What do you do to combat the darkness?
What do you do to combat the darkness?
I see many folks using their status update to pose questions and today I wanted to pose one of my own. Here are some ideas I've embraced, along with that darkness...
I don't need to to know anything about your background or personality to know that if you are reading this, you have experienced a brush with some darkness. Loss of love, financial uncertainty, physical pain, and suffering, or all of the above. If you are alive and your heart still beats you're going to deal with some darkness.
I've been experiencing a resurgence of darkness in my life right now, and I see that it is nothing new. It doesn't make it any less painful. In fact, it may be that it is all the more searing because I know that I've been here before. Old demons with new labels.
Sometimes the shit sneaks up on you with a flank attack that you clearly weren't prepared for. So you take a knee and breathe. And you let the feelings flow. You feel the heat and you just let it burn.
Once that is mostly done... I reflect. I detach a little bit and write some things down and I take some time to get stuff out of my head. And just that little bit of space creates some breathing room, some more perspective and a chance to see clearly for a minute. Not forever. Just a minute.
If the struggle wasn't important to me; if my life didn't require sacrifice and force me to make hard choices and risk things that are actually real and valuable... then it probably wouldn't be as painful and shit wouldn't weigh so heavily on me... or on ALL OF US. ALL OF US human beings want something; we want to grow into the best versions of ourselves and be able to face adversity in the fight.
I have a list of things that I have borrowed from mentors along the way. I do these consistently to combat the darkness.
1. Tell one person that I am struggling. "A burden shared is a burden halved". I share the fact that I am struggling with a friend and that helps to keep me from feeling alone.
2. OQP-- Only Quality People. Les Brown has coined the term OQP, in order to remind himself that he must be surrounded with quality individuals at all times, so the quality of his life will always be enhanced. The energy of folks around you will bleed onto you, so make that a "high vibration" energy.
3. Move my body. An obvious strategy here is to generate some good hormones and chemicals in your body to get you out of your brain. Training is a great strategy and is tough to overdue.
4. Eat well. Keep the strategies of self-care moving forward so that you feel physically better, even if not emotionally better. It may be hard to eat! But if you keep eating on a relative schedule, your appetite won't completely leave you, you'll have more energy and you will feel less defeated and depleted.
5. Have multiple goals in multiple areas of life. This works in fitness AND in life. When your bench press doesn't improve, but you take a few seconds of your per mile running pace, you won't get stuck on the idea that you are moving backward. If you are striking out in one area of your life, but you are making progress in others, your identity isn't hinging on ONE thing to make you happy.
6. Prioritize and Execute. Make a list, and take care of the things that are the most critical first. Don't spend time winning battles that will not benefit you at all. Focus on things that matter most.
7. Do a favor (or two) for someone else. Helping somebody achieve their goals, or even just paying for the next person's coffee can make all the difference in your day. Contribute. You'll never feel bad for it.
8. Write down what you are grateful for. It may be the cheesiest thing on this list, but it is the easiest to do and it genuinely creates good feelings in your mind.
9. Don't run from the darkness. It's in all of us. It doesn't go away. It doesn't mean that you're flawed. It's the contrast to life, and it's cliche but that darkness makes the light just that much brighter.