New York - Despite how on track your life may be, there are always unexpected incidents that can throw us off balance and temporarily divert us from the path we want to follow. At those times, it is crucial to get a hold of ourselves as soon as possible.
New York – Despite how on track your life may be, there are always unexpected incidents that can throw us off balance and temporarily divert us from the path we want to follow. At those times, it is crucial to get a hold of ourselves as soon as possible.
If we know how to handle the surges of negative emotions that accompany certain events, such as getting fired, or breaking up with a person we love, the situation becomes manageable and we bounce back from it faster and stronger. We also grow significantly from our experience. The following are surefire ways to overcome negativity:
- Change Your Mood
When we experience a storm of darkness, it is imperative to change our mood straight away. We can give ourselves a certain amount of time to process the upsetting event and feel the emotions fully. However, once the allotted time lapses, we must take action and avoid staying in a bad mood for longer than a few minutes.
We need not be at the mercy of our moods. We can influence them and change them.
Negative emotions are accompanied by physiological reactions. When we change our physical state, we instantly change our emotions. We thus avoid getting stuck or being consumed by negativity. Endlessly analyzing why we feel down doesn’t help because it keeps us paralyzed, unable to act and move forward.
For instance, if I am lying on my bed, wallowing in self-pity about how my life is terrible because I have not met the right man and don’t have a fascinating job and maybe I am too old for XY or Z activities, the best thing to do is to get up immediately and move my body. I can go running. I can clean my apartment. I can put on Arabic music and dance around. I can at the very least, no matter how terrible and lethargic I feel, do some light yoga stretches or walk on my toes around the apartment. I can do jumping jacks, make some coffee, or stroll around the block. The point is to get physically moving and engaged in a different activity than languishing on my bed. Doing so will change my emotional state.
It sounds simplistic but works like magic. I have been doing this for the past ten days because I was dealing with situations that made me feel upset, sad and ungrounded. I can assure you that this and the following techniques works if you actually do them regularly whenever darkness attacks.
Why is it so important to get out of a bad mood right away? Our thoughts and emotions attract like thoughts and emotions. So, the longer my brain marinates in the poison of negativity, the easier it is for me to come up with new tragic outlooks and damaging thoughts.
The actions we take are determined by the emotional state we are in at any given moment. We can’t take uplifting actions if we are feeling terrible.
Instead, when we successfully shift our mood, we feel in control; we feel peaceful and strong. We develop confidence that we possess the inner strength and resourcefulness required to tackle whatever life throws at us without crumbling.
- Daily Exercise
Regular exercise is essential. However, during trying times, working out becomes an absolute must. Dealing with a difficult situation zapsour energy levels, making us less effective when we need to be at our best in order to make good decisions. When we exercise, we nurture our bodies and therefore experience a sense of well-being and replenish our energy.
There is a considerable amount of research that proves working out greatly improves not only our physical health, but our psychological well-being also. Exercise releases endorphins, which create the feeling of happiness and euphoria. Studies consistently show that exercise helps even clinically depressed people reduce their symptoms and appears to be more effective at it than antidepressants.
If you tend to be lazy when it comes to exercising, think of this: It is our spiritual duty to be healthy and fit. In The Quran and the Life of Excellence, Dr. Sultan beautifullytells us that:
“The body is precious because it is the housing for the spirit during its journey on the earth. It is important to keep our bodies healthy so that the spirit is not distracted from its mission of healing the world by becoming absorbed in repairing its living quarters.”
Some final words of encouragement: Physical exercise helps us defeat laziness, which, as Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, is from Satan.
- Daily Gratitude Practice
Focusing on things we are grateful for will increase the things we have to feel grateful for. Gratitude is the key to abundance:
“And your Lord proclaimed, “If you are grateful I will give you more, but if you are ungrateful, My punishment is severe indeed.” (Quran 14:7)
A practice I love doing is the following: After finishing praying, I sit down and close my eyes. I thank God 33 times, bringing a different image to my mind for each blessing. So I say: Alhamdulillah, and think of my mother who is alive and healthy; Alhamdulillah, and feel happy I woke up that morning; Alhamdulillah because I have a job; Alhamdulillah and I picture my healthy body; Alhamdulillah and I bring to mind the image of an inspiring person God brought into my life, etc. This practice fills me with peace and absolutely lifts my dark clouds after a few days of doing it. I strongly recommend it.
You can also write a gratitude list on your journal. It can consist of simple things. For example: I am grateful my mom called today to ask about my new job. I am grateful that lady on the train told me I looked beautiful. I am grateful my coworker greeted me with a smile, etc.
The important thing is to be consistent. So, do whatever is simple enough that you can maintain it. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The deeds most loved by Allah are those done regularly, even if they are small.”
- Affirmations or Dzikr
“Dzikr is the practice of speaking positive affirmations that originates from Prophet Muhammad. He repeated statements to implant and strengthen his faith. Many of the affirmations used by the Prophet describe God’s attributes and how they relate to the Prophet’s experience. For example, Alhamdulillah (“Praise and thanks be to God”) is a dzikr affirmation of gratitude.”
Dr. Sultan further explains that “the Prophet chose what he spoke consciously to implant inspiring messages within him. He also taught this proactive way of speaking to his companions. This was considered novel, or strange, at the time, and it came to be known by the special name dzikr.”
These positive statements help to program our subconscious with empowering beliefs, rather than letting our random, negative thoughts create a deeper and deeper imprint in our minds and take our lives in a direction we don’t want to go. As you walk or drive, you can say to yourself many, many times: “I am brilliant” “I am always surrounded by loving people” “God wants me to succeed” “Nothing is impossible with God’s help,” etc.
A great exercise to get us started in this practice is: Choose three statements that would make you happy if they were true. Write them in your journal every day and repeat them as much as possible when you are by yourself, walking, resting, cooking or doing anything else. After a while, these begin to manifest in your life. It is important to avoid using statements that you don’t understand or relate to. Some good examples are:
- God wants me to succeed
- God is guiding me at all times
- Everything is possible with the help of God
- God created me with so many talents for a purpose that He will help me manifest
- I thank God my life is becoming better and better in every way.
- I get stronger and stronger every day and in every way.
- I am generous because I always have more than what I need
- (Looking into the mirror). Thank you God for making me so beautiful; make my character just as beautiful (Habit of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH)
If you repeat positive, uplifting statements enough, you will come to believe in them strongly. You will then take different actions based on these, rather than on fear or self-doubt, and your life will inevitably soar.
- Detoxifying Your Life
The people we spend our time with determine the direction of our lives. Avoid the company of those who disrespect you, cause you to lower your standards, compromise your values or push your boundaries. Avoid spending time with people who fail to recognize yourworth and yourtalents.
Time is the most preciousof treasures. If we wantto have an outstanding life, we must be highly selective in how and with whom we spend it.
If your goal is to be a great painter, but your closest friends always make fun of your dream or tell you it is impossible, you need to get a new group of friendsright away. If we want to rise and improve our life circumstances, we need to be surrounded by people who support us, believein us, see our potential and constantly encourage us to grow.
It is impossible to succeed if we surround ourselves with random, mediocre or negative people:
“In order to grow beyond childhood conditioning, we need to find the company of those who are seeking wisdom, and we need to form bonds such that we support each other in this quest. Such company is not only invaluable, but is also not easily available.”
“People unaware of this insight do not make an effort to choose their society. Instead, they spend time with whoever is conveniently available and, thus, absorb attitudes and beliefs from random collections of people, and this builds an uncertain path for their future.”
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