still step forward. Openness means you don’t instantly decide that you know this is only going to be a horrible experience — it means you admit that you don’t really know what the next step will be like, and you’d like to understand the whole truth of the matter. It’s a learning stance, instead of one that assumes the worst.
The General Benefits of Healthy Coping
Coping certainly isn’t an easy practice, and I’m not suggesting that it is. What I am suggesting is that it’s worth your while. With practice, healthy coping allows you to find better ways of managing life’s continuous stream of unexpected and uncontrollable circumstances. For example…
- A task is harder than you expected it to be — Instead of running from a daunting and overwhelming task, you can accept it and see what it’s like to feel uncomfortable and overwhelmed, and still take action anyway. Writing a book, for example, is daunting and overwhelming, but you can still write one even with those feelings rolling through you (just like Marc and I did with our NY Times bestselling book).
- An interaction with someone you love angers or frustrates you — Instead of lashing out at a loved one when you’re upset with them, you can sit quietly with your difficult feelings and just be open to what it’s like to feel them. And then, once you’ve had a moment to breathe, you can see what it’s like to deal compassionately with someone you love who you’re also upset with. To try to understand them instead of just judging them at their worst.
- Unhealthy cravings overwhelm you out of nowhere — You may be inclined to indulge in unhealthy cravings like alcohol and sweets for comfort when you’re feeling stressed out. But you can sit with these feelings and be open to them instead, and then gradually build positive daily rituals for coping in healthier ways—taking walks, meditating, talking with someone about your feelings, journaling, reviewing the relevant quotes from our book provided in this post, etc. (Marc and I build life-changing, positive daily rituals with our students in the “Goals and Growth” module of Getting Back to Happy Course.)
- You are forced to deal with a loved one’s death — When someone you love passes away, the grief and sense of loss can seem overwhelming. And at that point, it’s incredibly easy to give in to unhealthy, “quick-fix” ways of alleviating the pain. But you have to force yourself to do the opposite—to give yourself compassion, to sit with the powerfully difficult thoughts and feelings you have, and to open your mind to what lies ahead. Gradually it becomes evident that death isn’t just an ending, but also a beginning. Because while you have lost someone special, this ending, like all losses, is a moment of reinvention. Although sad, their passing forces you to reinvent your life, and in this reinvention is an opportunity to experience beauty in new, unseen ways and places.
And of course, we’ve merely just scratched the surface of an endless pool of possibilities for healthy coping. The key thing to understand is that by learning to cope in healthier ways, you will find that you can better handle anything life throws your way, and come out stronger, and oftentimes even happier, than you were before.
In the end, the world is as you are inside. What you think, you see, and you ultimately become. So gather and choose your thoughts wisely…
Think how you want to live today.
Use these quotes to guide your mind…
Quotes for Letting Go and Healthy Coping
In moments of unexpected stress and frustration, an uplifting reminder can make all the difference in your mindset. And that’s exactly why I’m sharing the quotes below with you today. Together they collectively serve as a healthy coping mechanism for life’s inevitable disappointments. And understanding how to cope in a healthy way, as we’ve discussed, is an invaluable skill.
Truth be told, Marc and I personally reference these quotes on a regular basis to bring perspective, shift our mindset, and cope with the unexpected troubles we can’t control. And although this practice is indeed a personal one, it’s also been vetted by its extensive use in hundreds of successful one-on-one (and two-on-one) coaching sessions that Marc and I have administered with our course students, live event attendees, and coaching clients over the years. Perhaps they will help you too.
Please share this post with others who you think will benefit from it, and also share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. If you’re up to it, we’d love it if you shared an additional quote or personal saying that has helped you let go and cope more effectively with the things you can’t control.
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Headline photo by: Roman Kraft