It’s been a few weeks since I indulged in writing for my blog but life has frankly gotten in the way of it. Apologies therefore for the lack of frequency in my posting, I am still passionate about the blog but I am also spinning a number of plates at the moment and so need the occasional break to focus on other aspects of my life. Everything feels a little uncertain at the moment. I have been trying to sell my house for the past 5 months but there have been a number of bumps in the road with my buyers losing their buyers not once but twice which has dragged the whole process out and led to an anxious wait to see what happens next. I have a wonderful house waiting for me and a new life planned in a new town. I have even chosen a new school for the children which is a one minute walk from the house and which has places for them. The whole move would make such a difference to our lives.
The house is part of a small development that has been under construction for some time and is almost finished. I have watched it turn from a breeze block structure into what will be a gorgeous family home. The whole experience has felt a bit like a pregnancy. The excitement you feel when you get an offer on your home, through the bumpy early stages, the exchange feels a bit like the 20 week scan but you don’t truly relax until you have the baby in your arms (or the keys in your hand!). I have probably invested too much emotionally into the whole idea but I have been driven by the desire to start life again after divorce. Leaving the marital home and starting afresh in a new home that is mine, in a location that will provide a great life for the children and I, makes it hard not to dream.
They say divorce and moving are two of the five most stressful things to deal with in life. They are not wrong..however, for me I have realised that the feeling of uncertainty, of what happens next in life, can feel even more daunting. An uncertain future, a lack of information on a situation or not knowing what will happen can make you feel out of control, cause stress, insecurity and anxiety and even affect your health. I have experienced a number of these emotions myself over the last few weeks and there have been some low days and quite a few headaches as a result!
It has been a hard journey so far but for the sake of my sanity I have had to push on through and think of ways to alleviate the daily pressure I have been feeling about my future and whether I will indeed get the house and ‘happily ever after’ I am so craving. I guess I am telling you all this because I feel I have made progress and so I wanted to share with you how I’ve dealt with things in the hope that anyone reading this who is also going through a period of uncertainty in their lives might take something from this post…
Focus on What You Can Control – Not on What You Can’t
This may seem like an obvious one but also a hard one to follow. When something happens in your life that is effectively out of your hands, it may lead you to feel out of control. Unfortunately for many of us, negative thoughts can often flood our whole being when faced with situations like these and it can, if we let it, become all consuming. If we do become consumed by our thoughts on one situation, it makes it almost impossible to focus or concentrate on anything else and our rational thought process goes out the window.
However, hard as it is, there has to come a point where you give yourself an emotional rest before it affects your health. As my own mother has said to me many, many times in my life ‘worrying about something, won’t change it, but it will give you wrinkles!’ So in a bid to ward off said wrinkles, I have made the decision to try and mentally detach myself and have instead thrown myself into my work and my photography business and given my mind some much needed time off worrying about the house.
Focussing on something within your control rather than the thing that isn’t, generally takes discipline, but it can be acheived. Make the decision to put those thoughts to one side for a while, or allow them to exist at the very back of your mind while focussing on something else that can take your mind off it. Indulging in some exercise, a good book, TV show or deciding what you will be doing with your day are all good ways of giving yourself a mental break. If you find yourself drifting back to those thoughts, don’t indulge them. Push them away and get back to doing or thinking about what you can control. Controlling where your very thoughts take you might feel like mental exercise and takes strength, but it can be done with practice.
Challenge Unhelpful Thoughts
If you’re feeling anxious about your future or a situation, you’ve probably thought through countless scenarios that are based more on imagination than fact. You’ve probably asked yourself ‘what if?’ more times than you care to mention but it is important to remember that these are just thoughts and are rooted more in your mind than in your reality. I have worried about many things in my life and yes there have been some challenges and disappointments along the way, but ultimately I have always got through. I have faced my disappointments and largely overcome them, but there have also been many things I have worried about needlessly. As a result, I have wasted precious time and energy on things that in the end never even happened!
Challenging unhelpful thoughts is one way of keeping the rational side of your brain in control of your irrational thought process.
For example, a question for myself:
What if I lose my house or can’t move now…?
If I lose my house and can’t move, I will be extremely disappointed but there will likely be other houses out there in the future. It doesn’t mean I can’t move to the town I want to be in and I still have this lovely house to live in, in the meantime.
What advice would you give to a friend who had these thoughts in a similar situation?
I’d say, if it doesn’t work out it will be disappointing but think about the things that are really important and try and put things in perspective. You will sell your house even if it’s not now and you will move and you will be happy. Accept what you cannot control and let it go.
What are the costs and benefits of thinking in this way?
Costs: It’s making me feel unhappy and worried.
Benefits: I can’t really think of any.
Is there another way of looking at this situation?
Yes. It’s either going to happen or it’s not. If it doesn’t you’ll deal with it and come up with a different plan. If it does, then brilliant. Either way, you’ll get there eventually…
So this is where I’m at! Applying some logical, calm thinking to a situation can really help. It might not make the feelings go away completely but at least you’ll have one less wrinkle to worry about because you’ve chosen to take control of your thoughts and kicked the unhelpful ones to the curb!
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