I’ve been noticing that my friends have had a number of problems in their lives recently: losing loved ones, emotions taxed to the limit, workload too heavy, and more. Essentially a variety of other things that feels like you were shot in the gut and leaves you reeling.
Normally, I think the first reaction of a lot of people would be to just “power through it”. Hell, I’ve done that for years on end. It ended with me having an emotional breakdown. Something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, especially not people who I care about.
So what is one to do when one encounters challenges in their life? Back down? I say no. Face it head on. Deal with the grief and the pain. Confront it, think about it, and break it down. Pick yourself up after you’ve had time to sort out yourself. And only then should you move on.
Yes, I know it’s easy to put down on paper but hard to do. Nonetheless, I’ve found that my hobbies are a good way to help me unwind and get back into the saddle again.
When I find that life is getting to be too much for me, I tend to do two things. The first is think, and it helps to have a pipe in hand, a nice black cavendish blend, a nice cup of earl grey d’amour tea in front of me, and some time to think. During this time I face the pain head on. Depending on the circumstances it may take a single session of rumination or even me brooding in my spare time for a week or more. Regardless, I deal with it and give myself time to do so.
This stepping back allows me to put my mind into focus again. It acts as a catalyst in solidifying my resolve in dealing with the problem. It also helps me decide on my course of action in handling the issue. A decision made with a clear and analytic mind, not one clouded by emotions and pain.
The second thing I do is lift weights. More often than not, the problems we encounter today are not physical. Much to my dismay, I can’t punch my problems till it bleeds or drop elbows on it until it wishes it didn’t exist. However, lifting weights gives me the physical release I need. It gives me that physical aspect in dealing with the aggression I so often feel when thinking about problems.
This is not to say I don’t lift weights when life is going good, I just happen to hit my weights harder when I have problems. The act of doing this mechanical thing, fighting against gravity to move an object that refuses to budge makes me feel better. At the end of it all, I find my aggression tempered enough that it is easier to make a proper decision, one that isn’t colored by the need to hurt someone or do something drastic.
After all this, I act. I try to resolve the problem and make it better. A younger me would have acted immediately, even if I had time to step back and think about it. Nowadays, I find that my rituals make for better decision making. Of course, there are things which need to be acted upon immediately. For those cases I may skip my weights (but you can bet my next workout will be very intense) but not the time to think with my favorite pipe in hand and a cup of tea.
That said, I know this won’t work for everyone. People deal with their problems in their own way, and step back in their own manner. I guess I just want this to serve as a reminder to everyone to step back from their problems and give it the time it needs. More importantly, I want to remind everyone to give themselves time to deal with the pain and grief they feel. Those emotions are all too real and it is important to give yourself time to recover from it, in the same way one would recover from a wound or an illness.
After all, what is emotional pain and grief but a wound in one’s soul.