When first notified of the Paris tragedy, I found myself watching the news unfold on TV and reliving the heartbreak and fear of terrorism all over with each news update – particularly feeling for my French relatives and friends for the sheer panic and anxiety they were feeling for their countrymen and women.
I watched the news reports until I had absorbed the facts, aware of the immense anger rising in me the more I saw and heard – tears in my eyes, trying to justify in my mind why the world is how it is.
And then I turned it all off.
Whenever tragedy hits, it’s okay to take some time to let yourself handle it. You won’t be at your best at work or whatever you may be doing at the time anyway. And your loved ones need you. It’s in our soul to grieve for the pain of others.
But letting it consume you for days on end isn’t beneficial for anyone. Once you allow yourself enough time to get informed and have whatever emotional response you have, you then have to try and separate yourself from that and get busy.
Yesterday, I knew I was sad and focused on what had happened – so I didn’t do much. I just shifted gears to world news, and followed that up with a cathartic evening with my wife. That way, I knew I could return to work and productivity today.
So if you go through something bad, give yourself some sort of self nurturing before you try to get right back to work. It helps.
I have previously published the following thoughts, but under the circumstances, I hope it may assist in some way.
Most of us that have faced adversity and tragedy. It's impossible to live without having done so.. Even the smartest and most capable of us eventually deal with pain, death, and adversity. As with any challenge, there are important ideas and strategies that make the road to forward smoother and easier.
Learning to respond to life's challenges successfully can enhance your most positive attributes. These attributes can then be used to deal with future challenges. Remember that the most successful people have successfully dealt with tremendous adversity.
Try these techniques to overcome adversity and tragedy and get on with your life:
1. Accept that adversity is a part of life. There's adversity everywhere, and sometimes there's nowhere to hide. Sometimes bad things just happen. There's no way to avoid it. Accepting the situation is the first step to finding a way through it. Tell yourself that you'll get through it and the situation will get back to normal.
2. Focus on solutions. The first thing you're likely to do when faced with adversity is worry. This is natural, but worrying never solved anything. Worry only lowers your ability to change the situation. When things aren't going well, take it as a sign to get busy.
3. Focus on the present. Avoid focusing on the worst possible outcome or beating yourself up about the current challenge. It's possible you made a mistake or misjudged the situation, or as with the current tragedy, it may be well beyond your control, so keep your attention focused on the present.
4. Relax. Stress and worry don't contribute to a positive outcome. Learning to relax in stressful situations is a skill that takes time to develop. Relaxing will allow you to both feel more comfortable and perform at your best. Too much stress is unhealthy and counterproductive. Stay busy working your plan and breathe. It will be over before you know it.
5. Ask for and accept help. You world is full of friends and people happy to help. Avoid being too shy, proud, or embarrassed to ask for help. You'd be willing to help the people in your life, so give them the same opportunity. There's no reason to struggle alone, talk about the situation.
6. Focus on improvement. Rather than consuming yourself with the thought of getting the adversity completely out of your life, focus on making regular progress in the right direction. You can be happy about your progress even if the situation hasn't been completely resolved.
When faced with adversity, keep your focus on finding solutions. Having a goal and plan are key components of bringing your life back on course. Worry, stress, and fear will only lower your effectiveness and limit your ability to alter the situation. Everyone can learn to deal with adversity in a more skillful manner.
Remember that achieving and enjoying a more fulfilling life require the ability to deal with adversity effectively. Resolve to confront adversity head on and your ability to deal with it will grow with experience.