There’s an old saying “shit happens”. The question remains, what to do when life gives you lemons?
Up, down and somewhere in-between
Sometimes we are up, other times we are down, for the most part we are somewhere in-between.
This seems to be a necessary architype for life here on Earth. Similarly how we would not know what “hot” felt like in the absence of “cold” it would be impossible for us to enjoy ups without downs.
This is why when we are flying high we may occasionally get a sandbag that drops us to our knees and reminds us life here isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.
Our reactions to these situations determine whether we will grow from them or let valuable lessons go unlearned.
There are two options when life gives you lemons:
Option 1: We can wallow at our misfortune.
Option 2: We can experience the situation in its entirety and overcome it accordingly.
The wild mind solves problems. It doesn’t cry about them, so option one is not an option for us.
Here are 5 things to do when you receive your next lemon:
(1) Allow negative thoughts to pass
More often than not the lemon that causes our external commotion is made a magnitude more sour by our internal chaos. That is to say our thoughts about a situation usually make it far worse than it actually is.
Adopting the victim mentality and feeling sorry for ourselves about all the bad things that have happened does nothing to improve the situation.
Whatever lemon life throws at us we can avoid adding to the bitterness by allowing negative thoughts to pass and not attaching ourselves to them.
No matter our external circumstances we have the ability to perceive them as we choose. We can allow ourselves to focus our energy on the negative or we can focus on not resisting the situation.
By fully accepting the things we cannot change we rise above them. They no longer control us and we are able to determine actions that are grounded in awareness. This leads to most efficient path in overcoming any situation.
(2) Appreciate what you have
Instead of focusing on what has gone wrong or what you have lost, appreciate what you have.
No matter how terrible our current present, it is almost a certainty that someone somewhere in the world is suffering much more.
With this in mind we should appreciate the positive things around us, instead of dwelling in the negative.
Find something worthy of being thankful for, whether family, friends, life itself, or a simple meal. Gratitude allows us to switch our mindset from that of the deprived to that of the bestowed.
(3) Allow yourself a time out
When wrapped in misfortune it can often create a negative spiral of blackness which becomes increasingly difficult to escape.
When we feel ourselves being dragged into a pit of despair, it is often essential to escape before it consumes us. Instead of trying to solve the problem immediately it is often helpful to take a time out.
Doing something different for a day or two that we enjoy can give us the time we need to refresh. Sometimes when we are too close to a problem it is difficult to view it objectively.
A time out presents the space we need to alter our mentality and even view the situation with a different perspective.
When we return to our lemon we can overcome it without hostility and complaint.
(4) In nature
There is no place better for a time out from the stresses of the modern world than nature.
The effect our environment has on our overall well-being is significantly underrated!
Noise pollution alone from urban environments can make us anxious, increase our heart rate, cause muscle tension, and even suppress our immune system.
When our mental state is normal we are better equipped to deal with these stresses. However when life gives you lemons our environmental stressors can further exacerbate our problems.
Heading into nature restores our joy, serenity and purpose!
This has been scientifically proven in healthy individuals and those suffering depression!
Take a wild swim, sit in the forest, or hike a mountain. Temporarily forget your life issues and return to them renewed.
When life gives you lemons trusting that everything will turn out okay speeds the process in accepting the situation.
Sometimes life presents us with challenges and uncomfortable situations. Crying over spilt milk doesn’t serve us well.
If we consider the sourest lemons we have been dealt in the past it helps us to remember that they are only temporary.
They always pass and we are stronger and wiser having experienced them.
Whether we trust ourselves, our friends, or the universe, it helps us to feel supported and to see the temporary nature of the situation.
Next time life give you lemons, try to take the situation more lightly, be grateful for what you have, head into nature, and trust that it will pass!