There is a quote making its way around the social media:
"Life isn't about waiting for the Storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain."
That is a nice thought, but how do you do that? The statement is true and well meaning, but how does one go about dancing in the rain? The statement seems to imply that everyone should already know how. That can drive some people down because they don't know how to dance in the rain, and they are under the impression they should already know.
I'm not much of a dancer, but here are a few steps that you might find helpful.
Life comes in fast and hard sometimes with demands coming in from every direction and it would seem the best we can do is batten down the hatches and weather the storm. However there are some things you can do starting on a very small scale thatwill eventually allow you to open the door, step outside, and dance in the rain.
WARNING: If you struggle with depression voice of depression will always try to persuade you to try none of these suggestions or do just enough to prove they don't work. I encourage you to try these things a few times before giving up on them and remember progress, no matter how small is still progress.
The concept to keep in mind: A quiet mind is a strong mind, the following steps can help.
If you are healthy enough for exercise, by all means exercise. Even if all you can do is walk to the mailbox and back. Just do it! A good work out offers some of the same benefits as low doses of anti-depressants and it is all natural. It is also good for the mind. When you exercise your mind stays on one thing, exercise. Exercise quiets the over thinking that comes with most storms. It will also help you sleep and make it more restful.
Music is medicine. It effects us on many levels. It is said that music soothes the savage beast, it can also sooth a savage mind. Music gives you a focus that leads to more positive thoughts.
Grab some ear buds and crank up some tunes with a driving beat as you exercise and you've got a dynamic duo working for you. When I hit the treadmill I crank up "Gonna Fly" from the Movie Rocky and I get going. Listen to something calming to get to sleep. Nothing silences buzzing thoughts better than music.
Need to get something off your chest and there is no one around to talk to? Write it down. Writing things down has a way of leaving your worries on the page and off your mind. Want some added power? Sometimes it just feels good to take negative thoughts you just put on a page and run them through a shredder.
When it come to goal setting or any kind of planning, things are more likely to come together when you get them down on paper.
Writing slows down your thoughts and helps you focus on solutions.
There are times after I journal that I feel sharper and better prepared to get on with my day or go to sleep at night.
4. Count Your Blessings and be Thankful.
Write about your blessings. When you're in a slump, list at least 3 blessings in your life. Research indicates you can perk up your attitude by making this an every morning routine, even if they are the same blessings everyday. Be thankful for what you've got even blessings from the past. I am still grateful for my parents even though they've been gone for years and from time to time I note my thoughts of them and their influence my life even to this day. Nothing chases the blues away better than the attitude of gratitude.
5. Prayer and Meditation
Once again, a quiet mind is a strong mind, and it is helpful to make it a practice. Taking 5 minutes a day just to sit and be still. I do this with music for two reasons. 1. When the music is over I know it is time to stop and I don't have to wonder about how much time has elapsed during my meditation. 2. When I keep my focus on the music my mind and body can go about relaxing.
Taking out a short time to get in touch with your Higher Power can significantly quiet your mind as well. Pray in such a way as to be aware of your Higher Power rather than spelling out a wish list. Asking questions like, "what can this storm teach me?" "How can You use this storm to shape me?"
Mediation and prayer are akin in that they both focus a busy mind.
6. Laugh! Fake it till you make it.
Laughter offers great benefits even when it is fake! A person told me once how envious she was of the people in her office. They laughed all the time she told me. What bothered her was that she never laughed at all. I encouraged her to laugh along with the people in her office even if she did not feel like laughing. I told her to fake it till you make it. She tried it. A week later she informed how surprised she was that over a short time her laughter had become genuine. She even laughed about it when she told me this.
What is funny about this whole thing (pun intended) is that laughter whether it is real or fake has the same mental and physical benefits.
When I'm experiencing something I know I going to look back and laugh at, (and sometimes you can recognize that), I do my best to go ahead and laugh at that moment. It is amazing how laughter can loosen the chains that hold you back from dancing in the storm. There is no greater lesson to learn than how to laugh at yourself.
7. Look Beyond:
The best way to rise above is to look beyond. Storms do pass and the sun always comes out at some point and quite often it brings with it a rainbow. The air is always more fresh and there is something about it that gives of a sense that we are new. That's because we are. At the end of every storm we end up with some small piece of perspective. Add this to the other pieces you've received and you realize you've cultivated your own wisdom. Seeing this in the midst of a storm is how you rise above by looking beyond, it is enough to make you want to dance.
The next step is up to you. Ready? Let's dance!