In this brief article, I show you a surprisingly simple exercise to help rebalance your thoughts when you’re next feeling low.
After all, life cannot be all sunshine and smiles every second of the day; you will face challenges and you will feel down from time to time. Without these lows, however, you wouldn’t appreciate the highs, so don’t despair when life deals you a rough ride.
Instead, when something isn’t going quite as you’d like it, you can still learn and grow from it. You can rebalance your mind so that the negative doesn’t completely dominate your thinking.
How exactly do you do this?
Well, it’s simple really. It all starts with psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who talked about a ‘will to meaning’ and I am a firm believer in his approach to living. He recommends that, rather than expecting something from life, we should ask what life expects of us.
He witnessed, during his time in a Nazi concentration camp, the ability for we humans to find meaning in anything and everything – even the worst kind of suffering. He used his experience to help construct his own method of psychotherapy (logotherapy).
The premise is this: you need to try and understand the meaning in each moment of life, regardless of whether it is negative, neutral, or positive.
So, here are the 4 words I want you to think about when you next feel a sense of utter despair and desolation.
I see meaning in…
Once you’ve thought these words, try to complete the sentence by searching for the meaning in your situation. No matter how bad things may seem, there is always a speck of positivity hidden in the moment; all you have to do is find it.
You have to ask yourself: in this moment, with the things I am dealing with, what does life expect of me?
And yes, sometimes life will expect you to be sad, to grieve a loss, to feel despair, but once you understand that there is meaning in your suffering, it becomes easier to bear.
Finding meaning is often the first step in the healing process and it can give you ways to cope with whatever is before you. It cannot block out the pain; it isn’t meant to, but meaning can provide comfort and moments when the pain eases; however brief they may be.
Of course, when you are facing an obstacle of any magnitude, it is helpful to use a combination of approaches. This is just one of many that can be used in unison to overcome anything. After all, meaning is food for the spirit.